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

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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.

Contact

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

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.

 

Contact

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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Higher EU emissions cut for 2030 is right signal for a green recovery

On Wednesday 16 September, during her State of the Union speech, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the plan to propose an increased GHG emissions reduction target of at least 55% by 2030 against 1990 levels.

The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) welcomes this decision, which comes at a crucial time for implementing the Paris Agreement and contributes to keeping the EU on the path to become climate neutral by 2050.

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

“We very much welcome the proposal for an updated GHG emissions reduction target of at least 55% by 2030. This is the right signal in favour of a green recovery. We now expect that this move is quickly followed by the decision to adapt and make binding the targets for energy efficiency and review the EED. Energy efficiency needs to be more clearly recognized as a catalyst for the decarbonisation of our energy system.”

Harry Verhaar, Chair of the Board of the European Alliance to Save Energy, said:

“The Commission’s proposal to increase the climate target to 55% for 2030 is excellent news. Such a move is crucial in helping deliver the economic transformation required for building a prosperous, resilient and climate neutral economy and ensure that we are on track to reach Europe’s goal to become carbon-neutral by 2050 at the latest. From a business perspective this decision means: long term certainty to plan investments in growing markets, and an unprecedented boost to green, digital and high-skilled jobs relevant for Europe’s citizens and future.”

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

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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

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