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.


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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.

Energy efficiency at the center of 10th Citizens’ Energy Forum in Dublin

The EU-ASE President Monica Frassoni attended the 10th Citizens’ Energy Forum, which was launched by the European Commission in 2008 as a dedicated platform to implement and enforce consumer rights on the energy market across the European Union.

Organised annually, the Forum has served to structure the debate and channel consumers’, regulators’ and industry’s views on the energy market and its future, directly feeding into the work of the Commission in the energy and consumer policy areas. This year’s forum aimed at placing the discussion on the role of consumers on the energy market in the context of the measures proposed by the Clean Energy for all Europeans package and the recently adopted New Deal for Consumers package.

“Citizens need to be involved to ensure a transparent discussion on the choices that are being made when it comes to decisions between investing in new infrastructure or more retrofitting.”


Monica Frassoni, EU-ASE President

The opening session started with the speech of Dominique Ristori (DG ENER) which was followed by Denis Naughten (Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment), Miguel Arias Cañete (European  Union’s Commissioner for Climate Action & Energy) and  Sean Kelly (MEP), who agreed that the on-going negotiations and the implementation of the Clean Energy Package should keep focus on placing the empowered consumers at the center of the energy transition.


EU-ASE President Monica Frassoni was invited to take part in the High-level discussion on “The Role of consumers in the energy transition”, together with Michael Losch (Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism, Austria), Garrett Blaney (CEER), Monique Goyens (BEUC) and Kristian Ruby (Eurelectric), and moderated by Dominique Ristori (DG ENER).

During her intervention, Ms Frassoni stressed the importance of the inclusion of the energy efficiency first principle in the Regulation of the Governance of the Energy Union as a key novel element that will help ensure that the consumers are able to play an active role in the energy transition. “Energy efficiency first is not a PR concept, but a principle that should guide the implementation and investment decisions” she emphasized.

“Citizens need to be involved to ensure a transparent discussion on the choices that are being made when it comes to decisions between investing in new infrastructure or more retrofitting.”


Monica Frassoni, EU-ASE President

Regarding the Clean Energy Package for All Europeans, she stressed that some progress has been made with the adoption of the recast Energy Efficiency Directive, but underlined the need to increase the energy efficiency target by 2023, as a possibility given by the upwards revision clause.

Citizens need to be involved to ensure a transparent discussion on the choices that are being made when it comes to decisions between investing in new infrastructure or more retrofitting” she stressed, and pointed out the difference of these choices in terms of their financial impact but also in terms of their impact on citizens health and the quality of life. Ms Frassoni informed the audience about the European Commission’s Impact Assessment, which stated that every percentage point increase in the 2030 energy efficiency target would mean lifting millions of people out of energy poverty and called on the Commission to show more ambition in the future. In her intervention she also gave an example of very low interest for green mortgages and stressed the need to create the sense of urgency among consumers that more ambitious legislations is needed and that that it is good for the consumers, their quality of life and for the environment.

“Energy efficiency first is not a PR concept, but a principle that should guide the implementation and investment decisions.”


Monica Frassoni, EU-ASE President

EU-ASE President concluded by stressing that the European Alliance to Save Energy is calling for energy efficiency to be perceived as an integral part of the future energy system with an ultimate aim to benefit European citizens.

Top climatologist and Members of the European Parliament at EU-ASE 6th Annual Dinner

“The sign of hope in the climate conversation is that we are all sitting here today to talk about climate.”

Kathleen van Brempt, MEP and Honorary Member of EU-ASE

On 18th September, the European Alliance to Save Energy held its 6th Annual Dinner debate. This year the event gathered EU-ASE business members and high-level guests including top climatologist Prof. Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, and MEPs Kathleen van Bremptand Bendt Bendtsen, both Honorary Members of EU-ASE.

The dinner focused on how to leverage the Multi Annual Financial Framework (MFF) post 2020 to fully implement the EU climate and energy legislation in view of achieving net zero emissions  by 2050.

“We can do it, we can change the point of view on climate and make EU countries have this in their minds.”

Bendt Bendsten, MEP and Honorary Member of EU-ASE

In his keynote speech, Professor van Ypersele confirmed that “limiting global temperature to 2ºC is outdated – we need more ambition” and underlined that a much more efficient use of energy and lifestyle changes towards energy consumption are key to tackle climate change. He also added that we are running short of time: “the more we wait, the more difficult it will be to reverse the problem.”

Following the keynote speech, the EU-ASE members welcomed Ms van Brempt, who underlined that “the sign of hope for the future is that we are all sitting here today to talk about climate“. Her speech was followed by Mr Bendtsen, who agreed with Prof. van Ypersele, stressing that the “ambition is still not high enough” and added that “it is still possible to change the view on climate issues of some EU countries”.

EU-ASE members took part to the debate to call for integration of the Energy Efficiency First principle into the EU Long-term Energy and Climate Strategy;  a climate proof budget post 2020 to leverage private investments;  and net zero emissions target by 2050 at the latest to pave the way towards a decarbonised economy.

EU-ASE at the EU Commission’s stakeholder event ‘EU’s vision for a modern, clean and competitive economy’

“We still need to walk the walk in how energy efficiency interacts with other actors. The partnership between RES and energy efficiency is crucial and can provide 94% of the reductions in energy CO2 related emissions.”

Monica Frassoni, President of EU-ASE

She talked at large about the fact that policy makers and companies should understand that the decarbonisation of the EU economy cannot be achieved without energy efficiency investments. On this note, she gave some concrete examples of how the reductions that we would obtain by implementing such measures would be less costly.

Ms Frassoni also spoke about the “very big elephant in the room” no one had yet addressed, in reference to the public financing of fossil fuels. “I think that when the EIB changed its regulation to make it less prone towards fossil fuels it gave a very powerful signal that is very useful to all sectors”, she added, “but, at the same time there are still exceptions and loopholes”. She underlined that the energy efficiency community is worried about the direct competition role fossil fuels, especially gas, are currently playing in the sector, since energy efficiency investments are harder to “be seen” and “more complex to be put in practice”.

EU-ASE’s President concluded her presentation giving some recommendations on behalf of the energy efficiency community, underlying the importance of applying the Energy Efficiency First principle, pushing harder for more ambitious, binding targets, and stepping up the efforts for good implementation of existing policies to provide investors with a very much needed confidence.

Click here to watch Ms Frassoni’s full intervention (minute 02:15:00).

The event, held 10-11 July in Brussels, gathered several experts and policy makers from the energy, climate and environment framework

Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energy, took part yesterday in the European Commission’s stakeholder event ‘EU’s vision for a modern, clean and competitive economy’, as a speaker in the panel ‘Cost-efficient ways for achieving a post-carbon European economy’. Apart from Ms Frassoni, the panel, whose titfeatured a high-level list of experts from the sector, representing the policy, business and NGO voices:  EU Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen; Ignacio S. Galán, Chairman and CEO of Iberdrola; Dr. Johannes Teyssen, CEO of E.ON; Giles Dickson, CEO, WindEurope; David Turk, Acting Director, Sustainability, Technology and Outlooks of the International Energy Agency; and Wendel Trio, Director of CAN Europe.

During her intervention, Ms Frassoni stressed the very important moment the European Union is currently facing in terms of integration and that setting a long-term strategy with clear and concrete milestones should be at the top of the list of the Union’s priorities. She also addressed the necessary partnership between energy efficiency and the rest of actors in the energy transition, such as renewable energy sources or utilities. “We still need to walk the walk in understanding that energy efficiency is a crucial element in the way in which companies must work”, she pointed out, “the partnership between RES and energy efficiency can provide 94% of the reductions in energy CO2 related emissions”.