Gas package: energy system efficiency, rather than a fuel switch

In December 2021, the European Commission issued two proposals, the Gas Directive 2009/73/EC and the Gas Regulation (EC) No 715/2009, laying down the foundation for a European low-carbon gas industry, the so-called “Gas Package”. The Commission’s approach should depart from this old paradigm and uphold the commitment to the Energy Efficiency First Principle (EE1st) to avoid possible stranded assets.

Although urgent action is needed, the proposal focuses exclusively on source diversification. It misses the opportunity to implement the Energy Efficiency First (EE1) principle at the system level and fails to consider the broad socio-economic benefits of energy efficiency and system efficiency.

In current times energy efficiency should be more of a priority than ever, which is being increasingly reflected in the EU’s response to rid Europe of Russian gas imports. The old paradigm needs to be updated accordingly.

The paper highlights gaps and suggests improvements pertaining the following axes:

1. Need for speed
2. Hydrogen for harder-to-abate sectors
3. Benefits of energy efficiency
4. Gas Package and Fit for 55
5. Infrastructure and governance: prioritize climate
6. Conclusion: go beyond 1-1 fuel switch and think energy efficient

Read the full paper here

 

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Short to mid-term measures in energy efficiency to reduce gas consumption in Europe

The European Union is set to reduce fossil gas imports from Russia by 2/3 by the end of 2022 and to become independent from all Russian fossil fuels well before 2030. This paper summarises the outstanding contributions that energy efficiency can play in the short to mid-term to greatly reduce Europe’s reliance on fossil fuels.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has exacerbated the energy price crisis which is negatively affecting European citizens and businesses, threatening Europe’s energy security. The over-reliance on fossil fuels and the most recent IPCC report issued in April 2022 are a wakeup call that energy efficiency has never been more necessary.  There is tremendous potential for reducing energy demand and optimise consumption across sectors, including buildings, industry, water utilities and transport. What matters most is that these energy savings can be realised with existing technologies and solutions made in Europe. 

This paper is a non-exhaustive catalogue of short and mid-term actions to invite policymakers at EU, national and local level to apply the Energy Efficiency First principle and prioritise active and passive energy saving measures that can deliver simultaneously short-term benefits to alleviate the energy price crisis and longer term, systemic changes to tackle the devastating impact of climate change.

Read the full catalogue of measures here

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Unleash the potential of the water-energy nexus in the energy efficiency directive

The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) and Water Europe (WE), call on the European Parliament and the Member States to unleash the potential of the Water-Energy nexus in the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED).  

The nexus holds the potential to generate large-scale energy and water savings across sectors and reduce Green House Gases (GHG) emissions. Saving water saves energy and saving energy saves water.  

Our joint declaration supports policy makers with 11 recommendations on how to exploit these synergies and achieve greater water, resource and energy efficiencies 

  1. Secure that the energy efficiency first (EE1) principle applies across sectors and all water cycles and that the quality of water used is fit for purpose.  
  2. Create an enabling framework that ensure the delivery of all the benefits deriving from water efficiency.  
  3. Promote water reuse to generate energy savings in water management.  
  4. Facilitate interoperability and easy integration to the energy grid of energy generated by wastewater treatment plants.  
  5. Introduce a mandatory system of assessment for both energy and water usage in industry, water supply systems, wastewater network and treatment plants.  
  6. Provide meaningful incentives to ensure that water suppliers reduce water leakage levels, particularly for large and very large water suppliers.  
  7. Mandate the introduction of green infrastructure and adapt grey infrastructures in cities to reduce the amount of storm water being directly released into wastewater treatment plants.  
  8. Provide incentives to the use of digital technologies and real-time data analytics across water cycles.  
  9. Foster transparency and free-flow of data across EU on water quality and availability, water leakages, system capacity and energy use for water and waste water infrastructure and performance.  
  10. Develop communication standards for data sharing across the water cycle and between national and regional entities.  
  11. Introduce requirements and incentives in the EED for the ICT sector to monitor their energy and water consumption. 

Read the full declaration and recommendations here

 

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Making the Energy Efficiency Directive fit for 55%

Following the adoption of the Climate Law and in view of its higher climate ambition for 2030 and 2050, the European Commission proposed to revise the Energy Efficiency Directive. Energy efficiency must become the bedrock of a decarbonised energy system.

Amending the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) is the starting point for the Union to deliver on the necessary reduction of energy demand, to define and operationalise the Energy Efficiency First principle and to set the right policy mechanisms that would address the overall efficiency of the energy supply chain. These are the necessary conditions to achieve a highly efficient and renewable-based energy system in view of the full decarbonisation of our economy.

This paper contains the recommendations of the European Alliance to Save Energy to help making the EED fit for 55% and set the longer track to achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

The recommendations touch upon:

  • Energy efficiency targets for increased ambition
  • Public sector leading by example
  • Expanding the scope to all public and private non-residential buildings
  • Public procurement
  • Align the Energy Savings Obligation with 2030 and 2050 ambition
  • Energy audits and management systems
  • Energy efficiency in Heating and Cooling
  • Demand response and efficiency in transformation and distribution networks
  • Availability of qualification, accreditation and certification schemes
  • Information and training
  • Energy services market
  • Energy efficiency national funds and other support mechanisms
  • Primary Energy Factor

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Cohesion Policy: Inputs to deliver energy savings and long-term resilience

Energy efficiency gains are essential to reach the European Union increased emission reduction target by 2030 and climate neutrality by 2050. The EU cohesion policy programming for 2021-2027 can greatly contribute to promoting the uptake of energy efficient measures, making sure that no region or city is left behind in the transition to a clean and sustainable economy.

The current decade will be crucial for the European Union and its Member States to deliver on the EU higher energy and climate targets by 2030 and reach climate neutrality by 2050.

The EU Cohesion Policy programming for the period 2021-2027 can greatly contribute to these efforts and make sure that no European region and city is left behind in the transition to a clean and sustainable economy.

From an energy and climate point of view, it is key that Cohesion funding resources are allocated wisely and timely with the goal to boost sustainable economic growth, while delivering energy savings across sectors and the full decarbonisation of our society.
 

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