EED recast: EU Council adopts general approach on EED

Today, the Council of the European Union adopted its general approach on the recast of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED). This is a fundamental legislative step for the Union to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and phase out fossil fuel imports from Russia as soon as possible.

EU-ASE welcomes that for the first time, the Union is getting closer to finally have a binding target for energy efficiency, departing from the current Energy Efficiency Directive which only sets an indicative energy efficiency objective. Furthermore, although national contributions are not binding, the Council agreed on a governance of the Directive which would allow the Commission to activate a “gap-avoider” mechanism if the sum of contributions do not add up towards the EU target. It is an important step forward.

But the Council lost a major occasion to put Energy Efficiency first and act on high energy prices by creating the right regulatory conditions to reduce energy demand for families and business. Firstly, the Council did not take up the proposal of the Commission to increase the energy efficiency target of at least 13% as issued in the REPowerEU strategy.

This is hardly justifiable, knowing that a 9% target would still imply Member States importing 233 bcm of fossil gas annually from third countries, while a 19% target would reduce gas imports to 104 bcm per year i.e. achieving in full the goal to reduce to zero Europe’s dependence on Russian natural gas, as Russia accounts to 40% of all of the EU’s gas imports. Secondly, Ministers did not agree to make the target for primary energy consumption binding, thus undermining the potential for energy savings gained at system level.

Monica Frassoni, President of the Alliance, said: “The Council general approach is not the end of the story: the European Parliament’s rapporteur position aims to a much more ambitious 19% energy efficiency target by 2030, which reflects the potential for energy savings. We support wholeheartedly the effort of the rapporteur Niels Fuglsang and of the many stakeholders at EU and national level working to boost investments in energy efficiency. Energy Efficiency First will increase Europe’s resilience and is a formidable way to address the energy and climate crisis”.

You can find the full press release here 


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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 EU, employ over 340.000 people in Europe and have an aggregated annual turnover of €115 billion.

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REPowerEU: EU-ASE welcomes increase of energy efficiency and renewables targets

Today, the European Commission presented its REPowerEU plan, containing measures promoting energy savings to help the EU phase out imported fossil fuels from Russia as soon as possible, as well as a proposals to further increase the headline targets of the Energy Efficiency Directive and the Renewable Energy Directive by 2030.

The European Alliance to Save Energy strongly believes that the EU’s response to break the dependency from foreign fossil fuels and to the climate crisis must translate into a much more ambitious “Fit For 55”  package, with a massive increase of our efforts to save energy and generate energy from renewable sources by the end of the decade. Energy efficiency and renewables are intertwined and are both critical to strengthen energy security while decarbonising the European economy in a socially just and affordable way.

We therefore welcome the Commission’s legal amendment to raise the EU’s 2030 targets for energy efficiency and renewable energy to 13% and 45% respectively.

The proposal to raise the target in the Energy Efficiency Directive from at least 9% to at least 13% is a step in the right direction – commented Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energy – and we appreciate the Commission’s effort to adjust its own proposed target to reflect the new political and economic context and soaring energy prices since the proposal came out in July 2021.”

 The proposed legal amendment does not reflect the cost-effective potential of a 19% energy efficiency target, as proposed by the European Parliament rapporteur, MEP Niels Fuglsang. Implementing energy efficiency measures in all sectors is the first essential and rational action to foster the structural changes required to phase out fossil fuels and address both the energy and climate crisis.

 “We are aware of the existing reserves and resistance in several member States, but we are convinced that only a clear and binding legislative framework, adequate resources and assistance can convince them to support this. Energy efficiency is an essential element of our energy security and decarbonization strategy. Now it is time to deliver, and energy efficiency measures offer a broad range of economic, environmental and social benefits for citizens and businesses” concluded Monica Frassoni.

The European Alliance to Save Energy has recently developed an inspiring catalogue of energy efficiency measures, many of them readily available and made in Europe, and stand ready to support the Institutions to deploy such measures and reduce gas consumption in Europe.

Download the Pdf version 

Media contact:
Antoan Montignier
Policy and Advocacy Advisor
antoan.montignier@euase.eu
+32 499 84 97 28

 

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 EU, employ over 340.000 people in Europe and have an aggregated annual turnover of €115 billion.

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The European Green Deal: a tipping point for good

by Harry Verhaar, EU-ASE Bord Chair and Head of Public & Government Affairs at Signify

It’s been a grave winter for the health of our planet. In Madrid, urgent climate talks dissolved into a disappointing stalemate. The public is informed and engaged in a new and promising way, but is also more divided. We are close to a tipping point: a point at which the rate of change increases dramatically, and possibly irreversibly towards a climate catastrophe.

When we talk about the concept of tipping points, we recognize that change isn’t linear – it’s exponential. We see examples of this all too frequently. As the planet warms, Arctic permafrost thaws, releasing methane and carbon dioxide that further accelerates the pace of change. And as the Earth loses more and more of its white, reflective surfaces, the planet more readily absorbs heat. We’re close to some of nature’s tipping points. Reaching these would have disastrous implications for our planet and our way of life.

Man on the moon moment

But in Europe, a change is coming that could be crucial to containing our carbon emissions and limiting the effects of climate change. On December 11, 2019, the European Commission announced the European Green Deal, a set of policy initiatives aimed at making this continent carbon neutral by 2050. The European Commission’s president, Ursula von der Leyen, called it Europe’s “man on the moon moment.”

The world’s track record with climate regulation has been patchy at best. So, what’s different about the European Green Deal? For me, it marks a fundamental change in the way environmental and sustainability regulation is developed. Historically, change that is focused upon carbon emissions reduction or environmental protection has been weighed in terms of expense: what must we sacrifice to achieve these targets? This tends to shut down public and political discussion, and in my view, has critically undersold the opportunities that sustainable practices bring to the table.

Growth strategy

The Green Deal is not about penalizing businesses and people for doing things in a less sustainable way. It’s a growth strategy, integrated into every public policy plan, that hardwires a preference for sustainable initiatives into every aspect of Europe’s socioeconomic development.

This is an important distinction. When you look more deeply at sustainable solutions, you discover that they are not at odds with economic progress. They are, in fact, better in every way. Take LED lighting. It’s more resource-efficient. Less burdensome on the environment. It costs less over a lifetime. And it is better for people, helping to improve quality of life. It can reduce road traffic accidents, deter crime, make you more productive, contribute to you breathing cleaner air. Who would say no to that?

We’ve said before that as we move into this all-determining decade of climate action, the time for talk is over. The European Green Deal presents a clear and non-negotiable ambition: to be climate-neutral by 2050 at the latest. To get there, we need intermediate milestones too, and that means a cut in emissions of more than half by 2030. This is in line with the recommendation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which advised a reduction of at least 55% by 2030.

 

“A climate neutral goal without action is dreaming.
Climate Action without a clear goal is sleepwalking.”

 

To have our “man on the moon moment”, we need to walk the talk. At Signify, we have our own carbon commitment, to be carbon neutral by the end of this year.

We also call upon others to adopt programs like the Climate Group’s RE100 commitment to renewable energy, to participate in renovation programs that transform existing buildings into net zero carbon buildings, and to adopt a 100% electric vehicle goal for the corporate or the municipal car fleet, because doing these things brings with it progress. It demystifies climate action, it turns ambition into concrete steps, and it demonstrates the economic potential of a new and better way for our society to function.

Progress is not linear

Programs that start with only a few participants have the power to make a difference. We know that the detrimental effects of climate change on our planet are not linear, but the same can be said of our progress. History has shown that many transitions accelerate after reaching a certain momentum. We see this in the lighting sector. At the end of 2006, incandescent light bulbs were still two thirds of our sales volume. In our last quarter, more than 80% of our revenue came from sustainable products, systems and services. The world has more people, bigger urban populations, and more light points than ever before, yet the proportion of global electricity consumption from lighting falls each year, from 19% in 2006, to 13% in 2018, and we expect it to fall further to 8% by 2030.

What happened? LED reached a tipping point. This successful decoupling of electricity consumption from use of light shows that choosing for sustainability does not need to come at a cost. This is just one example of such a decoupling – there can be many more. If we can achieve energy savings on such a scale across buildings, transportation, industry, our targets will be easily met.

To my mind, the European Green Deal can be our tipping point for good. With its broad scope, it reaches into the areas where we can have the most significant impact, and within these, create further tipping points for good. It can change the way we approach regulation. It can prove to the world that sustainability and economic growth need not be at odds. And it can be a time we look back on as the moment when we joined together to divert our path to a better and more sustainable trajectory.

 

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EUASE welcomes climate neutrality and energy efficiency in EU climate law, regrets lack of engagement on 2030 target

Brussels, 4 March 2020 – Today the European Commission unveiled its proposal for a European Climate Law, which enshrines the goal of climate neutrality by 2050 into EU legislation. The text establishes that, when setting a trajectory to reach such a goal, the Commission shall take into consideration “energy efficiency, energy affordability and security of supply” among other elements.

We welcome the fact that the climate law enshrines the climate neutrality objective into EU legislation. We are also glad to see that the Commission will have to consider energy efficiency when setting the EU trajectory towards climate neutrality” – said Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE). “We look forward to continuing to work with EU institutions and Member States to highlight how Energy Efficiency First is an indispensable principle to reduce emissions, integrate RES, and achieve a fast, fair and cost-effective transition to a climate neutral EU,” she added.

We do regret nevertheless that the Commission did not already include an intermediate emissions reduction target of at least 55% by 2030, considering the urgency of the situation and the devastating impact of climate change on our economies and societies,” President Frassoni stated. “We are also disappointed to see that the impact assessment is confirmed for September 2020. We believe that such assessment should be ready by June at the latest to let the EU take the lead in the next global meeting on climate change happening at the COP26 in Glasgow. We call on the EP and Council to improve the current draft during the upcoming legislative process.”

 

Media contact:

Matteo Guidi

+32 493 37 21 42 – matteo.guidi@euase.eu

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Open letter to Executive Vice-President Timmermans on European climate law

Broad cross-sectorial coalition of stakeholders calls for EU climate law to recognize the role of energy efficiency and renewables to reach climate neutrality by 2050

Dear Executive Vice-President Timmermans,

The European Green Deal  is a particularly positive beginning for the new European Commission. We welcome the Commission pledge to address the climate crisis and, by doing so, shape the future of Europe’s economy and society and lead by example worldwide.

We have come together as stakeholders representing energy efficiency and renewable technologies, local governments, regional organizations, think tanks and non-for profit organizations to express the need for climate law to orient the action of the EU towards what is the fastest and most cost-effective way to reduce emissions: the recognition of the Energy Efficiency First principle, which is a prerequisite for the much needed deployment of a 100% renewable-based energy supply.  This will boost the European economy by creating new opportunities and jobs and reduce our dependence on energy imports.

As such, we recommend to:

  • Recognize Energy Efficiency First as an overarching principle of the EU Climate Law governance
  • Include an intermediate GHG emissions reduction target of at least 55% by 2030.
  • Mainstream policy coherence with increased and mandatory energy efficiencyrenewable energy and carbon emissions targets.

We ask you to consider these recommendations and bring forward a climate law proposal which will recognise the role of energy efficiency as a potent and critical catalyst to the massive scale-up of renewables in a resource-constrained planet.

We look forward to cooperating with you to make Europe the first climate neutral continent.

 

List of undersigning stakeholders:

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