Wide coalition of stakeholders spells out expectations on “Fit for 55” package

Ahead of the European Council’s discussion on 25 May about the new climate and energy legislation (so called Fit for 55 Package), EU-ASE joined with European businesses, investor groups, local and regional authorities and NGOs calling upon EU decision makers to ensure that the upgraded climate and energy legislation increases the EU’s climate ambition to the highest possible level.

Signed by 50 organisations, the joint letter highlights that “If the European Green Deal is the EU’s growth strategy, the new climate and energy legislation should be its engine”. Based on this principle, the letter calls upon the EU Heads of State to further step up the EU’s climate action by expanding the scope of the EU 2030 target. It also urges EU decision makers to strengthen the Emission Trading System and to maintain and increase nationally binding targets under the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) covering emissions from road transport, buildings and agriculture and waste.

Finally, the letter reminds the importance of increasing targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency in line with higher climate ambition and ensuring that they are binding, and concludes by highlighting the need to have full synergy between climate and energy legislation and other EU targets, policies and measures.

Stakeholders representing over 2.700 cities, 330 regions, investors with over €37tn in assets, more than 1.100 companies and 390 NGOs, emphasise the importance of creating synergy between the “Fit for 55” Package and national, local and regional EU funding opportunities in order to send a strong signal that EU funds will support the implementation of the EU’s enhanced climate objectives.

 

Read the full letter

 

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Technical assistance to deliver the economic and political capital of Recovery and Resilience Plans

Deploying technical assistance and building up administrative and logistical capacity is key to boost building renovation projects across Europe and pave the way for a green recovery.

In a letter addressed to the European Commission’s Recovery and Resilience Task Force, the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) stressed the importance of strengthening technical assistance for energy efficiency renovations to deliver the economic and political capital of Recovery and Resilience Plans.

The letter says:

“With specific regard to building renovations, we notice that in the draft RRPs there is a general lack of focus on technical assistance, despite the central role it plays in removing the administrative, financial and other practical hurdles for ministries, cities, local authorities, businesses and households to renovate our common building stock.

Due to the specific nature of building renovation programmes and related financial and non-financial barriers that hinder their full deployment, we would suggest that at least 4% of funds allocated to building renovations are spent on technical assistance. For example, this would enable proactive support for public authorities to map out their buildings stock, prepare good long-term renovation strategies, and develop and aggregate renovation proposals5. In addition, these funds could be invested in education and training of workforce (upskilling and reskilling) as well as in information campaigns to increase citizens and businesses’ awareness about the multiple benefits that renovations bring in terms of cost-savings, comfort, improved living conditions and increased productivity.

RECOVER can play a decisive role at this stage of the RRP process by making sure Member States are aware of the importance of integrating horizontal technical assistance programmes in their plans. The clear rationale is that deploying technical assistance and building up administrative and logistical capacity is an enabler for ensuring that the benefits of a swift and green recovery are delivered and felt across countries, regions, cities and individual households.

The alternative is the very real risk of jeopardising the recovery funds’ economic and political capital and its multiple benefits for citizens, the clean energy transition and, ultimately, the European integration project.”

 

Read the full letter

 

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Broad coalition calls on EU not to rely on hydrogen to decarbonise buildings

33 businesses, industry associations, NGOs, and think tanks joined forces to urge the European Commission to prioritise available efficient and sustainable solutions to decarbonise Europe’s building stock, and avoid the direct use of hydrogen.

Addressing EU Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans in an open letter, the co-signatories underline that to achieve a higher 2030 EU climate target, massive emissions reductions in the building sector will be needed (<60% compared to 2015). This requires applying the energy efficiency first principle and boost the integration of renewables, as envisaged by the Renovation Wave strategy.

While it is true that renewable hydrogen can play a role in decarbonising hard-to-abate sectors, its direct use for heating on a large scale is problematic because it comes with many uncertainties linked to the scalability, costs of its production and inefficiencies, the letter says.

To optimise the process of heat decarbonisation in the medium and long-term, the EU should favour energy efficiency options as they can immediately deliver real carbon savings, while accommodating a growing share of renewable sources.

The co-signatories call on the Commission not to overestimate the potential of “zero-emission gas”, which would be mostly imported from abroad. Doing that would constrain EU taxpayers to fund unnecessary infrastructures, such as gas pipelines (or their upgrade), diverting financial resources from immediately applicable and more sustainable heat decarbonisation solutions.

Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE), said:
“To achieve higher emission reductions by 2030, the EU must act fast to decarbonise buildings as one of the most energy consuming and polluting sectors. To make this happen, we need to prioritise energy efficiency and renewables, while using hydrogen to decarbonise harder-to-abate sectors, like chemicals and steel.”

 

Read the full letter here

 

The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) aims to ensure that the voice of energy efficiency is heard across the European Union. EU-ASE members have operations across the 27 Member States of the European Union, employ over 340.000 people in Europe and have an aggregated annual turnover of €115 billion.

Media contact
Matteo Guidi
matteo.guidi@euase.eu
+32 493 37 21 42

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Open letter: EU Taxonomy to deliver economic recovery, resilience and sustainability

In response to the European Commission’s consultation on the draft delegated acts for the EU Taxonomy Regulation, EU-ASE has addressed in an open letter the Commission Vice-Presidents Frans Timmermans and Valdis Dombrovskis.

EU-ASE calls on the European Commission to ensure that the taxonomy will play a key role in aligning public and private investments to deliver economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as resilience and long-term sustainability.

To achieve this goal, we believe that the EU Taxonomy should be developed to exclusively promote investments which help us to address the economic, health, environmental and social consequences of climate changes, especially on the young and future generations.

Moreover, the technical screening criteria should systematically factor energy efficiency considerations in the qualification of sustainable activities. This approach should encompass a broad range of economic activities including buildings’ construction, renovation and management, all products manufacturing, and services, in particular energy services.

 

Read the full letter here

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Open letter: building renovations should be at the centre of the Italian recovery

In view of the drafting of the Italian recovery and resilience plan, EU-ASE has joined with leading national players from industry, environmentalism and academia asking the government to focus on the renovation of buildings for a green and resilient recovery.

The letter states:

The drafting and implementation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan is an historic challenge for our country. It represents the unique opportunity to boost the economy, safeguard and/or create jobs and win the fight against pollution and climate change.

The renovation of existing buildings is the ideal tool because it provides advantages in terms of growth, jobs, economic and social resilience, which are unparalleled in other sectors:

  • the high labour intensity, typical of all construction work, will create numerous local jobs (on average 18 jobs for every million euros invested, according to a Renovate Europe study);
  • renovations will improve the quality of the buildings, this will have huge impacts on all of us citizens, who spend about 90% of our time inside buildings, including better air quality, comfort, and health;
  • the strong decrease in energy consumption, which will bring decisive benefits in terms of tackling climate change (buildings are responsible for a large part of climate-altering emissions)

It is also important to remember that the aforementioned benefits would be obtained in a short time and would last over the long period, thanks to the long life of the technologies involved (insulation and renewable sources).

For this reason we support the plan to extend the “Superbonus 110%” until 2024 and, potentially, even beyond, until reaching the goal of decarbonising the entire building stock, as required by the European Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD).

Similarly, we support the willingness to allocate a part of the Recovery Fund resources (1 billion euro/year) for the renovation of public buildings, excluded from the application of the Superbonus 110%.

The above is the first necessary step to reach the EU 2030 (-55%) and 2050 (climate neutrality) climate targets. In fact, we remind you that Italy, according to the EPBD, has yet to adopt a real long-term renovation strategy for the de-carbonisation of the Italian housing stock.

Today more than ever buildings renovations can and must contribute to the recovery of the Italian economy and, at the same time, make our society more resilient.

 

Read the full letter here (in Italian)

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