On 15 December 2021, the EU Commission published the second suite of its “Fit for 55” package, with a number of legislative and policy proposals focusing on gas and buildings to enable the EU to meet its new 2030 target - i.e. a package that is "fit for" delivering a 55% greenhouse gas reduction by 2030.
Gas and hydrogen
The Commission proposes to recast the existing gas market rules which now mainly focus on natural gas to also cover renewable and low-carbon gases as well as hydrogen.
The proposed recasts comprise of a regulation and a directive on the internal markets for renewable and natural gases and for hydrogen and thus include new definitions of renewable and low-carbon gases (including hydrogen), their certification and common rules for injecting renewable and low-carbon gases into existing gas infrastructure.
The new rules also aim at strengthening final customers’ rights, partly aligning them with the rules proposed for final customers of electricity: the rights of the so-called active customer or minimum requirements for billing and billing information.
To remove barriers to the uptake of hydrogen production and transport in the Union, the Commission proposes new rules for dedicated hydrogen networks including adjusted rules regarding unbundling, third party access and tariffs.
To ensure security of gas supply, the Commission proposes different measures to enhance cooperation and resilience, including a voluntary joint procurement scheme for TSOs, including storage and their ownership in the national risk assessments.
Methane emissions from oil, gas and coal assets
In order to reduce methane emissions from fossil energy produced or consumed in the Union, the Commission today presented its proposal for a regulation on methane emissions reduction. This includes an obligation for operators of oil, fossil gas and coal assets to regularly assess and report the methane emissions of their assets as well as to detect and repair leaks.
Energy performance of buildings
With the proposal for a recast of the directive on the energy performance of buildings the Commission aims at higher building renovation rates, inter alia by setting minimum energy performance standards for existing buildings and obliging the Member States to regularly present national building renovation action plans.
In an effort to speed up the use of electric vehicles in the Union, the obligations to provide building sites with charging points shall be tightened.
Other proposals published today
In addition to the Fit for 55 proposals, the Commission also released, as part of the Green Deal, a communication on sustainable carbon cycles, a proposal for a directive on environmental crimes as well as a proposal for a Council recommendation on ensuring a fair transition towards climate neutrality. On 14 December 2021, the Commission presented a green transport & mobility package (also part of the Green Deal).
Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson mentioned at the press release that the proposals presented today will be aligned with revised climate, energy and environmental Aid Guidelines (CEEAG), which will follow soon.
The same can be expected for the Commission’s decision if, and in how far, activities in the gas and nuclear sector can be considered to contribute to climate change adaptation or mitigation under the reporting obligations of the taxonomy regulation.
The legislative proposals will now follow the ordinary legislative procedure meaning that the Commission, Council and Parliament will negotiate the texts in the so-called trilogues.
The texts published today
Fit for 55
Gas & hydrogen
Proposal for a revised gas markets and hydrogen directive and annex
Proposal for a revised gas markets and hydrogen regulation and annex
Buildings & real estate
Proposal for a Directive on the energy performance of buildings and annexes
Sustainable carbon cycles
Transport & mobility
Proposal for a revised regulation on TEN-T
Communication on extending TEN-T to neighbouring third countries
Proposal for a Directive on Intelligent Transport Systems
Communication on an action plan to boost long distance and cross-border Passenger rail
Social aspects of climate change
Proposal for a Council Recommendation on ensuring a fair transition towards climate neutrality