EU summit deal is good news for Europe’s recovery, but clearer rules are needed on climate conditionality

On Tuesday 21 July, after one of the longest summits in the European Union’s history EU Heads of State and Government stroke a deal on the recovery plan and multiannual financial framework (MFF) for 2021-2027.

The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) welcomes this historic result at a time when it is crucial to ensure Europe’s swift socio-economic recovery in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The recovery plan is a unique opportunity to address – in the long term – the devastating impact of climate change on our societies. The overall climate earmarking for both the Next Generation EU and the MFF was increased from 25% to 30%. Expenditures will have to be aligned with the objective to reach climate neutrality by 2050 and contribute to achieving the Union’s new 2030 climate targets, which will be updated by the end of the year. Moreover, the Council agreed that, as a general principle, all EU expenditure should be consistent with the Paris Agreement objectives and the “do no harm” principle.

While welcoming the new instruments and targets, EU-ASE regrets the heavy cuts to the Just Transition Fund and the InvestEU programmes, both very relevant to ensure a smooth transition to a climate neutral society.

Monica Frassoni, president of the European Alliance to Save Energy said: The increase in the climate earmarking, as well as the references to the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals are good signs. Moving forward, we need to further increase the percentage of climate mainstreaming and need clearer rules, including a stringent definition of harmful activities, to ensure that no EU-backed spending is directed to investments at odds with the climate neutrality goal.”

We hope that the European Parliament will call for higher climate ambition. EU-ASE looks forward to working with the Parliament and Member States to make sure that the overall green commitment is reflected in the relevant sectoral legislations and in the national Recovery and Resilience plans.”

The businesses represented in EU-ASE stress that energy efficiency must be prioritised across key sectors (buildings, industry, transport, ICT) and the ‘energy efficiency first’ principle should guide energy investments in view of the proven economic and social benefits of efficiency measures both in the short and longer term.

 

About EU-ASE
The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) was established in December 2010 by some of Europe’s leading multinational companies. The Alliance creates a platform from which companies can ensure that the voice of energy efficiency is heard from across the business and political community. 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
+32 493 37 21 42
matteo.guidi@euase.eu

EU-ASE welcomes strong reference to ‘Efficiency first’ in Energy System Integration Strategy, calls for limited role of green hydrogen in hard-to-decarbonise sectors

Brussels, 8 July 2020 – Today the European Commission presented its proposals for the EU strategies for energy system integration and hydrogen.

The Energy System Integration Strategy sets out a vision on how to accelerate the transition towards a more integrated energy system, supporting full decarbonisation at the least cost across sectors.

The proposal puts first a more “circular” energy system, with energy efficiency at its core. Moreover, the Strategy calls for the application of the energy efficiency first principle consistently across the whole energy system, including through further measures to reflect the life cycle energy use and GHG footprint of the different energy carriers to be able to make an accurate comparison between demand and supply-side solutions. The Commission will issue guidance to Member States to make the efficiency first principle operational across the energy system, by 2021, and promote it in future methodologies and legislative revisions.

The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) welcomes this proposal and is glad that it highlights the importance of mainstreaming energy efficiency first across the energy system.

We are pleased by the Strategy’s strong reference to energy efficiency as a key enabler of the decarbonisation of Europe’s energy system”, said EU-ASE President Monica Frassoni. “We also welcome the suggested actions to better enshrine efficiency first, and the commitment to further promote this principle in the TEN-E revision.” “Regarding hydrogen”, Ms Frassoni added, “we would like to stress that while green hydrogen could play a role in hard-to-decarbonise sectors such as primary industry and heavy-road transport, for buildings, there are more cost-effective and ready-to-use solutions”. “In this light, technologies for direct electrification are already available and their deployment should be accelerated,” Ms Frassoni concluded.

More information on EU-ASE position on Energy System Integration can be found here

About EU-ASE
The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) was established in December 2010 by some of Europe’s leading multinational companies. The Alliance creates a platform from which companies can ensure that the voice of energy efficiency is heard from across the business and political community. 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
+32 493 37 21 42
matteo.guidi@euase.eu

Download the press release here (PDF)

German Council presidency should straighten out its energy priorities and include building renovations

Today the German Government unveiled its EU Council Presidency priorities which lack a clear reference to the building renovation. As businesses and investors having energy efficiency and energy demand reduction at the heart of our activities, we believe that the German government lost a great opportunity to prioritise a sector which, more than any other, can deliver economic growth, local jobs creation and GHG emission reduction.

“We welcome the German government pledge to learn from the current crisis to be better prepared for the future and the focus on climate change and digitisation. At the same time, we strongly encourage the inclusion of the construction sector and in particular the renovation of the European building stock among the Council presidency priorities” – said Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE).

“For every million invested in the renovation of our homes we can create an average of 18 jobs. All the economic stimulus measures across the world address buildings. Finally the European Union is working on a flagship Renovation Wave initiative to trigger investments and accelerate the transformation of European society and economy towards climate neutrality. Therefore, it’s difficult to understand the decision to exclude buildings from the presidency’s priorities.”

“We have a lot of work to do to recover from the Covid-19 crisis and buildings must be at the centre of any rational energy, industrial and environmental strategy. With this in mind, we wish the German Government a successful presidency and look forward to constructive cooperation” – concluded Monica Frassoni.

 

Download the press release here (PDF)

EUASE welcomes climate neutrality and energy efficiency in EU climate law, regrets lack of engagement on 2030 target

Brussels, 4 March 2020 – Today the European Commission unveiled its proposal for a European Climate Law, which enshrines the goal of climate neutrality by 2050 into EU legislation. The text establishes that, when setting a trajectory to reach such a goal, the Commission shall take into consideration “energy efficiency, energy affordability and security of supply” among other elements.

We welcome the fact that the climate law enshrines the climate neutrality objective into EU legislation. We are also glad to see that the Commission will have to consider energy efficiency when setting the EU trajectory towards climate neutrality” – said Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE). “We look forward to continuing to work with EU institutions and Member States to highlight how Energy Efficiency First is an indispensable principle to reduce emissions, integrate RES, and achieve a fast, fair and cost-effective transition to a climate neutral EU,” she added.

We do regret nevertheless that the Commission did not already include an intermediate emissions reduction target of at least 55% by 2030, considering the urgency of the situation and the devastating impact of climate change on our economies and societies,” President Frassoni stated. “We are also disappointed to see that the impact assessment is confirmed for September 2020. We believe that such assessment should be ready by June at the latest to let the EU take the lead in the next global meeting on climate change happening at the COP26 in Glasgow. We call on the EP and Council to improve the current draft during the upcoming legislative process.”

 

Media contact:

Matteo Guidi

+32 493 37 21 42 – matteo.guidi@euase.eu

At EU Green Deal conference Monica Frassoni highlights importance of energy efficiency to decarbonize Europe

Speech by Monica Frassoni at the High-level public conference on implementing the European Green Deal and Climate Law – Brussels, Tuesday 28 January 2020

The production and use of energy across economic sectors account for more than 75% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions. Energy efficiency (EE) must be prioritised. If we all want to go towards electrification, digitalisation and all the necessary elements that a successful and just transition entails, we need to cut radically our energy demand, by half by 2050 in comparison to 2005, says the Commission.

In other words, we need to fully implement EE FIRST in the decision making and planning of EU energy infrastructure including facilities for generation, transmission, distribution and end-use consumption. This should be addressed in the review of TEN-E, PCI list and in the design of the EU decarbonization package.

We are not yet there I am afraid. EE is still the Cinderella of the energy debate.

Considering the little time we have ahead of us to fully decarbonize and decouple growth from energy consumption, it strikes me how much more attractive seem to be to run incredible risks like investing billions in tax-payers money in not yet fully working technologies like trying to “recycle” gas infrastructures or to capture CO2, instead than rushing to make our houses more comfortable and smart or our industries and transport systems less dependent on the moods of foreign leaders.

Technologies are there, numbers are clear. The building sector impacts 20 million jobs and 92% of companies are SMEs. According to the EC Impact Assessment, for every 1% extra energy savings by 2030:  EU gas imports fall by 4%, GHG emissions decrease by 0.7%, Employment increases by 336,000 jobs. How many other sectors have a better business case in terms of job creation?

Let’s face it. If we need to be fully decarbonized by 2050 or earlier, all public efforts must go to energy efficiency and renewables. And no public money should go to activities that go against this landmark objective. Climate law should be very clear to help us avoid doing like Penelope, who undid in the night what she wove in the day.