The water-energy nexus: an untapped resource for major energy savings

Water requires energy. When we move it, clean it, heat it and cool it—energy moves with it. These two precious resources come together seamlessly in our daily lives, but they can also jointly create significant energy savings. Unleashing the potential of the water-energy nexus will drive substantial energy savings to repower the EU while drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions, says Hayati Yarkadas at Xylem Europe on Foresight Climate & Energy ahead of the first edition of the European Energy Efficiency Day. 

The water-energy nexus refers to the link between energy use in water management and water use in energy production. Water and wastewater infrastructure account for 3.7% of the global electricity consumption. The good news is that any efficiency gains in one benefits the other.

And by using high-efficiency technologies, we can cut half of that energy consumption at zero or negative cost. This would be equivalent to removing 9.2 million fossil-fuelled cars per year and it would free up $40 billion to invest in other types of water infrastructure.

The nexus also holds the potential to generate large-scale energy and water savings across sectors and drastically reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions—an important element to address the impending climate change crisis.

We must move to an energy-neutral wastewater sector to achieve climate neutrality in Europe.

 

Read the full article here

More information on Energy Efficiency Day here & Register here.

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Adding energy efficiency into the energy mix is essential to delivering Europe’s climate goals

Simply rolling out renewables will not be enough to end Europe’s dependency on gas. Energy efficiency is just as important, writes Katarzyna Wardal on Foresight Climate & Energy ahead of the first edition of the European Energy Efficiency Day.

Energy efficiency should be considered as important as other power generation fuel types Despite it not often making the headlines, energy stakeholders and lawmakers know that energy efficiency can drastically reduce the carbon footprint of Europe’s building stock, which currently accounts for about 40% of the EU’s energy consumption and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions.

But what about energy efficiency as a form of fuel? That may sound like an absurd suggestion. Yet this is exactly the type of idea we need if Europe is to have even a remote chance of achieving any of its ambitious energy and climate goals, whether it is gaining energy independence, reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 55% by 2030 or becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

At least 75% of the EU building stock is energy inefficient. Among other factors, these buildings lack the proper insulation needed to keep heat in (or, in the summer, out). Therefore, they need higher flow temperatures to deliver the same level of indoor comfort. Needless to say, getting that higher temperature requires more energy.

This highlights the correlation between energy efficiency and energy use. With heating and cooling responsible for an estimated 35% of a building’s total energy consumption, increasing a building’s energy efficiency can go a long way in reducing fuel use. In other words, the more efficient the building, the more energy saved. As these savings means less energy needs to be produced, energy efficiency should not only be included in the energy mix but given equal footing to other fuel types.

Read the full article here.

More information on Energy Efficiency Day here & Register here.

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To get rid of Russian fossil fuels, the EU needs to put energy savings first

The REPowerEU plan must come with credible, actionable measures that governments, citizens and industry can implement by following the Green Deal agenda and notably energy savings measures. To support this, the EU can count on clean, made-in-Europe technologies that are at the heart of the energy transition, write Monica Frassoni and Harry Verhaar in Euractiv.

The aggression against Ukraine by Putin is not only a tragic reminder that peace is never an evidence but also another powerful reminder of the urgency of getting rid of our dependence on fossil fuels and accelerating the full implementation of an ambitious Green Deal. Over the past decades, the EU hesitated to address its reliance on fossil fuels import, a well-known threat to the block’s energy security.

In 2021 the EU imported more than 40% of its fossil gas consumption from Russia, about 155 billion cubic meters. A considerable amount of this gas is needed to heat Europe’s old and inefficient buildings. Fossil gas accounts for more than 32% of the EU’s final energy consumption in households. If we also consider the indirect use of gas for electricity production, we have the extent of Europe’s gas reliance problem and the risks of its dependency on energy imports.

We welcomed the immediate reaction of the Commission in March with the REPowerEU communication, despite its excessive focus on diversification of gas supply. We are confident that the action plan published on 18 May will be much more coherent with the need to reduce our dependence on Russian gas and fossil fuels altogether through an acceleration of energy efficiency measures and renewables deployment.

The REPowerEU plan must come with credible, actionable measures that governments, citizens and industry can implement by following the Green Deal agenda and notably energy savings measures. To support this, the EU can count on clean, made-in-Europe technologies that are at the heart of the energy transition. A broad range of short and mid-term measures to address the energy and climate crisis is available. We believe that by deploying energy efficiency measures in buildings, industry, transport and the water sector, Europe can deliver massive energy savings and substantially reduce Europe’s fossil fuel imports.

Read the full article in Euractiv 

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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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State Aid: Response to the public consultation on the CEEAG revision

The European Green Deal target to reach climate neutrality by 2050 calls for unprecedented levels of public and private investments accompanied by deep reforms. In this context, well-designed State Aid schemes will be key to unlock investments and make the best use of public funds.

As part of the ongoing revision of the Climate, Energy and Environmental Aid Guidelines (CEEAG) and the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER), the Commission pledged to set simpler, clearer, and easier-to-apply State Aid rules for Buildings renovation programmes, in particular in the residential and social sectors. Additionally, aid to energy efficiency investments was to be simplified and enhanced, as announced in the Sustainable Europe Investment Plan and in the European Green Deal Investment Plan.

The European Alliance to Save Energy is happy to provide its feedback on the revised CEEAG. Energy efficiency is the bedrock of a decarbonised EU energy system: energy efficiency gains are essential to achieve the increased GHG emission target reduction of 55% by 2030 and full decarbonisation by 2050. In its current form, the CEEAG insufficiently supports the uptake of energy efficient measures and exposes the EU to the risk of missing its GHG reduction target for 2030 and 2050.

EU-ASE calls on the European Commission to:

1.  Assess all measures against the Energy Efficiency First principle
2. Level the playing field in aid intensity for energy efficiency measures (CEEAG Annex 1 and Art 38 GBER)
3. Simplify the definition and methodology to determine cost eligibility (para. 125 and Art 38 GBER)
4. Provide clear guidance on current State Aid rules with a practical approach

Download the full response
Read more in our paper: Boosting energy efficiency through the revision of State Aid rules

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