Natural habitat in Europe

The European Union is seeking to create a large integrated market and an energy roadmap to get us all to 2050 without the lights going off while at the same time ensuring the radical decarbonisation of energy supplies across the continent, in order to reduce CO2 emissions and combat climate change.

It has been clear for some time that simply increasing the amount of renewable energy being generated across Europe will not solve our long term energy demand challenges, not least because most renewable energy sources are intermittent and require other energy sources to be available to national grids as backup. There is therefore a drive to increase the development of effective storage systems for renewables, along with the transformation of national grid that were designed for large power stations burning fossil fuels.

While the UK is still dragging its feet on smart metering and smart grids other European countries, such as Portugal and Austria, are forging ahead. Italy has had smart metering for many years. This transformation of the grid, along with a roll out of electric cars, that can serve as storage batteries for renewable energy produced by solar PV on homes, for example, is vital to the viability of renewable energy.

The European Union is working across the continent and across the world to protect biodiversity, with our Lib Dem MEPs playing a key role in shaping legislation. The need for access to clean water and food is putting pressure on habitats everywhere and EU is busy seeking both to improve environmental protection at home and to influence global action on environmental issues. At the Durban conference, for example, while the US stood on the sidelines, it was the EU and our own Chris Huhne who led the charge for agreements to tackle our growing environmental challenges.