EU-ASE response to European Commission consultation on climate law

According to the Commission LTS, the EU must halve its energy consumption by 2050. Energy efficiency therefore must play a central role in achieving net-zero GHG emissions by 2050.

Considering that the world economy will triple by 2050 and that global population will increase by nearly 2.3 billion by 2050, energy efficiency is the most cost-effective way to decouple economic growth from emissions.

Significant reductions in overall energy demand will come from energy use in buildings. Residential and commercial buildings currently account for 40 % of EU energy consumption – with 75 % of these buildings being built before energy performance standards existed – 36% of emissions and 50% of the total mineral resources extracted from the planet. Most of the housing stock of 2050 already exists and will need to be renovated. Our building stock needs to become net zero carbon, which involves ramping up the rate and depth of renovation and ensuring efficient and decarbonised energy supply in the building sector. The “Renovation Wave” needs to build from the implementation of the Long Term Renovation Strategies, but also explore new drivers and triggers, including regulation, in order to scale up what has worked well in some countries.

 

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EU-ASE contributes to Coalition’s Energy Efficiency package for the European Green Deal

The EU and its Member States have committed to achieving a significant reduction of their overall energy demand by agreeing on 20% and 32.5% energy efficiency targets for 2020 and 2030 respectively. Those targets set by the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) are minimum targets for which the Member States have to pledge indicative national contributions. In order to secure the achievement of these targets, the EU provides binding measures, including:

  • the energy savings obligation (EED Article 7), requiring each Member State to put in place policies and measures to deliver a minimum amount of new and additional energy savings per year until 2050;
  • Ecodesign, Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) and CO2 emission standards for vehicles to ensure that CO2 emissions are reduced, and energy performance is significantly improved.

Although the current policy architecture (EU headline target, indicative national contributions and binding measures) has led to improvements, it is still not delivering enough. Energy consumption has been growing over the last years, and the European Commission does not expect the 2020 target to be achieved. Furthermore, the national 2030 energy efficiency national contributions put forward by Member States in their draft national energy and climate plans (NECPs) bring the EU only halfway to its 2030 energy savings target compared to the baseline.

In this context, the Coalition for Energy Savings notes that the Commission intends to reinforce the existing policy framework. Not delivering the minimum energy efficiency target is not an option. On the contrary, the 2030 target will need
to be revised to get on a path to net-zero emissions and to tap the cost-effective energy efficiency potential of at least 40%.

The Coalition for Energy Savings calls on the Commission to strongly support full implementation and enforcement of existing legislation and, in parallel, to put in place new measures to increase the ambition.

The Coalition proposes the following Energy Efficiency Package as an enabler to deliver the European Green Deal.

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.

10 priorities for transformative policies under the European Green Deal

The European Green Deal Communication acknowledges that in the effort to reduce GHG emissions and achieve climate neutrality by 2050, energy efficiency must be prioritised. At EUASE, we have set out 10 priorities to make sure that the policies under the EGD fully apply the Energy Efficiency First principle.

On December 11, the European Commission presented an outline of its European Green Deal.  According to the proposed timeline, the increase of the EU 2030 climate target – the flagship initiative of the package – will be presented by summer 2020. This timeline will require Member States to agree on a much higher 2030 target at the European Council in June 2020, which will be key to enable the EU to lead the way towards bold climate ambition internationally.

The EGD Communication acknowledges that in the effort to reduce GHG emissions and achieve climate neutrality by 2050, energy efficiency must be prioritised, however the Communication lacks a specific reference to the Energy Efficiency First principle and the commitment to increase the 2030 energy efficiency target.

Here are our 10 priorities to make sure that the policies under the European Green Deal fully apply this principle:

  1. Accelerate the implementation of the Clean Energy Package by strengthening
    and facilitating monitoring, evaluation and exchange of good practices
  2. Reopen the Clean Energy Package in order to align it with increased ambition
    by 2030 and climate neutrality by 2050
  3. Apply the energy efficiency first principle to all energy planning and
    investments
  4. Lead by example ensuring that 100% of public (central, regional and local)
    buildings are nearly-zero energy (NZEB) by 2030
  5. Boost the renovation of existing residential and commercial buildings and
    mobilize resources to eradicate energy poverty
  6. Fully exploit water-energy nexus and introduce energy performance
    objectives in all current and future water policies and regulations
  7. Prioritize finance for energy efficiency in all EU funding programmes post
    2020 and improve access to technical assistance
  8. Remove all existing barriers to the full functioning of energy performance
    contracting
  9. Raise awareness about the multiple economic, social and environmental
    benefits of energy efficiency for citizens, cities and businesses
  10. Promote digitalization as a driver of greater efficiency

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