Fabian Demicoli

European Commission proposes a higher and achievable energy savings target for 2030


New
opportunities for European businesses, affordable energy bills for consumers,
increased energy security through a significant reduction of natural gas
imports and a positive impact on the environment: these are some of the
expected benefits of the energy efficiency target for 2030 put forward today by
the European Commission in a Communication.

The proposed target of 30 % builds
on the achievements already reached: new buildings use half the energy they did
in the 1980s and industry is about 19% less energy intensive than in 2001.

The
proposed target goes beyond the 25% energy savings target which would be
required to achieve a 40% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2030. At the same time
the framework on energy efficiency put forward today aims to strike the right
balance between benefits and costs.

Günther
H. Oettinger, Vice-President of the EU Commission responsible for energy said:
"Our proposal is the basis to drive the EU towards increased security of
supply, innovation and sustainability, all in an affordable way. It is
ambitious and at the same time it is realistic. The energy efficiency strategy
will complete the 2030 framework on energy and climate which has been presented
in January 2014. Our aim is to give the right signal to the market and
encourage further investments in energy saving technologies to the benefit of
businesses, consumers and the environment."

The
Communication on energy efficiency and its contribution to energy security and
the 2030 framework presented today also reviews progress towards the European
Union's 20% energy efficiency target for 2020. The EU is currently forecast to
achieve energy savings of 18-19% in 2020; however, the agreed target of 20% can
be reached if all EU countries fully implement the already agreed legislation.
The Commission does not intend to propose new measures, but calls on the Member
States to step up their efforts to ensure collective delivery of the 2020
target.

Benefits
of current energy efficiency policies

Among
the proven advantages for business and consumers are, for instance:

1. Energy
intensity in EU industry has decreased by almost 19% between 2001 and 2011.

2. More efficient
appliances like refrigerators and washing machines are expected to save
consumers €100 billion annually – about €465 per household – on their energy
bills by 2020.

3. New buildings
consume half as much energy today as they did in the 1980s.

 

Long-term
benefits

The
Communication also explores the positive impacts of energy efficiency on the
lives of Europeans over the next sixteen years:

1. For every additional 1 percent in
energy savings, EU gas imports are expected to fall by 2.6%, decreasing our
dependence on external suppliers.

2. More energy efficient buildings will
offer 'ancillary benefits' to people who live and work in them in addition to
reducing their energy bills. For example, better windows can provide for
increased air quality and protection from external noise.

3. Energy efficiency policies will
create new opportunities for European businesses such as construction firms and
equipment manufacturers. In line with this, new local jobs are created.

What's next?

As the
Communication announces, the European Commission will review progress on energy
efficiency in 2017. It will explore the question whether additional indicators
should be used to express and monitor progress towards the energy efficiency
target. This could be indicators, such as energy intensity, which better take
account of underlying changes in and projections for GDP and population growth.

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