Commission strengthens EU energy efficiency rules, lacks ambition on targets

The European Commission unveiled today its “Fit for 55” package to adapt the EU’s energy and climate legislation to the new goals of reducing emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and reach climate neutrality by 2050. The package includes the key proposal to revise the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED).

The EED proposal contains a number of positive elements. First of all, it enshrines the Energy Efficiency First principle (EE1st) in the Directive, introducing the much-needed obligation to apply the principle in the decision making of energy and non-energy sectors.

Other important elements are the extension of the public owned building renovation obligation to all public bodies, as well as the introduction of a new obligation to cut energy consumption of public bodies by at least 1.7% annually until 2030.

The revised Directive reinforces the annual energy savings obligations target after 2024 by 1.5%, almost doubling the current obligation. It also excludes the accountability of direct fossil fuel combustion technologies and clarifies that a reduction of the energy use through measures under the ETS cannot count towards the fulfilment of the energy savings obligation.

The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) welcomes the Commission’s proposal to level up its ambition on the EU energy efficiency rules. By acknowledging the Energy Efficiency First principle, the Commission recognises its crucial role to drive a fast and fair transition in energy and non-energy sectors. However, we regret that the Commission chose not to propose binding national targets on energy efficiency; furthermore, we are critical of the Commission’s decision to propose an EU wide energy efficiency target that, even if mandatory, is not aligned with the EU decarbonisation pathway. The Commission introduces a 36% target for final energy consumption, which does not catch the cost-effective opportunities stemming of at least 40% energy efficiency target by 2030.

Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energy said:
The latest extreme weather events around the world and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic show that there is no time left for half measures on climate and on economic recovery. The EU Energy Efficiency Directive must be fit for Europe’s decarbonisation goals as well as foster economic activities aiming at increasing efficiency in buildings, industry, and transport. In this sense, we think that the proposed targets should have been more ambitious. We will be working over the next months to demonstrate to the co-legislators that delivering on ambitious energy efficiency targets and fully applying the Energy Efficiency First principle is essential if the EU wants to be credible about reaching climate neutrality in time and avoid the worst effects of climate change. We hope that the European Parliament and the Council will further improve the current proposal”.

Harry Verhaar, Chair of the board of the European Alliance to Save Energy and Head of Public and Government Affairs at Signify said:
“To be able to fully unlock the multiple benefits of energy efficiency across the continent we need an ambitious EU legal framework. We welcome the revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive, which comes at a timely moment for Europe’s green recovery and clean energy transition. In particular, we praise the Commission for strengthening the provisions on the Energy Efficiency First principle. The principle needs to guide policymakers and investors in all energy planning, policy, and investment decisions. Energy efficiency is a powerful driver of sustainable economic growth and it is key to speed up our journey to a decarbonised Europe”.

Bertrand Deprez, Vice-Chair of the board of the European Alliance to Save Energy and Vice-President EU government affairs at Schneider Electric said:
“Energy efficiency is the indisputable driver to reach at least a -55% GHG emissions cut in the next decade. The European Commission proposal goes in the right direction, with very promising measures to accelerate energy efficiency efforts at end-use level, including the extension of renovation obligations to all public buildings. Yet, achieving the EU ambition for 2030 without tackling the renovation of the entire existing stock is ‘Mission: Impossible’: we need to extend it to all non-residential buildings.”

Bonnie Brook, Vice-Chair of the board of the European Alliance to Save Energy and Senior Manager Industry Affairs Building Automation at Siemens said:
“Enhanced criteria for energy audits and energy management systems are very encouraging. They should leverage the opportunities brought by the current advanced level of digitalisation. Smart technologies should be widely deployed to enable monitoring, analysis and evaluation of the energy performance as well as the progress to the carbon-free future”.

Ahead of the publication of the proposal, the European Alliance to Save Energy provided to the European Commission its recommendations on how to make the EED “fit for 55%”. The Alliance looks forward to working together with the European Parliament and the Council during the co-legislation period to ensure that the Directive is ambitious and comprehensible.

According to the International Energy Agency’s Global Net Zero Roadmap for the Energy sector, the path to global net zero emissions implies a global push in energy efficiency gains resulting in the annual rate of energy intensity improvements averaging 4% to 2030 – about three times the average over the last two decades.

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Media contact:
Antoan Montignier
Policy and Advocacy Advisor
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About us
The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) aims to advance the energy efficiency agenda in the European Union. The Alliance allows world’s leading multinational companies to join environmental campaigners and a cross-party group of Members of the European Parliament. EU-ASE business 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.

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10 years and going strong! Celebrating the first decade of EU-ASE

2021 marks the 10th anniversary of the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE).

EU-ASE was established at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP16) held in Cancun, Mexico, in December 2010. Over the last decade, it has grown to become one of the most influential business-led organisations on energy efficiency in Brussels.

Our vision remains unchanged. We strive for a future where energy efficiency is central to the entire EU energy system and is a fundamental driver of decarbonisation, job creation and sustainable growth.

“When the European Alliance to Save Energy was founded, energy efficiency was the Cinderella of EU energy policies. This is no longer the case. Energy efficiency and the energy efficiency first principle have gained the attention they deserve and are a pillar of the European Green Deal. I believe our efforts – coordinated with our partners in Brussels, Europe and globally have been crucial to make this happen. However, the road ahead is still long, as the energy efficiency potential in buildings, transport, and industry is still largely untapped. In the next decade, we need to make energy efficiency measures a game changer in the EU energy system and a major priority in Member States to achieve climate neutrality by 2050,” said Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energy.

“In a rather short time the European Alliance to Save Energy has become a major player in the EU sphere and a reference for the institutional and businesses community. Our voice is heard and appreciated by policy and decision makers. The Alliance’s 10th anniversary comes at a decisive moment with energy efficiency set to play a crucial role for economic recovery and the clean energy transition. Several key pieces of legislation will be revised in the course of 2021. We look forward to the second decade of the Alliance which interestingly coincides with that of global climate action,” stated Harry Verhaar, Chair of the Board of the European Alliance to Save Energy.

“Ten years have flown by incredibly fast. A decade ago, our aim was to put energy efficiency at the centre stage of the energy transition by bringing together progressive businesses, environmental think-tanks and NGOs to work as an ‘alliance’. Today our model is a success. We look forward to the next decade, with the same motivation and increased ambition, hoping to welcome new members from across sectors and build many more innovative partnerships,” commented Luigi Petito, Head of the Secretariat of the European Alliance to Save Energy.

View our 10 years video testimonials here and follow EU-ASE social media channels (Twitter and LinkedIn) and #EUASE10 to stay updated with our activities to celebrate the 10 years of the Alliance. Here is to many more to come!

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The members of the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) are some of the world’s leading multinational companies, a prominent cross-party group of European politicians and environmental campaigners. EU-ASE provides a platform from which business leaders can advance the cause of energy efficiency, promote good business practices, and share innovative ideas.

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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.

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Renovation Wave focuses on energy efficiency, minimum standards and finance

The European Commission unveiled today its much-anticipated Renovation Wave initiative. The strategy outlines the steps needed to renovate more than 220 million existing buildings by 2050.

It also calls for the EU to at least double the current annual rate of buildings energy efficiency renovation by 2030 and to foster deep energy renovations. This would equal to renovating up to 35 million buildings over the next 10 years.

The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) welcomes the initiative, which comes at a crucial moment for Europe’s short-term economic recovery and long-term path towards climate neutrality.

The Renovation Wave rightly underlines the importance of energy efficiency first principle as a horizontal guiding principle of European climate and energy governance and beyond, to make sure we only produce the energy we really need. The Commission announced the publication of the guidance on the energy efficiency first principle in early 2021.

A key element of the initiative is the proposal of a phased introduction of mandatory minimum energy performance standards for existing buildings, as part of next year’s revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD).

EU-ASE highly welcomes the accompanying document on EU funding of the Renovation Wave and the commitment by the Commission to ensuring that buildings are included as a top priority when assessing national recovery and resilience plans.

Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energy said:

“We welcome the Renovation Wave as a key strategy to increase the energy efficiency of buildings by reducing their energy consumption and by fostering the greater quality, rate, and depth of comprehensive renovations. If this strategy is rightly implemented, the benefits will be tremendous. These will include improved comfort, cleaner indoor and outdoor air quality, reduced energy bills, local qualified jobs, and millions of citizens lifted out of energy poverty”.

Harry Verhaar, Chair of the board of the European Alliance to Save Energy and Head of global public & government affairs at Signify said:

“We welcome the Renovation Wave as the best kick-start of economic recovery in Europe. In particular, the decision to extend Article 5 of the Energy Efficiency Directive to all public buildings, including private schools and hospitals, is excellent news. Increasing the renovation rate of our buildings is the biggest job machine at our disposal, and these are good local jobs that replace expensive energy imports. Now let’s use the Renovation Wave as a lighthouse on our way to climate neutrality”.

Bonnie Brook, Vice-Chair of the board of the European Alliance to Save Energy and Senior Manager Industry Affairs – Building Automation at Siemens Switzerland said:

“A Renovation Wave is essential as for the EU it will be impossible to become carbon neutral without massively renovating its old and inefficient building stock. Renovation, decarbonisation, and digitalisation should go hand in hand to achieve Europe’s ambitious climate targets. For these reasons, we welcome this initiative, hoping that it will be followed by the
necessary legislation to make sure that smart infrastructure and innovative business models will enable and accelerate the energy transition for all Europeans.”

Bertrand Deprez, Vice-Chair of the board of the European Alliance to Save Energy and Vice-President EU government affairs at Schneider Electric said:

“Making our buildings energy efficient is key to reconcile Europe’s climate objectives with rapid economic recovery across Europe. The added value of this initiative is that it can be a strong driver for both. To ensure that the Renovation Wave objectives are met, the EU and its Member States need to scale-up the renovation rate by combining the principle of efficiency first with the deployment of distributed energy resources and the rise of digital technologies.”

With regards to the next steps, the Commission has outlined a list of related upcoming actions and their indicative timelines.

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Matteo Guidi, Communication Officer
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The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE), established in 2010 by some of Europe’s leading multinational companies, creates a platform from which companies can ensure that the voice of energy efficiency is heard 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.

 

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European Parliament push for 60% climate target is good news also for businesses

The European Parliament voted to increase the EU emissions reduction target by 2030 to at least 60% as part of the EU Climate Law.

By doing so, the Parliament adopted a position that is more ambitious than the Commission’s 55% reduction proposal.

This is good news for the EU’s climate ambition and international leadership in a decade which will be crucial in the fight against climate change.

It is also good news for businesses. Indeed, a higher EU climate ambition provides investors and businesses with a clear direction and more certainty to plan their investments and strategic choices, that have to be directed towards the goal of climate neutrality by 2050.

Monica Frassoni, president of the European Alliance to Save Energy commented:

This is a major step in the right direction to achieve the EU carbon neutrality goal and a green economic recovery. MEPs showed to EU leaders the level of ambition that is needed. The path to meet this target is clear: focusing on energy efficiency and renewables is the best way to go for the Union and its Member States. This should be reflected in all upcoming investments and funds, starting from the MFF and national Recovery and Resilience Plans.

EU leaders will start discussing the EU 2030 climate target next week at a European Council. An EU-wide agreement on the new target is expected at the December European Council.

 

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Matteo Guidi, Communication Officer
matteo.guidi@euase.eu
+32493372142

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.

 

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