Renewable and efficiency businesses highlight priorities for increased climate ambition

Together with a large group representing Europe’s renewable and systemic energy efficiency value chains, EU-ASE sent a letter to the cabinet of European Council President Charles Michel.

The signatories strongly welcomed the increased ambition recently announced by the Commission, which builds on the key pillars supported by our associations: the combination of the energy efficiency first principle with the transition to renewable energies, with a specific emphasis on the electricity, heating & cooling, building and transport sectors.

The letter states:

“The good news is that technologies are available. However, barriers still prevent their uptake. Therefore, we need bold and urgent action from your side.”

The group highlighted four top priorities to ensure an increased climate ambition by 2030. These are:

  • The need to systematically apply the “energy efficiency first principle” as an essential enabler for decarbonisation, by reducing energy demand and costs associated with energy production, infrastructure and use.
  • The need to recognise “flexibility” as a core driver for the energy transition with dedicated measures to promote key elements such as efficient system management, energy storage, waste heat recovery and demand response technologies.
  • The need to actively facilitate customer choice towards the most cost-efficient technologies with the highest impact in terms of energy efficiency and CO2 emission reduction, building on the huge potential of digitalisation with smart technologies and controls, and with measures aimed at creating a level playing field for all energy carriers.
  • The need to sustain European excellence in renewable energies and their efficient use by further paving the way for the ambitious deployment of all renewables, with measures aimed at making use of and future-proofing Europe’s energy infrastructure as well as unlocking investments into the deployment of new, innovative technologies.

 

Download the full letter here

A smart, energy efficient and fair Renovation Wave for a faster economic recovery

In an open letter sent to the European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson, the group of progressive businesses and NGOs which constitute the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) called on the Commission to present an ambitious Renovation Wave initiative based on the energy efficiency first principle and funded by sufficient and dedicated resources.

In the broader energy system integration context, the letter states, the energy efficiency first principle must guide all building renovations’ decision-making processes. This implies the recognition of buildings as strategic and priority infrastructure for Europe.

With regards to resources, it is crucial to secure dedicated financial envelopes for building renovations within the National Recovery and Resilience Plans, InvestEU and the post 2020 Cohesion funds. Funds should be clearly earmarked and conditioned to increase the rate, depth and quality of integrated building renovations, the signatories write. The granting of financial support should follow the ratio “unit of energy saved (or CO2 saved) per invested Euro”, to ensure cost-effectiveness measurements of investments supported by EU funds.

Moreover, an ambitious Renovation Wave should focus on immediate, efficient heat decarbonisation. This is a great opportunity to accelerate the decarbonisation of heat in Europe’s buildings by combining energy efficiency, digitalisation and direct electrification with the deployment of smart, efficient, responsive electric heating and district level heating solutions. These can secure immediate carbon savings in buildings through existing and cost-effective solutions, enabling the use of waste heat and by the same token allow to prioritise limited green hydrogen capacity for deployment in harder-to-abate sectors, such as industry and freight.

From an environmental perspective, evidence shows that the Renovation Wave is a conditio sine qua non to reach the increased GHG emissions target for 2030 and climate-neutrality by 2050. Smarter and energy efficient buildings not only contribute directly to the reduction of energy demand and GHG emissions, but they are a prerequisite for a faster and deeper integration of renewables. 

The synergy between energy efficiency first in the building stock and the acceleration of renewable energy penetration is the real game changer and essential driver of the inevitable transformation of our energy system.

 

Download the letter here

EU-ASE at Climate Week NYC 2020: A Solution Set for Complex Challenges

On 23 September EU-ASE president Monica Frassoni participated in this Climate Week NYC webinar, hosted by the EE Global Alliance and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy.

During the event, leaders from the private, public, and non-profit sectors explored how clean energy and energy efficiency technologies and expertise can help meet the trio of challenges posed by COVID-19, economic recovery and climate change. Strategic deployment of this “solution set” will deliver significant gains in emissions reductions, improved community resilience, human health and safety, and the creation of new jobs and a more sustainable economy.

Attendees heard key takeaways from the special Economic Recovery edition of the EE Magazine, published by AOB Group and the EE Global Alliance, launched the same day of the event.

  • During the first session, the authors, including Monica Frassoni, discussed the key takeaways from their articles, focusing on energy efficiency’s role in economic recovery across the globe.
  • During the second session, clean energy executives discussed how to tackle these challenges vis-à-vis the deployment of clean energy solutions, smart public policy and project design, and strategic deployment of procurement, finance, and technologies.

View a recording of the launch webinar here.

Click here to read the EU-ASE article in the EE Magazine Special Edition on EE and Economic Recovery.

EU-ASE featured in Energy Efficiency Magazine 2020 – EE and Economic Recovery

Energy Efficiency in Recovery Plans gives Europe an ace up its sleeves for both today’s and tomorrow’s challenges

by Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE)

Crucial for climate mitigation, energy efficiency should be a key focus area in Member States’ stimulus programmes. This would greatly benefit the bloc’s economy, while setting the EU on the path to becoming a leading player in global markets.

European Union governments are in the process of designing massive stimulus packages to sustain socio-economic recovery following the devastating impact of COVID-19. The plan is to develop spending programmes large enough to bring the economy back on track, while at the same time ensuring that investments are aligned with Europe’s sustainable economic growth strategy as outlined by the European Green Deal.

Against this backdrop, it is useful to look back at the last time when major public stimulus plans were implemented: the global financial crisis of late 2008. As IEA’s Fatih Birol has rightly recalled, the extra spending on clean energy following the 2008 crisis contributed positively to economic recovery. Recovery was also made possible through energy efficiency programs which supported a construction sector hard-hit by the crisis. However, that recovery was energy and carbon intensive: global CO2 emissions declined by 400 million tonnes in 2009, but they rebounded by 1.7 billion tonnes in 2010 in the sharpest upswing in history. This cannot be repeated in a decade which is crucial to mitigating the effects of climate change and preventing the irreversible effect of dramatic temperature rise. This is even more true for Europe, since the bloc has pledged to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. The EU needs to learn from what happened with the last crisis and show the world how to pursue recovery while cutting energy consumption and related emissions.

Here are a few reasons why energy efficiency policies should be among the key areas of national and European stimulus programmes.

First, energy efficiency is paramount for climate mitigation: through existing technologies, it is possible to reduce energy consumption, increase the efficiency of the entire energy system and accelerate the integration of renewables. According to the IEA, 76% of the European greenhouse gas emission reductions required to keep temperature increases below 1.5°C must come from energy efficiency.

Secondly, from an industrial point of view, energy efficiency has great added value as its value chain is deeply European. In fact, Europe hosts some of the most innovative and successful energy efficiency companies in the world. The members of the European Alliance to Save Energy are global “champions” that export technologies and drive innovation. Hundreds of other players, especially small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), also operate in this field locally across the continent.

Investing in energy efficiency also means investing in European innovation, especially when it comes to the construction sector. According to data from the European Patent Office, green construction-related patent filings have tripled in a little over a decade. These include technologies for energy-efficient insulation, “green” lighting, and incorporating renewable energies in buildings.

If Europe develops a technological leadership in energy efficiency, it will have a strong competitive advantage helping with access to global markets. Indeed, innovations developed in Europe and investments in more efficient and ecologically friendly buildings will pay back quickly with dividends and millions of well-paying, local jobs.

This explains why energy efficiency is a ‘must have’ in government stimulus programmes. EU Heads of State and Government have agreed to provide the Union with the necessary means to address the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and decided to mobilize 750 billion EUR to be committed by end of 2023. Member States should seize this opportunity and invest without hesitation in efficiency projects at national and local levels.

While the 30% climate target for the expenditure of these resources is a step in the right direction, EU governments should agree on clearer rules and stringent green conditionalities for qualitative use of recovery funds. Additionally, resources should be earmarked for investments in sectors with high potential, like construction.

It is time for Member States to fully implement the energy efficiency first principle to avoid new costly energy infrastructure that would jeopardise EU efforts to reach climate neutrality by 2050. Finally, Members should modernize their economies to increase resilience and tackle climate change impacts without delay

This would bring great economic and social benefits in the short term and contribute to protecting the environment in the long term.

 

About the magazine

The EE Magazine promotes energy efficiency by compiling short articles from renowned international energy experts, showcasing the latest innovations and achievements in this sector.

This year special edition, which focuses on the role of energy efficiency in COVID-19 economic stimulus programs, as well as the climate benefits of efficiency, was launched by the EE Global Alliance (EEGA) during a Climate Week NYC webinar organised by the Alliance to Save Energy and the Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Access the full EE Magazine Special Edition on EE and Economic Recovery

View a recording of the launch webinar here.

Response to the Roadmap on the revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive

The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) welcomes the opportunity to provide feedback to the European Commission’s publication of an inception impact assessment on the revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED). The Alliance brings together businesses, think thanks and Members of the European Parliament to ensure that the voice of energy efficiency is heard across the business and political community.

The EU-ASE welcomes the strong narrative on energy efficiency in the roadmap as well as its proposal to revise the current EED. The Directive has played a significant role in bringing energy efficiency up in the political agenda, stimulated increased national efforts, and resulted in some energy efficiency improvements. However, it did not lead to the creation of the much needed binding and long term legal framework to mobilize the investments required to tap the savings potentials across sectors and deliver the multiple benefits of energy efficiency to citizens, businesses and the environment. This shortcoming also stems from the imperfect implementation of the Directive. As a consequence, in many countries, the energy savings delivered fell short of the minimum required and are insufficient to achieve the national targets. We note that the Commission is rightly stepping up enforcement and we fully support strengthening the legal requirements for more effective implementation.

The current review should ramp up the ambition in light of the EU’s new climate objectives. The EED targets must be aligned with the European Green Deal and its goal to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest, as well as intermediary targets. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), 76% of the European greenhouse gas emission reductions required to keep temperature increases below 1.5°C must come from energy efficiency. Therefore, the overall energy consumption reduction is the foundation for achieving climate targets while ensuring a deep economic transformation that is supporting a circular, resilient and equitable post-COVID recovery.

For policy-makers, investing in energy efficiency means investing in a fast, smart and sustainable recovery which is ‘made in Europe’. The International Patent Classification green patents inventory of the World Intellectual Property Organization shows that among the countries with a higher concentration of filings for patents in energy conservation technologies, there are the EU Member States such as Germany, France, and the Netherlands. Investing in energy efficiency means supporting the growth, competitiveness and long term sustainability of European manufacturers, solution providers and local value chains. The EED review is paramount in that respect and should be carried out in such a way to support job creation, sustainable growth and climate change mitigation and adaptation in one of the most innovative and strategic sectors of the European Union.

Based on this, EU-ASE would like to highlight the following recommendations to support the Commission in its ongoing work on the EED revision.

Download the full response