Gas package: energy system efficiency, rather than a fuel switch

In December 2021, the European Commission issued two proposals, the Gas Directive 2009/73/EC and the Gas Regulation (EC) No 715/2009, laying down the foundation for a European low-carbon gas industry, the so-called “Gas Package”. The Commission’s approach should depart from this old paradigm and uphold the commitment to the Energy Efficiency First Principle (EE1st) to avoid possible stranded assets.

Although urgent action is needed, the proposal focuses exclusively on source diversification. It misses the opportunity to implement the Energy Efficiency First (EE1) principle at the system level and fails to consider the broad socio-economic benefits of energy efficiency and system efficiency.

In current times energy efficiency should be more of a priority than ever, which is being increasingly reflected in the EU’s response to rid Europe of Russian gas imports. The old paradigm needs to be updated accordingly.

The paper highlights gaps and suggests improvements pertaining the following axes:

1. Need for speed
2. Hydrogen for harder-to-abate sectors
3. Benefits of energy efficiency
4. Gas Package and Fit for 55
5. Infrastructure and governance: prioritize climate
6. Conclusion: go beyond 1-1 fuel switch and think energy efficient

Read the full paper here

 

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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

Consult our infographic here

 

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Decarbonising Europe’s buildings with available solutions, no hydrogen

Meeting the EU’s goal of achieving a climate neutral economy by 2050 will require a steep reduction in gas demand, and such reduction will need to start before 2030. This means the EU should focus on immediately available and cost-effective solutions, starting from energy efficiency and renewables, especially for buildings.

While green hydrogen can play a role in decarbonising the EU economy, its pathway comes with many uncertainties linked to the costs of its production, its inefficiency and effective application and should therefore be limited to hard-to-abate sectors only.

As for the heat policy for decarbonisation of buildings, the paper calls for the acceleration of energy efficiency options that can immediately deliver real carbon savings, while accommodating a growing share of renewable energy.

 

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