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)

German Council presidency should straighten out its energy priorities and include building renovations

Today the German Government unveiled its EU Council Presidency priorities which lack a clear reference to the building renovation. As businesses and investors having energy efficiency and energy demand reduction at the heart of our activities, we believe that the German government lost a great opportunity to prioritise a sector which, more than any other, can deliver economic growth, local jobs creation and GHG emission reduction.

“We welcome the German government pledge to learn from the current crisis to be better prepared for the future and the focus on climate change and digitisation. At the same time, we strongly encourage the inclusion of the construction sector and in particular the renovation of the European building stock among the Council presidency priorities” – said Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE).

“For every million invested in the renovation of our homes we can create an average of 18 jobs. All the economic stimulus measures across the world address buildings. Finally the European Union is working on a flagship Renovation Wave initiative to trigger investments and accelerate the transformation of European society and economy towards climate neutrality. Therefore, it’s difficult to understand the decision to exclude buildings from the presidency’s priorities.”

“We have a lot of work to do to recover from the Covid-19 crisis and buildings must be at the centre of any rational energy, industrial and environmental strategy. With this in mind, we wish the German Government a successful presidency and look forward to constructive cooperation” – concluded Monica Frassoni.

 

Download the press release here (PDF)

EU-ASE at IEA’s 5th Annual Global Conference on Energy Efficiency

On 23 June 2020 EU-ASE president Monica Frassoni participated in the online panel debate “Learning from global best practice” as part of the International Energy Agency’s 5th Annual Global Conference on Energy Efficiency. Here is her full speech

I would like to thank the IEA for your excellent work to make the energy efficiency (EE) agenda credible at global level. About 10 years ago it gave a major global push to show the role and the amazing potential of EE in buildings, transport, and industry and this was a major help for all the EE business and social community in the EU. As EU-ASE we have often used this work to make our agenda stronger, as our work focuses mostly on the EU legislation, at a supranational level.

Referring to what Mr Mathur said before – that EE is like a plane and it takes effort for a plane to take off – well in the EU we are still in the middle of the take-off effort. We cannot say that we are tapping the great potential of energy efficiency to contribute to the clean energy transition and to climate neutrality. We will not be able to overcome the Covid-19 shock and reach climate neutrality without additional financial and legislative measures and a better implementation of the current legislation.

The EU is tight together by common political, legal, and financial instruments, expressed in regulations, targets, subsidies and incentives. This is the case also for EE.

Today, as a result of the current crisis, we are at a decisive moment There is a lot of political work at all levels, intense discussions and work within the EU institutions, Member States, businesses, and the NGO community to make sure that the recovery measures will take the right direction.

A lot of things still ne to be done to mainstream energy efficiency in EU policies. Still, I would like to mention three EU “best practices” that are relevant globally, even if we are still far away from having a clear picture of how successful these will be.

The European Green Deal, in which energy efficiency has a key role to play, is important because it is a deal, it is green, and it is European. The Green Deal works as a framework for the implementation of the current rules and sets a direction for the next EU legislation.

In terms of energy efficiency there are three policy initiatives which are crucial to accelerate EE in the coming years. One is the Sector integration strategy, to be published in July. The second one is the Renovation wave initiative, that for us is key. Many speakers already mentioned the importance of renovating buildings, well, for the EU, the Renovation Wave is a major instrument to reduce emissions by 2050 to make the EU climate neutral. Increasing the current rate of renovation by three times is the main challenge we have in front of us.

Moreover, there is an upcoming review of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), which needs to be revised to make it up to the climate targets. We would like to see that the EU sets a GHG target of at least 55% by 2030 to achieve the climate neutrality goal by 2050.

Another very important element which was mentioned by Minister Claude Turmes this morning concerns the EU budget and the Recovery plan. We believe there should be a clear earmarking of EU funds not only to climate activities but also to the renovation of buildings. There is still a huge risk that the Recovery Plan will put resources to activities which are not in line with the EU climate goals.

We also call to increase the “climate action quota” to 40% for the entire EU Budget. And to explicitly exclude from all EU funds any fossil fuel activities. Finally, a small note concerning hydrogen and the hopes that it is raising in the public debate. We see a lot of space for hydrogen in hard-to-decarbonise sectors, namely in transport, but the main solution in buildings remains energy efficiency.

To conclude, I can say that in the EU we have the framework, we have some best practices, but we still have a lot of work ahead to deliver the policies needed in the next 20 to 30 years.

 

The recording of the full panel is available here

 

EU wide Renovation Wave: where growth strategy and job creation meet climate goals and social inclusiveness

Unlocking the potential for energy efficiency and carbon footprint reduction that lies in the EU buildings stock is a top priority for the European Alliance to Save Energy.

 

As businesses and investors having energy efficiency and energy demand reduction at the heart of our activities, we look forward to seeing Europe’s global climate leadership translated in green measures which will lead to a sustainable recovery through stimulus packages. We strongly believe that the Renovation Wave as part of the EU Green Deal is a great opportunity to promote a European based industry, with technologies and expertise able to serve the renovation demand locally. This will help to maintain the competitive advantage of the European industry and will contribute to the European green recovery and local job creation while lifting millions of Europeans out of energy poverty.

We support a system-wide approach that puts highly energy efficient, renewable-based, smart and flexible buildings at the center of a fast-changing decentralized energy system.

With this in mind, we envisage an EU wide building Renovation Wave which revolves around the swift implementation of the Energy Efficiency First principle as the fastest and most cost-effective way to reduce emissions and stimulate sustainable economic recovery.

We are convinced that highly energy efficient and smart buildings are the first and indispensable step to:

  • Accelerate the deployment of renewable energy sources
  • Foster sector integration of buildings with other sectors, including industry,
    transport and energy sectors
  • Catalyse energy system decentralization and enhance overall system efficiency
  • Stimulate a sustainable economic recovery, and boost local employment

For this to happen Europe must back an ambitious and impactful Renovation Wave which aims to increase the energy efficiency of buildings by reducing their energy consumption and by fostering the greater quality, the rate, and the depth of comprehensive renovations encompassing envelopes and technical buildings systems. Concretely, and to stay on track with the EPBD goal of decarbonizing the EU building stock by 2050, the Renovation Wave should be designed to reach a minimum of a 3% renovation rate per year combined with an average energy efficiency improvement of 75%.

The social impact of an EU wide energy efficient Renovation Wave would be tremendous. Improved comfort, cleaner indoor and outdoor air quality, reduced energy bills, the emerging role of prosumers with the possibility to optimise and monetise their energy resources on a peer-topeer market place, better and more qualified local jobs are just a few concrete examples of the multiple benefits that Energy Efficiency First in buildings would deliver to those who need them the most, i.e. live in energy poverty.

 

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Open letter to EU leaders: Delivering the European Green Deal for a sustainable and efficient recovery of our economy

Europe’s energy efficiency businesses call on EU leaders to put the European Green Deal at the heart of their upcoming economic stimulus plans.

Brussels, 6 April 2020

Call to EU leaders:
Dear Presidents, Dear Heads of States and Governments,
Dear President of the European Commission, Dear Commissioners,
Dear President of the European Parliament, Dear Members of the European Parliament,
Dear leaders of Europe,

The coronavirus pandemic is a major shock for the European and global economy. After the urgent response measures to address an unprecedented public health crisis, policymakers will have to devise the social and economic policy package to reboot the European economy and safeguard the existing, replace lost and create new millions of jobs across the Union.
In this context, as businesses and investors working in energy efficiency, we look forward to seeing Europe’s global climate leadership translated in green measures which will lead to a sustainable recovery through stimulus packages.
We are convinced that Europe’s ambition to become the first climate neutral continent is a formidable driver to rebuild a solid, resilient, inclusive and sustainable EU economy.

The European Green Deal is an important catalyst for innovation, economic growth, and reinforced environmental and social responsibility. By basing it on the fundamental principles of energy and resource efficiency, circularity and inclusion, it can stimulate an economic transition and job creation in key sectors of our economies such as construction, transport, energy, agriculture and manufacturing.
The European Green Deal is our future-proof growth strategy and we call upon the European Commission and European Council to put it at the very heart of their stimulus plans. We will all benefit from the acceleration of investments stemming from the European Green Deal. The drive towards climate neutrality will create opportunities that will help us out of the economic crisis and prevent future health, social, humanitarian, economic and environmental crisis that we will have to face if we do not reduce CO2 emissions and keep global temperature increase below 1.5°C.

The area of our expertise, energy efficiency, is one of the pillars of the European Green Deal. The EU cannot achieve climate neutrality by 2050 without applying the energy efficiency first principle. Energy efficiency is the most cost-effective way to reduce emissions and certainly one of the fastest drivers for economic growth and job creation across Europe. We look forward to working with you to fully realize its potential. Through the upcoming stimulus plans, we have a chance to make the EU building stock, transport systems and industrial processes – more energy efficient, and by doing so mitigate the economic and social fallout of the current crisis.

Yours sincerely,

Monica Frassoni
President of the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE)