Considerations on the draft Recovery and Resilience Plans of Italy and Spain

The National Recovery and Resilience Plans (NRRPs) are a unique opportunity to boost the economy, safeguard and/or create good jobs and win the fight against climate change in the short and long term.

According to the available drafts, both Italy and Spain, two of the biggest beneficiaries of the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility, seem to be providing some positive signals for investors, consumers and other stakeholders by allocating significant financial means to boost energy efficient building renovations. 

Still, we believe there is room for improvements with regards to the coherence of the plans with the National Energy and Climate Plans and the higher EU climate ambition for 2030. This paper contains the recommendations of the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) on how to strengthen the energy efficiency component in both plans, as a driver for green recovery and resilience.

 

Considerations on Italy’s and Spain’s RRPs (English version)
Considerations on Italy’s RRP (Italian version)
Considerations on Spain’s RRP (Spanish version)

 

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Decarbonising the building and heating sectors: considerations on carbon pricing

Energy efficiency should be the starting point for all decarbonisation efforts. Carbon pricing can play a role in this, as it can provide incentives for the fuel switch and to some extent for energy efficiency investments. Yet, it should not replace impactful regulatory measures in the building sector driving the energy savings necessary to meet climate neutrality.

 

We believe carbon pricing in the building sector can only work effectively and efficiently if:

  • Its modalities are thoroughly assessed to gauge its potential benefits for the building sector
  • It is part of a well-designed broader policy mix
  • It includes a resilient mechanism for reinvesting its revenues to prevent and reduce energy poverty

 

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More about our webinar on carbon pricing and buildings

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Water-energy nexus and energy saving obligations: industry success stories

This paper showcases concrete examples of water and energy saving projects across sectors and European countries. These feature some of the most advanced environmental technologies currently available on the market, allowing to deliver environmental, economic and social benefits.

Water and energy are deeply entwined. The water-energy nexus refers to the relationship between how much energy is needed for abstracting, moving, heating, cooling, storing, treating and disposing water and how much water is used for generation and transmission of energy.

This nexus is expected to intensify in the coming years. So far, Member States have notified a limited set of water-related measures in the framework of Article 7 of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED). The most frequently notified measure is the production of hot water by solar collectors or more efficient gas water heaters. However, these measures rather relate to heat generation than water production, distribution, use, and wastewater treatment.

Raising awareness about the energy-water nexus can help:

  • Member States prioritise efficient use of both water and energy;
  • the business community to bring to market technologies and solutions designed to deliver water and energy savings across industries, municipalities and buildings; and
  • the EU to deliver the energy savings and emission reductions necessary to achieve the ambitious goal of climate neutrality by 2050.

 

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Inputs for economic recovery, resilience and long-term sustainability

This short paper outlines the inputs of the European Alliance to Save Energy to achieve a green economic recovery, resilience and long-term sustainability in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

These include spending criteria and quota that should be applied in both the Recovery and Resilience Facility Regulation (RRF), currently being negotiated by the European Parliament and Council, as in the National Recovery and Resilience Plans (NRRPs).

The paper calls for prioritising investments in areas such as energy efficiency rather than lock-in resources in fossil fuel infrastructures that undermine the achievement of the Union’s climate and environmental objectives.

A key area of intervention to boost energy efficiency and cut CO2 emissions is represented by buildings. In the NRRPs, Member States should priorities cost-effective renovation programmes that foster the quality, rate, and depth of comprehensive renovations.

Technical assistance is also essential to remove the hurdles for local authorities, SMEs and corporate investments to implement energy efficiency projects and renovate the building stock.

 

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Decarbonising Europe’s buildings with available solutions, no hydrogen

Meeting the EU’s goal of achieving a climate neutral economy by 2050 will require a steep reduction in gas demand, and such reduction will need to start before 2030. This means the EU should focus on immediately available and cost-effective solutions, starting from energy efficiency and renewables, especially for buildings.

While green hydrogen can play a role in decarbonising the EU economy, its pathway comes with many uncertainties linked to the costs of its production, its inefficiency and effective application and should therefore be limited to hard-to-abate sectors only.

As for the heat policy for decarbonisation of buildings, the paper calls for the acceleration of energy efficiency options that can immediately deliver real carbon savings, while accommodating a growing share of renewable energy.

 

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