At COP24, President underlines that Energy Efficiency comes first, but needs to work in synergy

EU-ASE President Monica Frassoni took part to the EU Energy Day, a long-day session organised by the European Commission on the framework of COP24 in Katowice, where she participated in the panel “Renewables, decentralisation and democracy: transforming energy systems”.

One of the very few energy efficiency voices present in the panel, during her intervention Frassoni underlined that Energy Efficiency First must indeed be central to all future planning, but that it needs to work in synergy with other actors of the energy transition, with especial emphasis on renewables. Citizens, which are at the heart of the change, must be included as active participants in the climate and energy discussions, she said.

After her intervention at the panel, Monica was interviewed by EU-ASE Member Danfoss on the back seat of a Tesla car. On this innovative, different setting, she addressed the untapped potential of energy efficiency and said it is “the golden bullet in our hands”.

The Franco-German axis, important player on leveraging energy efficiency in the European Union

The event, jointly organised by EU-ASE, DENEFF and OFATE, brought together a cross-sectoral panel of energy efficiency actors to show clear support to an ambitious national and European energy efficiency agenda

Last Friday 30th November, EU-ASE, DENEFF and OFATE held its First Franco-German Energy Efficiency Business Summit. The event took place at the Jakob Kaiser Haus in the Bundestag, in Berlin, and was attended by around 60 participants. The session aimed at delivering the message that the Franco-German alliance stands strong for energy efficiency and policy implementation at national and EU level, with representatives from both countries’ public administration and business sectors.

The discussion was opened by Andreas Jung, MP, who called for energy efficiency as essential to combat climate change, and praised the FR-DE collaboration, expressing his wish that it continues with its important work. After him, Carsten Müller, MP, supported this idea saying that both France and Germany are leaders in the energy business and, as such, they should also take leadership on climate and energy policies.

EU-ASE President Monica Frassoni, who moderated the first of three panels, pointed out that targets set out by the EU, as well as the recently released EU Commission’s Long Term Strategy, were insufficient and that we should aim at more ambition in order to achieve the 1.5ºC goal. She underlined that “there is good language and disposition towards energy efficiency but, in terms of actual agenda and actions, we are still far from what is needed.” Barbara Frei, Schneider Electric Country President, said that Europe is no longer on track to meet its 2030 objectives and energy efficiency is the only and primary leader to be able to reach environmental and climate goals. “The next ten years will be critical to mitigate climate change: the revised Energy Performance in Buildings Directive provides us with a unique opportunity to accelerate the energy transition, with the support of innovative and enabling technologies such as Building Automation and Controls,” she added. Her intervention was followed by Thorsten Herdan, German MP, who opened his speech claiming that France and Germany need to be at the forefront of the fight against climate change and the ambition in regards to energy efficiency. He pinpointed some raw facts to the audience, such as the energy demand reduction potential of energy efficiency and, hence, how important it is to invest on it. He also underlined that strategies are usually too focused on the demand side and that the supply side should be taken into account. “The current bad side of policies”, he said, “is that right now neither France nor Germany are allowed to raise the level of ambition as set out in their coalition treaty”. As other speakers, he also signaled at the need to change the narrative to improve understanding of the benefits of energy efficiency amongst legislators and citizens, making clear that energy efficiency is not a cost driver but, in fact, the complete opposite.

Marjolaine Meynier-Millefert, French MP also participating in the session, recognized that “there is no point pretending that there is not a long road ahead of France in the path towards an energy efficient economy”, but also highlighted that French potential is very high and that energy efficiency improvements in building are to become a top priority in the country’s energy roadmap. She also presented a new communication plan to be implemented in France to make citizens aware of the different climate challenges and getting them on board of the change of paradigm needed. “France cannot afford not to be exemplary when it comes to climate”, she said. Emmanuel Normant, Vice President for Sustainable Development at Saint-Gobain, presented the EU building stock as the big opportunity for reducing GHG emissions, but pointed out that the deep renovation had yet to happen, as only 2% of it is classified as A in the EU building rating system. “The technology is there“, he underlined, “but there is a need for faster deployment of solutions.” He highlighted the need to embark energy efficiency in every other decision and solution, and to compare the cost of the investment to the benefits reaped on the long-term. “If we are not serious with building renovation we are not serious with our commitment with Paris”, he added.

On the European Commission’s behalf, Hans Van Steen, from DG Energy, communicated that the European institution is very happy about its 2050 Long-term strategy and the targets and goals proposed. He said that it sets a clear pathway with specific goals towards carbon neutrality, and that it is not only about the climate, but also about delivering benefits to EU citizens by increasing welfare, competitiveness, and the chance to show leadership.

The second panel, moderated by Christian Noll, the Director of Deneff, focused on the private business perspective and brought together several high-level speakers with a cross-sectoral point of view. Katarzyna Wardal from Knauf Insulation called upon governments to put net zero buildings the heart of their national legislation and Andreas Rindt on behalf of Signify supported the idea, stressing that developments on the national level still need to take place. Kamila Waciega, Director of Energy at the Public Affairs Department, Veolia, agreed and stressed that the real energy efficiency gains can only be achieved when primary and final energy savings are taken into account. All panelists agreed on the urgent need to attract private investment to accelerate and improve implementation, as well as an everyday more pressing evidence that a clear and stable framework that can drive business decisions and actions is key. The importance of the Governance Regulation, which sets roads and rules for implementation of the rest of the directives, was especially emphasized. Karl-Peter Thelen, Executive Director Regulatory and Public Affairs at Engie, stressed that energy efficiency is a key element for a sustainable future and that the most important part when it comes to implementation is that Member States set clear targets and a framework “to increase the attractiveness of investments in energy efficiency while at the same time allowing for optimal technical solutions”. 

The session ended with a third panel, moderated by Sven Rösner, Director of FR-DE Office for Energy Transition (OFATE) brought forward a fruitful debate between advocacy organisations and German Federal Government representatives, aimed at evaluating the impact of the new European framework on the national context. The panel featured speakers like Stefan Besser, Head of Unit of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy; Adrian Joyce from EuroACE; or Stefan Scheuer from the Coalition for Energy Savings. All the speakers highlighted the importance of bringing together all sectors of society – Public Administration, citizens, NGOs, and of trying to forge new alliances. Another common point was that, first and foremost, energy efficiency should be the priority for buildings, as it is the most cost-effective option for decarbonization. Furthermore, Joyce said, it also brings social benefits, as it tackles energy poverty. “When you touch a building, you touch people’s lives, so you must touch them correctly”, he pointed out. Stefan Besser stated that currently no massive changes were foreseen for the German regulatory approach, a statement in stark contrast with the demands of his co-panelists. The discussion engaged both the panel and the audience on an interesting debate about the link between the current protests in France which sparked off as a reaction to carbon taxation and the fact that energy efficiency can help private households to spend less money on energy and create tens of thousands of jobs for all qualifications when properly implemented. On this note, Marjolaine Millefert-Meynier stated from the audience her opinion that the turmoil as we see it currently in France should also be seen as an opportunity, as people started to think about the way they use energy and the cost of it. She believes this to be a starting point for a dialogue on energy policies.

The event was followed by a guided visit of the EUREF Campus, a smart urban district and pilot project for the transition to sustainable energy and mobility.

Businesses, society and Public Administration agree on the opportunities derived from an ambitious energy transition

The joint debate organised by the Grupo Español para el Crecimiento Verde (GECV) and the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) ratifies the business, NGOs, academia and Public Administration’s support to an ambitious and stable climate and energy legislative framework

The debate, moderated by Mónica López, Head of the Meteorological Service of Spanish public TV TVE, started with a welcome address by Antoni Ballabriga, Global Director of Responsible Business at BBVA, and was later on introduced by EU-ASE President Monica Frassoni and José López-Tafall, GECV Secretary General. López-Tafall stated that “it is possible to decarbonise and grow at the same time, it is economically viable”, while Frassoni underlined that we should bet on decarbonising the economy and reminded the audience of the urgency of a clear, ambitious and just roadmap.

José Manuel González-Páramo, Head of Global Economics, Regulation and Public Affairs at BBVA, who also took part in the debate, reminded the attendants that, according to the European Commission, we still lack €180,000 in additional annual investment if we want to reach the energy and climate objectives set for 2030. He also highlighted BBVA’s commitment with climate change and the key role businesses play.

Hugo Morán, Spanish Secretary for Environment, highlighted the great work EU-ASE and GECV are doing by organising this type of initiatives and pointed out that “mitigation is not synonym to deindustrialistion and adaptation doesn’t mean resignation”. He also underlined the importance of the future Climate and Energy legislation, that will guarantee that Spain complies with the goals set by the European Union and the Paris Agreement. Morán argued that “the setting of a stable regulatory framework, with adequate incentives and that fosters the necessary investments taking into account the market reality, is key to achieve a successful transition“.

Director General for Energy at the European Commission, Dominique Ristori, started his intervention stating that the new regulatory framework for energy and climate proposed by the Spanish Government is an opportunity for all, both businesses and investors. Ristori said that it is necessary to show clear leadership at the national level to address the energy transition, that has become a priority. Such leadership, he told the audience, should be based on three pillars – a clear and predictable regulatory framework, business opportunity, and access to sustainable financing. He also underlined that organising this type of initiatives is both important and timely, as they seek to create positive synergies between national and European authorities and what he defined as new business.

The session concluded with a round-table debate between representatives from different business sectors, NGOs and Public Administration, with speakers from EU-ASE members Danfoss and Knauf Insulation, as well as from Iberdrola, WWF Spain, the Institute for the Diversification and Saving of Energy (IDAE), and the Spanish Office for Cliamte Change (OECC). Ernesto Ubieto, President of Southern Europe Region at Danfoss, underlined the important role governments have to play for placing energy efficiency at the centre of the implementation and transposition of the European clean energy legislation and, especially, with regards to the EED and EPBD. Óscar del Río, General Manager at Knauf Insulation Iberia, stated that “without the Public Administration we cannot advance in tackling the challenges we face. “Businesses are ready to play their part; public administration needs to lean on us more”, he said. Joan Herrera, Director of IDAE, claimed that “we cannot allow ourselves [Spain] to be rich in resources and poor in political drive and ambition. We need regulation”, while Valvanera Ulargui, Director of the OECC, stated that “once we are all aware of climate change and the energy transition, the moment has come to take action and generate actual facts and data”. Ulargui pointed out that this is the message they would take to the upcoming COP24, “with a message of ambition and, especially, urgency”, she said.

Both the Grupo Español para el Crecimiento Verde and the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) consider the debate, celebrated in the prelude of the presentation of the Climate Change Law draft, was crucial to convey the message to the Spanish Government that a big part of the Spanish business sector clearly supports the energy transition and the implementation of a national and European regulatory framework that is strong and leverages the necessary investments for achieving the change of economic model and of paradigm.


 

More information:

lauraj.bole@euase.eu

+34 693616088

Swift implementation of EED, crucial for decarbonising the energy intensive industries

The European Alliance to Save Energy’s President, Monica Frassoni, participated yesterday at the 6th Annual High-Level Conference of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Raw Materials, part of the Raw Materials Week organised by the European Commission. She took part in the session “Raw materials for clean energy intensive industries of the future”, Chaired by Mr Peter Handley, Head of Unit for Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials at DG GROW, and accompanied by Marco Mensink (CEFIC), Thomas Bünger (Aurubis AG), and Giles Dickinson (Wind Europe).

The session aimed at addressing the challenges faced by European core energy intensive industries – such as manufacture of chemicals, iron and steel – in the road towards a low-carbon and circular economy by 2050, relevant in view of the EU’s 2050 low emission strategy required by 2020 under the Paris Agreement.

During her intervention, Ms Frassoni underlined that the EU needs to take prompt action towards decarbonisation, especially after the IPCC published its latest report last month. She reminded the audience that, in terms of costs and action needed, the difference between 1.5ºC and 2ºC is vague and gives space for action, but also that we are behind schedule. For EU-ASE, she remarked, it is crucial that actions are taken “to avoid the climate catastrophe”, and she underlined two core lines of action: synergies between EE and RES, and phasing out of fossil fuels.

Ms Frassoni also addressed the crucial importance of making energy efficiency central to any current and future planning in the intensive industry sector. She underlined that energy efficiency is key in the electrification of the sector as, as she pointed out, “without being efficient and reducing its energy output, the industry will not be able to make it”. “Two thirds of the economic potential of EE remain untapped. The industry is the one that performs best, but energy intensive industries are also important for transport, energy generation and buildings”, she added.

The targets we have now are not particularly ambitious,

but together, recently adopted EED, EPBD and GovReg can deliver results“.

 

Monica Frassoni, EU-ASE President

She remarked that there are many solutions, the most important a good implementation of the Energy Efficiency Directive and the Governance of the Energy Union Regulation, approved by the European Parliament last 13 November. “The targets we have now are not particularly ambitious, but together, recently adopted EED, EPBD and GovReg can deliver results”, she added, “the actual, practical implementation of the legislative framework will be able to unlock industrial and production processes”.

The Italian building stock – Strategic sector for Energy Efficiency in the country

Last 19th October, EU-ASE’s President Monica Frassoni took part in Kyoto Club’s event in Rome “The Italian real estate: a strategic infrastructure at the service of the country’s energy system”, where she participated on a panel together with Francesco Ferrante (Kyoto Club’s Vice-President), Lorenzo Pagliano (Professor at Politecnico de Milano), Alberto Mario Ermelli Cupelli (Manager of International Relations at Knauf Insulation Italia), Alessandro Carettoni (DG for Climate and Energy at Italian Environment Ministry), and Paolo Curati (Managing Director at Knauf Insulation Italia).

Frassoni outlined how the new EU energy efficiency framework can promote the energy retrofit of buildings, and called on the Italian Government for increased earmarking and climate mainstreaming in next MFF post-2020 to incentivise private investments in the building sector.

“Like it or not energy efficiency is key to decarbonise the European Union”

 

Monica Frassoni, EU-ASE President

During her intervention, she also addressed EU-ASE’s main points, pointing out that energy efficiency is key to decarbonising the EU, that improvements made in energy efficiency mean more energy security and less dependence on gas imports, ant that the EED targets are not a goal, but a starting point for national transposition.