Response to targeted review of the GBER with revised rules for State aid

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.

The European Alliance to Save Energy is happy to provide its feedback on the revised GBER. 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 revised GBER offers some welcomed added flexibility for the application of state aid to energy efficiency projects. Energy efficiency is a precondition for a full integration of renewables and the phase out fossil fuels. Yet, in its current form the GBER does not provide the necessary level playing field with renewable energy sources and other energy supply measures. In particular the aid intensity levels for energy efficiency are lower and the rules on eligible costs are far more complex to apply.

EU-ASE therefore calls on the European Commission to:

1. Enshrine and enforce the “Energy Efficiency First principle” in the GBER
2. Level the playing field between energy efficiency measures and renewable energy sources (Art. 38 & 39 GBER)
3. Simplify cost eligibility and conditions for total cost eligibility (Art. 38)
4. Simplify the cconditions for the “incentive effect” (to favour the transition to MEPS)
5. Extend the scope of the Green Bonus (+ 15 points percentage) for high energy-efficiency projects

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

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Response to the Roadmap on the Digitalisation of the Energy Sector

The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) welcomes the opportunity to provide feedback to the inception roadmap on the EU Action Plan on the Digitalisation of the Energy Sector.

Digitalisation is key to accelerate the decarbonisation of the economy while ensuring business competitiveness. Digitalisation makes it possible to deliver energy at the right time, in the right place and at the lowest cost. It provides excellent opportunities to further reduce energy demand and optimise energy consumption. Furthermore, the digitalisation of the energy system allows citizens to actively participate in the energy market and is the foundation for energy systems integration, ensuring better integration and use of energy from e.g. distributed energy resources directly powered by renewables (e.g. heat pumps, EV charging, on-site solar panels, etc.) and surplus heat. In support of this, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), investments in digital electricity infrastructure and software has grown by over 20% annually since 2014.

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IEA: Energy Efficiency 2020 Report

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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

 

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