The European Commission has said it is “on track” to create an Energy Union to link generation, transmission and distribution assets throughout the continent.

In its first State of the Energy Union Report, the commission said progress had been made in the nine months since European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker unveiled the flagship policy.

Maroš Šefcovic, the European Commission Vice-President responsible for the Energy Union, said: “Nine months down the road, we can say with confidence that we are on track to deliver the Energy Union.

“2016 will also be the year in which we will lay the foundations of a robust governance system bringing predictability and transparency, which is what investors need. In sum: 2016 will be a year of delivery.”

In her speech at the Institution of Civil Engineers in London, during which she outlined the Conservative government’s energy policy, UK Energy Secretary Amber Rudd welcomed the report.

“This is an example of where we can achieve more working together than alone, and where Europe can adapt to help its citizens where it matters to them,” she said.

‘Hot air’

Writing in the Oxford University Press blog, David Buchan and Malcolm Keay – Senior Research Fellows at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies – said: “The challenges are complex and sensitive and so far, despite its ambitious goal, the commission has been proceeding rather cautiously and seems generally to be following rather than leading the process.

“Without a determined effort by the commission, the Energy Union goal may turn out to be little more than hot air.”

Jonas Helseth, Director at Oslo-based environmental charity Bellona Europa, highlighted the importance of including carbon capture and storage within plans for the Energy Union.

> See the EU's statement