The Net Zero Industry Act: The clean tech race is one Europe can win if it invests in Energy Efficiency First

The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) recognizes the need for a systemic change in Europe’s industrial policy to address the climate and energy challenge while keeping Europe’s economies more competitive. In it’s urgency the Commission has overlooked a sector that is truly crucial for Europe to reach net-zero by 2050: the energy efficiency sector.

On 16 March, the European Commission tabled its Net Zero Industry Act (NZIA), outlining a plan to scale up manufacturing of clean technologies in the EU to make sure the Union is well-equipped for the clean energy transition.  

In the words of European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen: “It will create the best conditions for those sectors that are crucial for us to reach net zero by 2050: technologies like wind turbines, heat pumps, solar panels, renewable hydrogen as well as CO2 storage” (1).

As the representatives of some of Europe’s leading manufacturers of energy efficiency solutions and services, the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) fully recognizes the need for a systemic change in Europe’s industrial policy to address the climate and energy challenge while keeping Europe’s economies more competitive. 

Our members have a solid and growing manufacturing footprint in Europe – they want and need to be able to rely on a future industrial framework that is accessible, stable and competitive and that drives innovation and new sustainable business models. The Net Zero Industry Act is a necessary and welcome initiative. We also recognize the urgency of the challenge, as well as the need for proposals from the European Commission.

However, in its urgency the Commission has overlooked a sector that is truly crucial for Europe to reach net-zero by 2050: the energy efficiency sector.

Read our full statement here.


Bibliography: (1) Net-Zero Industry Act: Making the EU the home of clean technologies manufacturing and green jobs:

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Meet the Water-Energy Nexus

We are thrilled to share our latest publication, an informative infographic highlighting the Water-Energy Nexus. In today’s climate and energy crisis, understanding the water-energy nexus is crucial for driving substantial savings in both resources while reducing emissions and enhancing European industry competitiveness.

Meet the Water-Energy Nexus infographic, developed by The European Alliance to Save Energy with the support of our members.

Understanding the interdependent relationship between water and energy is crucial as we strive for sustainability and to combat the challenges of climate change. In these times of multiple crises, Europe is currently facing both energy and water crises. It is imperative that we join forces to address these challenges collectively. Recognizing the significance of the water-energy nexus, it is crucial for Europe to take decisive action and prioritize these issues without delay.

The infographic highlights:

– the connection between water consumption and produce energy 
– the energy used to abstract and treat water
– the interlink between energy and water in sectors such as buildings and industry

This visual is a great tool to raise awareness about the water-energy nexus in relation to upcoming key moments of the ordinary legislative procedure related to:

Industrial Emissions Directive (IED)
Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (UWWTD)
Nature Restoration Law (NRL)

View the full infographic here.

View section 1 in detail.
View section 2 in detail.
View section 3 in detail.


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Saving Water and Energy By Restoring Nature In Urban Areas: Statement on Nature Restoration Law

European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) welcomes the European Commission’s proposal for a Nature Restoration Law and supports the ambition presented by the ENVI rapporteur in the European Parliament to increase the restoration objective and set higher targets for the restoration of terrestrial, coastal, freshwater, marine, and urban ecosystems.

Nature restoration, ecosystem degradation, and biodiversity loss are critical issues for the European Union due to their impact on the environment, human health, and the economy. It poses a significant challenge to the EU`s sustainability goals, promotion of green growth, and achievement of a climate-neutral society.

The proposal includes some provisions that can promote the realisation of the water-energy nexus i.e. the ability to simultaneously save water and energy.

EU-ASE supports Article 6 on the restoration of urban ecosystems. We also support Article 11 which proposes the introduction of National Restoration Plans.

Green urban infrastructure and permeable surfaces in cities, such as urban parks, green roofs, and green walls, can contribute to saving energy and restoring nature in cities while supporting biodiversity, improving air and water quality, and providing recreational opportunities for urban dwellers, especially in densely populated areas.

The Nature Restoration Law has a significant importance in achieving Union climate goals and should be considered as another element of the package of legislation aiming to promote the deployment of energy efficiency technologies.

Read our full statement on Nature Restoration Law here.

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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Doing more with less: Increase energy efficiency & reduce carbon intensity of wastewater treatment plants

The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) welcomes the European Commission’s proposal for a recast of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (UWWTD). This document gathers our inputs to the co-legislators that are due to negotiate and finalise the draft proposal in the next months.

The UWWTD played a substantial role in improving water quality and tackling high pollution levels in water bodies throughout decades. In 2021, we called for an update of the over 30 years old UWWTD because we were convinced it could be improved to better address some of today’s most pressing challenges such climate change, resource scarcity, increased energy prices and population growth.

The recast proposal of the European Commission is the right step towards a more comprehensive, efficient and sustainable wastewater treatment. Nonetheless, we see room for improvement to further enhance energy efficiency, the recovery and use of excess heat, digitalisation, data analytics and water reuse.

Monica Frassoni, President of EU-ASE states: “In the current water and energy crisis, we must take all the possible actions to drive substantial water and energy savings, reduce emissions and increase the competitiveness of European industry. The revision of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive is key in this perspective. We call policymakers to apply the energy efficiency first principle. We have the technologies to reduce waste water treatment plants’ energy consumption, recover and use excess heat, reuse water and gradually make water treatment plants energy positive.”

Read the full paper here.



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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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