According to the Commission LTS, the EU must halve its energy consumption by 2050. Energy efficiency therefore must play a central role in achieving net-zero GHG emissions by 2050.
Considering that the world economy will triple by 2050 and that global population will increase by nearly 2.3 billion by 2050, energy efficiency is the most cost-effective way to decouple economic growth from emissions.
Significant reductions in overall energy demand will come from energy use in buildings. Residential and commercial buildings currently account for 40 % of EU energy consumption – with 75 % of these buildings being built before energy performance standards existed – 36% of emissions and 50% of the total mineral resources extracted from the planet. Most of the housing stock of 2050 already exists and will need to be renovated. Our building stock needs to become net zero carbon, which involves ramping up the rate and depth of renovation and ensuring efficient and decarbonised energy supply in the building sector. The “Renovation Wave” needs to build from the implementation of the Long Term Renovation Strategies, but also explore new drivers and triggers, including regulation, in order to scale up what has worked well in some countries.
The EU and its Member States have committed to achieving a significant reduction of their overall energy demand by agreeing on 20% and 32.5% energy efficiency targets for 2020 and 2030 respectively. Those targets set by the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) are minimum targets for which the Member States have to pledge indicative national contributions. In order to secure the achievement of these targets, the EU provides binding measures, including:
the energy savings obligation (EED Article 7), requiring each Member State to put in place policies and measures to deliver a minimum amount of new and additional energy savings per year until 2050;
Ecodesign, Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) and CO2 emission standards for vehicles to ensure that CO2 emissions are reduced, and energy performance is significantly improved.
Although the current policy architecture (EU headline target, indicative national contributions and binding measures) has led to improvements, it is still not delivering enough. Energy consumption has been growing over the last years, and the European Commission does not expect the 2020 target to be achieved. Furthermore, the national 2030 energy efficiency national contributions put forward by Member States in their draft national energy and climate plans (NECPs) bring the EU only halfway to its 2030 energy savings target compared to the baseline.
In this context, the Coalition for Energy Savings notes that the Commission intends to reinforce the existing policy framework. Not delivering the minimum energy efficiency target is not an option. On the contrary, the 2030 target will need to be revised to get on a path to net-zero emissions and to tap the cost-effective energy efficiency potential of at least 40%.
The Coalition for Energy Savings calls on the Commission to strongly support full implementation and enforcement of existing legislation and, in parallel, to put in place new measures to increase the ambition.
The Coalition proposes the following Energy Efficiency Package as an enabler to deliver the European Green Deal.
Brussels (14 Jan 2020) – Today, the European Commission unveiled its communication on the European Green Deal Investment Plan (EGDIP) and its proposal for a regulation establishing a Just Transition Fund (JTF), which is part of a broader Just Transition Mechanism (JTM). The two tools are part of a package aimed to finance the EU’s bid to become climate neutral by 2050, while supporting coal-dependent regions to take the necessary steps to transition towards a decarbonized economy.
“We welcome these initiatives, which come at a crucial moment in Europe’s decarbonization process” – said Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE). “As one of the main cross-sectorial business associations in Europe advocating for energy efficiency, we are pleased to see that in both the European Green Deal Investment Plan and the Just Transition Fund there is a clear reference to energy efficiency. We also welcome the proposal to revise State Aid rules to give Member States more scope to invest in the energy efficiency of buildings.”
“With regards to the JTF, we expect it to be financed with fresh, additional resources whose access should be conditioned to serious commitments towards climate neutrality by the beneficiary countries.”
“We will follow with keen interest the debate around these proposals – Monica Frassoni concluded – and we look forward to providing our input to make energy efficiency’s role even more prominent, in line with the ‘energy efficiency first’ principle. This with the aim to make full advantage of the economic, environmental and social benefits that energy efficiency can bring to citizens and businesses.”
The European Green Deal Communication acknowledges that in the effort to reduce GHG emissions and achieve climate neutrality by 2050, energy efficiency must be prioritised. At EUASE, we have set out 10 priorities to make sure that the policies under the EGD fully apply the Energy Efficiency First principle.
On December 11, the European Commission presented an outline of its European Green Deal. According to the proposed timeline, the increase of the EU 2030 climate target – the flagship initiative of the package – will be presented by summer 2020. This timeline will require Member States to agree on a much higher 2030 target at the European Council in June 2020, which will be key to enable the EU to lead the way towards bold climate ambition internationally.
The EGD Communication acknowledges that in the effort to reduce GHG emissions and achieve climate neutrality by 2050, energy efficiency must be prioritised, however the Communication lacks a specific reference to the Energy Efficiency First principle and the commitment to increase the 2030 energy efficiency target.
Here are our 10 priorities to make sure that the policies under the European Green Deal fully apply this principle:
Accelerate the implementation of the Clean Energy Package by strengthening and facilitating monitoring, evaluation and exchange of good practices
Reopen the Clean Energy Package in order to align it with increased ambition by 2030 and climate neutrality by 2050
Apply the energy efficiency first principle to all energy planning and investments
Lead by example ensuring that 100% of public (central, regional and local) buildings are nearly-zero energy (NZEB) by 2030
Boost the renovation of existing residential and commercial buildings and mobilize resources to eradicate energy poverty
Fully exploit water-energy nexus and introduce energy performance objectives in all current and future water policies and regulations
Prioritize finance for energy efficiency in all EU funding programmes post 2020 and improve access to technical assistance
Remove all existing barriers to the full functioning of energy performance contracting
Raise awareness about the multiple economic, social and environmental benefits of energy efficiency for citizens, cities and businesses
Promote digitalization as a driver of greater efficiency
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