Enhancing EU security & resilience via energy efficiency: 2023 in review

The EU-ASE 2023 Activity Report delves into the advocacy and outreach efforts of the European Alliance to Save Energy, aimed at enhancing energy efficiency in the EU’s energy policies and integrating the water-energy nexus into mainstream considerations.

2023 can be viewed as a continuation of the previous one, marked by escalating geopolitical issues and an energy crisis. Throughout the year, EU-ASE actively implemented its workplan by significantly contributing to energy efficiency debates and participating in ongoing negotiations on legislative dossiers. 

We also organized the second edition of the European Energy Efficiency Day, bringing together high-profile speakers who contributed to discussions on energy efficiency in buildings, industrial ecosystems, and the electricity market. The event also delved into the skills agenda within the sector.

We continued our work on the implementation of a work programme which was structured around the main objectives of:

  • Boosting energy efficiency through EU policy and regulatory framework
  • Unleashing the energy savings potential of water efficiency in EU legislation
  • Smart, digital, and effective communication to achieve advocacy objectives

Read the full report here.  

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Coalition for Higher Ambition Rallies Broad Support for a Science-Based 2040 Climate Target

Today, the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE), as a part of the Coalition for higher Ambition (HAC), co-signed a letter addressed to the Presidents of the three main institutions of the EU and Ministers of the Belgian Presidency. The letter calls for the proposal of a EU 2040 climate target of at least 90% net emission reductions, compared to 1990 levels, aligning with the European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change’s (ESABCC) advice to achieve a net emission reduction of 90% to 95% by 2040.

Current plans from countries to reduce emissions mark an alarming global ambition gap 2 to meet the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement, and all Parties need to step up their efforts, in view of their respective historical responsibility in causing the climate crisis and their capacity to act upon it. The outcome of COP28 signals that the direction of travel is moving away from fossil fuels; it is now up to countries to translate this commitment into national targets and measures aligned with science that deliver on the 1.5°C temperature goal in an equitable manner.

“The diversity, size and collective expertise of the coalition calling for a science-based target is telling,” says Chiara Martinelli, Director, CAN Europe. “High ambition now can bring about a green and just transformation across sectors – resulting in job creation, economic opportunities, improved public health, poverty reduction, social protections, natural resource preservation and energy security, well before 2040”.

Monica Frassoni, President of EU-ASE, states:
‘As the champions of the energy efficiency ecosystem, we fully support the call for a more ambitious EU emission reduction goal. Urging the Commission to keep up its ambition, we echo the advice of the European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change to reduce emissions by 90% by 2040. Let’s infuse every corner of industry with the ‘Energy Efficiency First’ vibe – it’s the EU’s time to make a splash!’

Read the full letter here.

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EU-ASE signs joint statement on the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive

The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) has co-signed a letter urging the EU institutions to adopt an ambitious Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (UWWTD)! The UWWTD, after three decades of dormancy, makes a step towards a collective commitment to a sustainable and resilient future.

We call the policy-makers upon for:

  • Ensuring coherent rules across the EU without exemptions for selected Member States or regions, avoiding further delays for coastal regions;
  • Maintaining 100,000 p.e. as the threshold for intermediary targets for tertiary and quaternary treatment and ensure that quaternary treatment is installed by 2035;
  • Ensuring a timely introduction of integrated urban wastewater management plans that prioritise green and blue infrastructure to climate-proof cities and reduce pollution from urban wastewaters and runoffs;
  • Setting up an obligation to communicate in real time any information on the risk of pollution that could have an impact on aquaculture farmers, drinking water suppliers and other legitimate users;
  • Establish an obligation to make publicly available the Integrated Urban Wastewater Management Plans and the results of the risk assessments;
  • A return to the Commission’s proposal (as amended by the EP and Council) that the wastewater sector produces renewable energy on or offsite, to be consumed on or offsite that cover by 2040 100% of this sector’s energy consumption, to ensure that the EU reaches climateneutrality by 2050;
  • The new Directive must be a signal and a tool to implement the circular economy for water,
    energy and materials throughout EU territories.

In collaboration with 18 organisations, we call for an ambitious agreement on UWWTD during the upcoming trilogue meeting on 29 January!

 

Read the full letter here.

 

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EU-ASE welcomes agreement on EPBD despite its weakened ambition

Today, two years after its initial announcement, co-legislators have reached an agreement on the revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), a key piece of the Fit For 55 Package.  The political agreement on the EPBD is weaker than what is necessary to fully deliver Europe’s energy security and sustainable economic growth in the building sector. If approved and fully implemented via strong governance and a financial support framework it will still represent an important step for EU just transition.

We welcome the developments marking a pivotal step towards upgrading the efficiency of the buildings sector such as the further integration of digitalization within the EPBD. Embracing existing digital tools is essential for assessing and unlocking the full potential of actual energy performance in buildings. The reinforced provisions for technical building systems (TBS), including heating, built-in lighting, and building automation and control systems, are crucial in raising the energy efficiency level of our buildings.

Regrettably, the agreement on the EPBD misses out on setting an ambitious framework, as proposed by the European Commission and further improved by the European Parliament. The original proposal for Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS), one of the main pillar of the EPBD, offered a powerful path to achieve higher energy classes for worst-performing buildings while harmonizing Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) among Member States. MEPS, as it stands in the political agreement reached today, leaves too much flexibility for Member States to achieve respectively 16% and 20-22% primary energy reduction targets of the overall energy consumption of the building stock by 2030 and 2035. This is a first step towards gradually scaling up the efforts for the entire building stock. A careful monitoring and guidance of the implementation of this centrepiece of the EBPD will be required to deliver the desired objectives. 

Another missed opportunity for the Union`s decarbonization efforts is delaying the phase out of fossil fuels in heating and cooling in buildings. The European Parliament`s step forward to end the use of fossil fuels in heating and cooling in buildings by 2035 was watered down and pushed back to 2040. Without a timely phase-out of fossil fuel boilers in buildings, the EU cannot achieve its 2050 goals. Member States and the EU are currently negotiating intensely to ensure that at COP28 there is a precise commitment to phase out fossil fuels. They need to be consistent with this commitment in EU legislation.

Despite the complexity to converge towards a more ambitious agreement, if correctly and swiftly implemented, the EPBD is capable of improving living conditions, reducing buildings` energy needs, saving billions of euros in energy costs enhancing the EU’s energy security, and boosting sustainable economic growth in the EU.

Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energy, commenting on the political agreement, said: Even if the directive includes several positive provisions to improve the energy performance of the highly inefficient European building stock and the ultimate goal remains the full decarbonisation of EU buildings by 2050, we regret that minimum energy performance standards have been seriously weakened. The large flexibility and derogations conceded to governments could have been coupled with higher ambition, especially for residential buildings. If the building sector is not fully decarbonized in accordance with a clear plan and sufficient resources by 2050 it would be deleterious for citizens – especially those struggling with energy poverty – and for businesses for which the modernization of the building stock is a unique opportunity for new sustainable economic activities and job creation”.

The political agreement will need to be formalized in the next months. We count on co-legislators’ responsibility for this important final step. After, we must roll up our sleeves, walk the talk and turn our attention to deliver the full EPBD potential through robust institutional governance and private public-partnerships aimed to boost skills development, technological advances and work out innovative financing schemes. The EPBD can instigate renovations across Europe, all stakeholders will have to work together to push up the bar and increase the depth and rate of these renovations, make them cost-effective and valuable for citizens, businesses and the environment” said Quentin Galland, Chair of the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE).

Read the full press release here.

Media contact:
Luigi Petito 
Head of Secretariat 
info@euase.eu 

About us
The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) is a cross-sectoral, business-led organisation that ensures that the voice of energy efficiency is heard across Europe. 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.

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Business leaders call upon the Government of Spain to champion the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD)

We, as members of the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) and of the Spanish Green Growth Group, appeal to the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU to focus and give priority to the adoption of an ambitious Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) before the conclusion of its mandate at the end of 2023.

Reaching a timely agreement is vital to prevent further politicisation of the file, provide predictability for businesses and local construction sectors, and avoid delays as we strive to save energy, achieve energy independence and accelerate Europe’s efforts to combat climate change. The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive is a crucial component of the EU’s Fit For 55 package and any delay or resistance to its adoption will substantially impact the EU’s progress toward a zero-emission, climate-resilient future.

Read the full letter here.

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