Water efficiency could help Europe drive decarbonisation and boost industrial competitiveness

As water scarcity becomes a bigger issue, industry must become more resilient by reducing pressure on available freshwater resources. Strong policy frameworks are required to support more efficient water usage, says Emilio Tenuta from Ecolab on Foresight Climate & Energy ahead of the first edition of the European Energy Efficiency Day. 

While the risks of a climate crisis loom ever – nearer, global leaders gathered a few weeks ago for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to argue once again for the need for swift climate action.

Even before this, in January 2021, the new German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called for an determined approach, saying: “We will no longer wait for the slowest and least ambitious. We’ll turn climate from a cost factor to competitive advantage”. It is encouraging to see leaders finally rising to the climate challenge.

The message is clear: We need more than ever to move faster and act collectively to address the climate emergency. To accelerate decarbonisation in industry and successfully achieve the goals set under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, we will have to work together. Governments, businesses, investors and civil society will need to partner to turn this commitment into concrete actions.

Water efficiency is part of the solution to decarbonisation.

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More information on Energy Efficiency Day here & Register here.

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EED recast: EU Council adopts general approach on EED

Today, the Council of the European Union adopted its general approach on the recast of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED). This is a fundamental legislative step for the Union to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and phase out fossil fuel imports from Russia as soon as possible.

EU-ASE welcomes that for the first time, the Union is getting closer to finally have a binding target for energy efficiency, departing from the current Energy Efficiency Directive which only sets an indicative energy efficiency objective. Furthermore, although national contributions are not binding, the Council agreed on a governance of the Directive which would allow the Commission to activate a “gap-avoider” mechanism if the sum of contributions do not add up towards the EU target. It is an important step forward.

But the Council lost a major occasion to put Energy Efficiency first and act on high energy prices by creating the right regulatory conditions to reduce energy demand for families and business. Firstly, the Council did not take up the proposal of the Commission to increase the energy efficiency target of at least 13% as issued in the REPowerEU strategy.

This is hardly justifiable, knowing that a 9% target would still imply Member States importing 233 bcm of fossil gas annually from third countries, while a 19% target would reduce gas imports to 104 bcm per year i.e. achieving in full the goal to reduce to zero Europe’s dependence on Russian natural gas, as Russia accounts to 40% of all of the EU’s gas imports. Secondly, Ministers did not agree to make the target for primary energy consumption binding, thus undermining the potential for energy savings gained at system level.

Monica Frassoni, President of the Alliance, said: “The Council general approach is not the end of the story: the European Parliament’s rapporteur position aims to a much more ambitious 19% energy efficiency target by 2030, which reflects the potential for energy savings. We support wholeheartedly the effort of the rapporteur Niels Fuglsang and of the many stakeholders at EU and national level working to boost investments in energy efficiency. Energy Efficiency First will increase Europe’s resilience and is a formidable way to address the energy and climate crisis”.

You can find the full press release here 


About us

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

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Open letter to EU Energy Ministers on the revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive

The European Alliance to Save Energy sent a letter addressing the EU-27 energy and climate Ministers, ahead of the Energy Council meeting on 27 June.

The Russian military invasion of Ukraine has exacerbated the energy crisis and urged EU governments action to reduce soaring energy prices. As adopted in the Versailles Declaration by the European Council and as proposed by the European Commission in the REPowerEU plan, an ambitious revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive is critical to first and foremost reduce Europe’s energy demand.

Following the application of the Energy Efficiency First principle, improving energy efficiency across all sectors goes hand in hand with the replacement of fossil fuel solutions by cleaner, renewable energy sources. By reducing energy demand and optimising the full energy system through the reduction of peak demand, energy efficiency allows to reduce the need for investments in new generation, transmission and distribution systems, and thereby also ultimately reducing the costs passed onto consumers.

Read the full letter here

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The water-energy nexus: an untapped resource for major energy savings

Water requires energy. When we move it, clean it, heat it and cool it—energy moves with it. These two precious resources come together seamlessly in our daily lives, but they can also jointly create significant energy savings. Unleashing the potential of the water-energy nexus will drive substantial energy savings to repower the EU while drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions, says Hayati Yarkadas at Xylem Europe on Foresight Climate & Energy ahead of the first edition of the European Energy Efficiency Day. 

The water-energy nexus refers to the link between energy use in water management and water use in energy production. Water and wastewater infrastructure account for 3.7% of the global electricity consumption. The good news is that any efficiency gains in one benefits the other.

And by using high-efficiency technologies, we can cut half of that energy consumption at zero or negative cost. This would be equivalent to removing 9.2 million fossil-fuelled cars per year and it would free up $40 billion to invest in other types of water infrastructure.

The nexus also holds the potential to generate large-scale energy and water savings across sectors and drastically reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions—an important element to address the impending climate change crisis.

We must move to an energy-neutral wastewater sector to achieve climate neutrality in Europe.

 

Read the full article here

More information on Energy Efficiency Day here & Register here.

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EU-ASE at IEA’s 7th Global Conference on Energy Efficiency

The Danish city of Sonderborg hosted the 7th edition of the IEA’s Global Conference on Energy efficiency, one of this 2022’s most momentous days for energy efficiency.

From the 7th to the 9th of June, Ministers, campaigners and business leaders from all around the world came together to discuss the global challenges concerning climate change and the impacts to the energy systems caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It was also the occasion to exchange on the various solutions that are driving forward the energy efficiency agenda, with European companies leading at the forefront through continuous innovation.

The President of EU-ASE, Monica Frassoni, who was invited to participate in the Conference, said “Never before we have needed energy efficiency so much as today. There is clear global impetus to move forward globally. Every day, new solutions are emerging that are allowing us to save more energy. This is brilliant because we cannot afford to waste energy anymore, we need solutions now.”

As a side event, Dansk Industri, the Danish Confederation of Industries, invited Ms. Frassoni to join two panel discussions, where she shared her views on how energy efficiency is driving Europe’s decarbonization through public and private partnerships, and on how building renovations are making our lives healthier, together with VELUX and NOVENCO.

You can watch again the IEA’s Opening Plenary here, as well as the panels on public-private partnerships and on health buildings through deep renovations here and here.

 

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