European Council opts for a meaningless energy efficiency target
Brussels, 24 October 2014 – EU leaders gathered at the European Council only managed to agree on a minimum level for energy efficiency, set at 27% by 2030. The target, to be reviewed by 2020, has been agreed to keep EU regulation opponents on board and is misinformed by manipulated impact assessment produced by the outgoing Barroso Commission.
“One would expect leaders to lead”, said Stefan Scheuer, Secretary General of the Coalition for Energy Savings. “Instead, they are sending confused messages on energy efficiency. In March energy efficiency was declared the top priority to increase energy security and boost growth. Today the target presented is so low that it is meaningless and would prevent the EU from cutting gas dependency by a third”.
Discussions between Member States’ representatives have recently focused on the cost-effectiveness of energy efficiency measures. Unfortunately the debate was impoverished by doubtful impact assessments by the European Commission. The Commission ignored research and censored important data, thus artificially inflating the costs of energy efficiency targets.
Incoming Commission’s President Jean-Claude Juncker made it clear: energy efficiency will be a priority for his team, and a binding 30% target would be the absolute minimum. The cost-effective potential for energy savings by 2030 is in fact 40%, according to latest research published by the Commission itself. Tapping this potential not only makes economic sense: it is also strategic for the European Union, as each percentage of energy saved would reduce gas imports by 2.6%.
“The support for bolder EU energy saving actions amongst governments, industries and civil society is growing. Our leaders have decided to ignore that reality, but the new Commission and the European Parliament have good reasons to embrace this attractive future in building the Energy Union Europe needs,” added Scheuer.
A binding 40% energy savings target for 2030 is needed to unlock potentials and trigger investments in energy efficiency improvements which make economic, social and environmental sense. Any lower ambition would miss potentials to boost the economy, significantly reduce energy imports and energy bills, and address climate concerns.
• European Council conclusions
• Coalition for Energy Savings briefing paper: Inflating the costs of energy efficiency
• Letter from the Coalition for Energy Savings to Heads of State or Governments
The Coalition for Energy Savings strives to make energy efficiency and savings the first consideration of energy policies and the driving force towards a secure, sustainable and competitive European Union. Its membership unites businesses, professionals, local authorities, trade unions and civil society organisations in pursuit of this goal. Coalition members represent more than 400 associations, 150 companies, 15 million supporters, more than 2 million employees, 1,000 cities and towns in 30 countries in Europe.
Marion Santini | +32 2 235 20 13 | press[at]energycoalition.eu | Twitter: @EUenergysavings