Franco-German Energy Efficiency Business Summit highlights opportunities deriving from the new European energy efficiency framework as well as risks and costs for business and citizens if prompt implementation is not ensured

Franco-German Energy Efficiency Business Summit highlights opportunities deriving from the new European energy efficiency framework as well as risks and costs for business and citizens if prompt implementation is not ensured

Today DENEFF, European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) and French-German Renewable Energy Office (OFATE) organised a high-level event to promote an adequate and prompt implementation of the new EU Energy Efficiency framework in France and Germany. The event brought together government officials, politicians and businesses.

While France and Germany are due to transpose the new Energy Efficiency and Energy Performance of Building Directives and are in the process of drafting National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs), new EEA report highlights that the EU and notably both countries are no longer on track to meet their 2020 and 2030 climate and energy targets.[1]

The adoption of the new EU legislation on energy efficiency and its implementation must be the occasion to redress this situation: Energy efficiency is the fastest and most cost-effective way to meet the overall EU energy-transition challenge of decoupling economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions. Energy efficiency is central to Europe’s decarbonization and indispensable to reach the ambitious and urgent 1.5° goal that would limit the devastating impact of climate change on communities, economies and ecosystems around the world.

Ambitious energy efficiency measures can cost-effectively improve our buildings and the quality of the air we breathe, can pave the way for clean and efficient mobility, can help our industry to be more competitive and climate proof. But we need to step up our efforts.

“We are just a few days away from the COP24 in Poland and there is a growing concern about rising energy consumption and the EU progress towards meeting 2020 and 2030 targets for energy efficiency.said Ms Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energy We are behind the schedule to meet Paris Agreement, even if it is encouraging to see that energy efficiency is high on the political agenda. Governments like France and Germany must go ahead with a strong implementation of the directives (cfr. EED and EPBD); mainstreaming Efficiency First in the National Energy and Climate Plans; and support Paris-compliant EU-budget 2020 -2027.

Christian Noll, Managing Director of DENEFF: “The revised Directive and the new 2030 target of 32.5% increase in energy efficiency until 2030 represent a great chance for Germany, France and the whole EU to grasp the multiple benefits of energy efficiency to strengthen its economy and meet its climate targets. The federal government must reclaim its position as world champion of energy efficiency by implementing the new framework as fast and robust as possible. This should be a no-brainer for a high technology country like Germany!”.

In his remarks, Mr Sven Rösner, Director of the Franco-German Office for the Energy Transition said that energy efficiency is most importantly a substantial factor in the of limitation greenhouse gas emissions, but also – in economic terms – a great opportunity to lower expenditures on energy for private households and the industry as well as to create sustainable jobs for all types of qualifications in industries where both countries already developed strong competencies. The extension of the close cooperation between France and Germany to this context would accelerate its progress in both countries, and beyond. 

A Franco-German cooperation at national, European and international level is a driving force behind the European energy transition. As major EU economies and political players, France and Germany must lead by example and demonstrate that decarbonization is a successful model and a great opportunity to deliver modernization, innovation, digitalization and job opportunities for the future prosperity of Europe.


[1] EEA Report: Assessment on the EU’s progress on renewable energy and energy efficiency targets, November 2018,  https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/trends-and-projections-in-europe-2018-climate-and-energy

Contacts and Media Enquiries

Luigi Petito (+32 2 588 5671 / info@euase.eu) / Laura J. Bolé (+32 492 08 69 54 / lauraj.bole@euase.eu)

Energy efficiency to drive EU plan to go carbon-neutral by 2050

The proposal, which sets out how the EU will meet its commitments under the Paris climate agreement, lays out eight emission reduction scenarios for 2050 and came out in favour of reaching net zero emissions, which would be closest to achieving the goals of the Paris agreement.

A clean planet for all this is the title of the EU Commission’s strategy for a climate-neutral economy by 2050. The proposal, which sets out how the EU will meet its commitments under the Paris climate agreement, lays out eight emission reduction scenarios for 2050 and came out in favour of reaching net zero emissions, which would be closest to achieving the goals of the Paris agreement.

The most important element of the strategy is that it sets the goal of a carbon neutral Europe by mid-century. In its strategy, the EU Commission does not yet lay down any concrete steps. It sees its paper as a long-term vision for Europe to open a debate rather than to indicate a clear way forward.

“More than 90% of European are concerned about climate change. We must take bold actions to limit global warming. There are good elements in the proposed long-term strategy but more decisive consideration of the game changing potential of energy efficiency is needed in order for the EU to arrive to a carbon neutral world by 2050”, said Monica Frassoni, EU-ASE President, commenting on the long-term strategy. “Moving forward, actions are needed to make the energy efficiency first principle Europe’s no.1 priority. For example actions to accelerate building renovations will deliver real benefits to citizens, businesses and the environment”, she added.

Harry Verhaar, Signify: “A net zero carbon goal is a triple win for Europe. The creation of a carbon neutral society by mid-century will result in social benefits for Europe’s citizens, will improve the quality of our living environment and will provide economic benefits, the latter either to the national or local economy, or for our household and businesses. Removing current carbon constraints is the smartest and best thing that can be done to set course to a more inclusive and fair society for all Europe’s citizens. With the carbon neutral goal now set, it is imperative that we turn to action, with priority for energy efficiency that will also deliver the jobs and prosperity this better Europe aspires and deserves.”

“There are good elements in the proposed long-term strategy, but more decisive consideration of the game changing potential of energy efficiency is needed in order for the EU to arrive to a carbon neutral world by 2050. Moving forward, actions are needed to make the energy efficiency first principle Europe’s no.1 priority.”

 

Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energy

Next steps

The Commission will present its draft strategy at the global climate conference (COP 24) in Katowice, Poland, on 12 December. The European Parliament’s environment committee is expected to comment on the Commission’s strategy by 1 March 2019. A final agreement between EU governments is expected in 2019. According to the Paris climate agreement, all parties – including the EU – must submit updated 2030 emissions targets by 2020.

“A net zero carbon goal is a triple win for Europe. The creation of a carbon neutral society by mid-century will result in social benefits for Europe’s citizens, will improve the quality of our living environment and will provide economic benefits, the latter either to the national or local economy, or for our household and businesses.”

 

Harry Verhaar, Chair of the European Alliance to Save Energy

Contacts and Media Enquiries

Luigi Petito (+32 2 588 5671 / info@euase.eu) / Laura J. Bolé (+32 492 08 69 54 / lauraj.bole@euase.eu)

Final approval on the revised Energy Efficiency Directive and Governance Regulation important step towards decarbonisation of European economy

With today’s vote the European Union made an important step to secure a more affordable and climate-friendly energy system to European citizens. This new governance system introduces the Energy Efficiency First principle for the first time in the EU regulatory framework.

According to the Governance Regulation, Member States must follow a binding European template to prepare National Energy and Climate Plans by 31 December 2019, and subsequently by 1 January 2029, and every ten years thereafter.

Member states must also prepare long-term decarbonization strategies setting their policy vision until 2050.

“Despite the complexity of the discussion at Member State level, the European Parliament approved two crucial files demonstrating that there is growing understanding of the full social, economic and environmental potential of energy efficiency” said Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energy, commenting on the vote – “Now, a swift, prompt, and adequate implementation at national level is needed to realize the full energy efficiency potential. Current discussions on the EU long-term decarbonization Strategy and Multiannual Financial Framework are concrete opportunities to do more, do it urgently and more decisively towards reaching the Paris agreement objective.”

“The European Parliament approved two crucial files demonstrating that there is growing understanding of the full social, economic and environmental potential of energy efficiency. Now, a swift, prompt, and adequate implementation at national level is needed to realize the full energy efficiency potential.”

 

Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energy

Next steps

Once the Council of EU Ministers has also given its green light, the laws will be published in the EU’s Official Journal. After the publication, the Regulation on Governance will be directly applied in all EU Member States, while for the new efficiency directive, Member States will have 18 months to transpose it into their national legal systems.

Contacts and Media Enquiries

Luigi Petito (+32 2 588 5671 / info@euase.eu) / Laura J. Bolé (+32 492 08 69 54 / lauraj.bole@euase.eu)

Op-ed: Europe on a path to carbon neutrality in 2050: a push in direction of “sobriété énergétique”?

Kamila Waciega, Director, Energy, at Veolia Public Affairs Department

Kamila graduated from Sciences Po Paris and London School of Economics. She holds a PhD in Political Sciences, applied to decarbonisation policies in European regions. She’s been in charge of access to public funds and energy and climate policy for Dalkia Central Europe Department between 2010 and 2014.

In 2014, Kamila integrated Veolia’s Public Affairs Department and since January 2018, she has been acting as a Director in charge of the group’s position on energy and climate issues.

Energy efficiency and “sobriété énergetique” have to go hand in hand for a decarbonized Europe. Only combined they will help us significantly reduce our primary and final energy consumption, as well as the use of other resources – and hence diminish our impact on the environment.

The French are known and renowned in the entire world for producing great stuff: wine, cheese, art and sometimes, extraordinary concepts. In the realm of energy, it is precisely in France where the term “sobriété énergetique” has been coined and even inscribed in the national law – the law of energy transition for green growth from August 2015[1].

That’s a tough one to translate to other language as a literal translation might suggest something related to abstinence (relevant to wine, impossible when it comes to power and heat), while the concept itself hints more at our ability to apply the principles of moderation and frugality to the use of energy in everyday life.

Why should we be assessing the opportunity to generalise this French concept to the rest of Europe? Mainly because we are at a very peculiar moment when it comes to the EU policy making: the European Commission is currently working on its 2050 low carbon strategy, which is intended to help integrate the COP21 (Paris agreement) commitments into its general regulatory framework. To do so, the Commission is widely consulting stakeholders to get their input and better conceptualise potential paths. And while the attention of stakeholders is mostly turned towards the most significant technology and process-related changes that need to be introduced and follow through to deliver on net zero carbon emissions at a 2050 horizon, relatively little is being said on what importance the “sobriété énergétique” would have to take us towards this carbon neutral and bright future. This propensity to focus on the former is reflected in the current EU framework, in particular the revised Energy Efficiency Directive and Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, where the “usage” bit is painfully missing. This is all the more jarring as the EED itself failed to setup targets ambitious enough, and expressed both in primary and final energy consumption, to drive necessary changes in the EU energy demand and consumption.

So what really is “sobriété énergétique”? First of all, it is not the same as energy efficiency, which can be defined as a measure or process that consists of reducing energy consumption by a piece of equipment with better efficiency and fewer losses in energy production or consumption. Hence, it is essentially about the performance and the proper use of various types of equipment and infrastructure with which we consume energy. “Sobriété énergetique”, or energy frugality for lack of a better term, aims at reducing our energy consumption not only by privileging more efficient equipment, but also by deliberately choosing to modify our usages of it, in order to reduce our overall energy consumption. “Sobriété” comes from a Greek word “Sophrosyne”[2] and refers to a conscious strategy to achieve moderation regarding our energy consumption, and to rediscover healthy limits (as opposed to overconsumption). To give an example it is about choosing well and sufficiently dimensioned equipment for our needs (fridge, flat we live in, car we drive or carpool); to supervise the way we use the equipment (level and duration of the use, for instance by avoiding standby mode), to cooperate and share through collective organisation (of transport means, housing, equipment and preference for short circuits of production and distribution, etc). Because it is centrally focused on consumers’ behaviour, it affects individual behavioural, wider consumption patterns and collective choices (including construction or expansion of heavy infrastructures). It is also about decoupling the notion of energy use from the service this usage provides and then making an educated choice of the most essential services – over less important, futile and sometimes even harmful usages.

As an example of how this principle applies and operates in real life in the building sector is for instance is when new districts are built and efficient and district heating networks are being chosen to deliver heat and sanitary water (and sometimes electricity if cogeneration units are installed). This is not only a technical and efficiency related choice – by opting for district energy, inhabitants of those “eco-quartiers” are also giving up on their freedom of choice and autonomy individual heating solutions provide them with, but with the view of greater collective benefits, including the possibility of massively integrate renewable and waste energy sources that are to be found locally, and reduced CO2 and fine particles emissions. The same applies when energy performance contracting and thermal renovation of buildings are being deployed, as part of deep staged renovation strategies. Both EPC and renovation works will surpass expected results in terms of energy savings and hence more rapidly yield the rate of return on investments, if buildings users are made aware of how their behavior can affect optimised and renovated installations. Overall, approaching energy transition from the territorial and district perspective is also a conscious choice and a change in our thinking and behaviour about energy production and that is likely to generate considerable positive externalities.

Sobriété” is a significant piece of the decarbonization puzzle, because at its stands, the level of both carbon pricing, ambition of the EED revision, and achievement of the energy transition to local loops, is far from being sufficient to help reduce CO2 emissions enough to reach zero net carbon emissions by 2050. Responsible energy consumption is necessary to reduce overall primary and final energy use according to the scenario elaborated by the French think thank négaWatt[3], showing that “sobriété énergetique” represents half of the potential to reach 50% reduction of energy consumption in France. and behaviour about energy production and that is likely to generate considerable positive externalities.

Source: NET ZERO BY 2050: ZERO EMISSIONS PATHWAYS TO THE EUROPE WE WANT

Sobriété” is a significant piece of the decarbonisation puzzle, because at its stands, the level of both carbon pricing, ambition of the EED revision, and achievement of the energy transition to local loops, is far from being sufficient to help reduce CO2 emissions enough to reach zero net carbon emissions by 2050. Responsible energy consumption is necessary to reduce overall primary and final energy use according to the scenario elaborated by the French think thank négaWatt[4], showing that “sobriété énergetique” represents half of the potential to reach 50% reduction of energy consumption in France.

“Sobriété énergetique” is not a revolution – it is a natural evolution of the concept of energy efficiency that might require changes in our individual behaviours and serious questioning of some of our habits. Its implementation might result in fostering better social interactions, based on solidarity and recognition of the value provided by sharing of goods and services. It might help change our social modal, fully inscribed it in the logic of circular economy and local energy planification.

Hence, in addition to reinforcing traditional drivers of transition towards low carbon economy, such as development of renewable energies, investment in energy efficiency across all economic sectors, and the use of carbon pricing based on polluter pays foundations, Europe should put greater focus on the principle of “sobriété énergetique”. How to get there is of course a big question mark. Because it touches upon almost all of the areas of our existence, the EU low-carbon strategy is precisely a great opportunity to incorporate this notion into the EU framework, along with the notions of energy efficiency first, and circular economy, directed towards increasing our awareness and providing us with tools to change our relationship with energy use, services its provides and to natural resources in general.

 


[1] In “La loi de transition énergétique pour une croissance verte (LTECV)”, the first title updates the country’s energy policy, where the notions of energy efficiency, energy security, maintaining of competitive energy prices, fight against fuel poverty, and “sobriété énergétique” are enumerated as its new principles.

[2] An ancient Greek concept of an ideal of excellence of character and soundness of mind, which when combined in one well-balanced individual leads to other qualities, such as temperance, moderation, prudence, purity, decorum and self-control.

[3] See http://www.ddline.fr/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/1601_Fil-dargent_Qu-est-ce-que-la-sobriete.pdf

[4] See http://www.ddline.fr/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/1601_Fil-dargent_Qu-est-ce-que-la-sobriete.pdf

Op-ed: Decarbonizing the European economy – Let’s start off on the right foot with Energy Efficiency First

Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energy

Monica Frassoni is an Italian politician and former MEP (1999-2009). During that time, she was co-chair of the European Greens–European Free Alliance group in the European Parliament. Currently, she is co-President of the European Green Party.

Previously, she served for 10 years as an officer of the Greens group in the European Parliament and was Secretary General of the Young European Federalists. In late 2010, Monica took up the role of President of the European Alliance to Save Energy, which promotes energy efficiency across Europe.

The beginning of the work of the European Commission on a long-term strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is good and timely.

First, Europe needs to step up its efforts to implement the Paris Agreement, where the EU and Member States committed to achieve ambitious emission reductions objectives.

Second, there is acknowledgment that transforming the energy system is necessary to combat climate change. The switching pace should be faster to be more adequate to address the its unprecedented challenges, but things are coming together and some indicators, as the introduction of the Energy Efficiency First principle in the Regulation of the Governance of the Energy Union, are very encouraging.

Third, the EU project is in an extremely difficult moment and its future is at risk. The falling appetite for European legislation must be clearly resisted and defeated over the next months and years.  Areas such as climate change represent a unique opportunity to develop policies and regulation of common interest and deliver tangible results to European citizens. Indeed, a recent EU-wide survey shows that 92% of EU citizens see climate change as a serious problem and support action across the EU to tackle it[1].

On the 2050 energy and climate strategy the European Commission must dare to be bold and send the right political messages to citizens, businesses and the international community.

The long-term emissions reduction strategy can only be developed correctly if it is based on the latest available science. From our understanding, the IPCC Special Report Global Warming of 1.5°C due to be published next October will conclude that the upper temperature goal of the Paris Agreement of 2°C does not represent a climate safe zone. As such, the EU long term energy and climate strategy must clearly lay out pathways for how the bloc will contribute to limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C, including a net-zero emissions target by 2050 at the latest. This transformation of European economy must be achieved over time but also on time.  Hence, the EU, needs to urgently and substantially increase its action well beyond the current 2030 targets.

In this scenario, Energy Efficiency plays a fundamental role. The EU must take into account that global energy demand rose in 2017 by 2.1%, out of which 70% came from fossil fuels. The EU strategy must therefore pursue a review of energy and climate targets with the long-term goal to further reduce energy consumption and phase out fossil fuels.

Energy Efficiency must be firmly placed at the centre of the EU long-term strategy by:

  1. Applying Energy Efficiency first principle when planning and designing the transition

Energy efficiency measures must be put on an equal footing with other supply side investment options. Efficiency First principle boils down to making informed choice to invest taxpayers’ money in cost-effective energy measures.

According to the IEA, energy efficiency makes the largest contribution to the global emissions reduction in the EU, able to deliver 76% of those needed to achieve Paris Agreement objectives[2]. Enshrining the Efficiency First principle in long-term strategy will enable countries to maximize their energy gains while fostering a growing integration of renewables and making more affordable the electrification of key sectors like transport and heating & cooling.

  1. Revising EU’s current inadequate 2030 target

According to the European Commission, the new EU targets for energy efficiency (32.5%) and renewables (32%) translate into 46% GHG cuts. To achieve net 0 by 2050 at the latest, the Commission should propose a scenario of 55-60% GHG emission reduction by 2030.

  1. Fixing current energy system modelling to value Energy Efficiency for its actual and broad contribution

The consultations held by DG ENER on energy system modelling have shown that PRIMES model is inadequate to address energy efficiency. It is crucial to work on the PRIMES model’s weaknesses integrating the wider spectrum of energy and non-energy benefits of energy efficiency, such as energy security, public health, improved air quality and support of innovation and competitiveness.

  1. Fairly presenting costs and benefits

In previous EU Impact assessments[3], the investment costs and financial savings of energy efficiency were unfairly presented. In particular, a discount rate of 10% was applied to value energy efficiency investments, which made them look more expensive. The Commission should instead consider a lower societal discount rate – which is more aligned with those applied by Member States (between 4.0-5.7%)[4] – and the costs of delayed actions and of non-action.

The EU long-term emissions reduction strategy is a unique window of opportunity for the EU to attract investments in cost competitive technologies that will drive emissions reductions. A forward-looking strategy will make Europe progress as a strong competitive and innovative energy efficiency market from where European companies can spearhead the energy transition and commercialize their technologies and know-how globally.

 

[1] EU Survey, 2017:  https://ec.europa.eux/clima/citizens/support_en

[2] IEA, 2015, (figure 3.4), p.76.: https://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/WEO2015SpecialReportonEnergyandClimateChange.pdf

[3] EC IA : https://ec.europa.eu/energy/sites/ener/files/documents/1_en_impact_assessment_part1_v4_0.pdf

[4] 4% discount rate recommended by better regulation guidelines and 5.7% is average used by member states for energy efficiency in buildings;