A smart, energy efficient and fair Renovation Wave for a faster economic recovery

In an open letter sent to the European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson, the group of progressive businesses and NGOs which constitute the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) called on the Commission to present an ambitious Renovation Wave initiative based on the energy efficiency first principle and funded by sufficient and dedicated resources.

In the broader energy system integration context, the letter states, the energy efficiency first principle must guide all building renovations’ decision-making processes. This implies the recognition of buildings as strategic and priority infrastructure for Europe.

With regards to resources, it is crucial to secure dedicated financial envelopes for building renovations within the National Recovery and Resilience Plans, InvestEU and the post 2020 Cohesion funds. Funds should be clearly earmarked and conditioned to increase the rate, depth and quality of integrated building renovations, the signatories write. The granting of financial support should follow the ratio “unit of energy saved (or CO2 saved) per invested Euro”, to ensure cost-effectiveness measurements of investments supported by EU funds.

Moreover, an ambitious Renovation Wave should focus on immediate, efficient heat decarbonisation. This is a great opportunity to accelerate the decarbonisation of heat in Europe’s buildings by combining energy efficiency, digitalisation and direct electrification with the deployment of smart, efficient, responsive electric heating and district level heating solutions. These can secure immediate carbon savings in buildings through existing and cost-effective solutions, enabling the use of waste heat and by the same token allow to prioritise limited green hydrogen capacity for deployment in harder-to-abate sectors, such as industry and freight.

From an environmental perspective, evidence shows that the Renovation Wave is a conditio sine qua non to reach the increased GHG emissions target for 2030 and climate-neutrality by 2050. Smarter and energy efficient buildings not only contribute directly to the reduction of energy demand and GHG emissions, but they are a prerequisite for a faster and deeper integration of renewables. 

The synergy between energy efficiency first in the building stock and the acceleration of renewable energy penetration is the real game changer and essential driver of the inevitable transformation of our energy system.

 

Download the letter here

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Recommendations of the Global Commission for Urgent Action on Energy Efficiency

Convened by the Executive Director of the IEA in response to the global slowdown of energy efficiency progress, the Global Commission for Urgent Action on Energy Efficiency was established in June 2019 at the IEA’s Fourth Annual Global Conference on Energy Efficiency in Dublin, Ireland. The Commission has 23 members and is composed of national leaders, current and former ministers, top business executives and global thought leaders.

With analytical support from the IEA, Global Commission members have examined how progress on energy efficiency can be rapidly accelerated through new and stronger policy action by governments across the globe. It has developed this series of actionable recommendations to support governments in achieving more ambitious action on energy efficiency.

The Global Commission’s work comes at a critical moment in clean energy transitions around the world. Despite energy efficiency’s tremendous potential, the world is struggling to capture its full benefits. Global energy efficiency is not improving quickly enough to offset strong energy demand and CO2 emissions growth. In light of these worrying trends, there is a growing recognition by governments and leaders across the globe that efficiency efforts need to be stepped up.

In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic has transformed the energy landscape and the priorities of governments around the world. The Global Commission’s work has been sharply focused on this new reality. Energy efficiency represents a key tool that governments can use to respond to the severe economic, environmental, and social development consequences of the crisis.

Read the full article here.
Download the report here.

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Enefirst report – Barriers to implementing E1st in the EU-28

This report is focused on barriers to implementing “Efficiency First” (E1st) in the EU in several policy areas that are linked to energy use in the buildings sector (such as network codes, renewable energy policy, building regulations and others).

The Enefirst consortium has released a report identifying persisting barriers to implementing the decision-making principle of efficiency first in energy system planning and policymaking. The report, authored by BPIE, is based on the results of a survey to 45 experts in energy efficiency in buildings, infrastructure, and planning from across Europe.

The main messages from this survey are that:

  • Political barriers are the category most frequently mentioned by respondents, suggesting that implementing the E1st principle would be first and foremost a political decision.
  • A majority of respondents stressed the lack of expertise, knowledge, awareness or understanding, which suggests that a proactive dissemination of good practices and case studies is important.
  • Implementing E1st can work only if every actor understands what it means for them: making E1st a common practice implies making E1st part of everyone’s work.
  • Multiple benefits of E1st need to be considered and communicated more effectively among stakeholders, in line with one key element of the E1st principle: using a broader scope in cost-benefit analysis.
  • Making E1st a common practice would require a cultural change along the whole chain of actors.
  • Cultural barriers are related to actors’ own habits and practices as well as about breaking silo thinking.
  • Other barriers specific to E1st relate to possible reasons why supply-side options might be given priority, disregarding demand-side options: these aspects are at the core of the E1st principle and complement the analyses done earlier on the background and definitions of E1st (see ENEFIRST 2020a) by emphasising why we need to think beyond existing energy efficiency policies.

Enshrined in EU legislation since 2018, efficiency first is a decision-making principle that gives priority to demand-side resources whenever they are more cost-effective from a societal perspective than investments in energy infrastructure, and should be applied systematically to energy-related investment planning. To date, it has yet to be effectively implemented systematically.

Read the report.
Original article from BPIE.

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EU-ASE welcomes strong reference to ‘Efficiency first’ in Energy System Integration Strategy, calls for limited role of green hydrogen in hard-to-decarbonise sectors

Brussels, 8 July 2020 – Today the European Commission presented its proposals for the EU strategies for energy system integration and hydrogen.

The Energy System Integration Strategy sets out a vision on how to accelerate the transition towards a more integrated energy system, supporting full decarbonisation at the least cost across sectors.

The proposal puts first a more “circular” energy system, with energy efficiency at its core. Moreover, the Strategy calls for the application of the energy efficiency first principle consistently across the whole energy system, including through further measures to reflect the life cycle energy use and GHG footprint of the different energy carriers to be able to make an accurate comparison between demand and supply-side solutions. The Commission will issue guidance to Member States to make the efficiency first principle operational across the energy system, by 2021, and promote it in future methodologies and legislative revisions.

The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) welcomes this proposal and is glad that it highlights the importance of mainstreaming energy efficiency first across the energy system.

We are pleased by the Strategy’s strong reference to energy efficiency as a key enabler of the decarbonisation of Europe’s energy system”, said EU-ASE President Monica Frassoni. “We also welcome the suggested actions to better enshrine efficiency first, and the commitment to further promote this principle in the TEN-E revision.” “Regarding hydrogen”, Ms Frassoni added, “we would like to stress that while green hydrogen could play a role in hard-to-decarbonise sectors such as primary industry and heavy-road transport, for buildings, there are more cost-effective and ready-to-use solutions”. “In this light, technologies for direct electrification are already available and their deployment should be accelerated,” Ms Frassoni concluded.

More information on EU-ASE position on Energy System Integration can be found here

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

Download the press release here (PDF)

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Energy efficiency and the Energy System Integration Strategy

Reducing emissions across all sectors and decarbonizing “hard-to-abate sectors”, which include buildings, industry and transport, will strongly depend on the EU ability to apply the energy efficiency first principle, which should be mainstreamed to all energy policymaking, planning and investments, including into the upcoming EU Strategy on energy sector integration. 

Energy efficiency is the first fuel and should be the starting point for all decarbonization efforts, and this according to the energy efficiency first principle as defined in the Governance for Energy Union Regulation. Together with renewables, it must represent the lion’s share of the measures needed to meet the 2050 target. Energy efficiency and renewable electrification are two key pillars of a 1.5C decarbonization pathway.

To achieve its climate neutrality goal by 2050, the Commission has announced an Energy System Integration Strategy as part of its Green Deal. This new strategy will look at how to facilitate the interlinkages between electricity, heating, building, transport and industry sectors, to better use synergies likely to emerge (including in energy conversion and storage), thereby enabling a more cost-efficient decarbonization of the energy system. This includes looking at how integrating sectors can improve the overall efficiency of the energy system through enabling reuse of excess/waste energy, storage of surplus electricity in thermal networks, buildings and transport as well as to incentivize the clean electrification of sectors, interconnectivity and energy storage.

The recommendations outlined in this paper put forward some key ideas to fully consider the potential for energy efficiency and its role in facilitating the transition towards more integrated energy and other sectors.​

 

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