The EU Commission on Wednesday (July, 23) published a communication on energy efficiency, reviewing progress towards the EU bloc’s 20 percent target for 2020 and proposing a 30 percent goal on energy saving for 2030. According to the Commission’s data, increasing energy efficiency has led to a decoupling of economic growth from energy consumption in EU well before the financial crisis arose in 2008, and the trend has continued since then.
The Commission estimated that the EU will achieve energy savings of around 18-19 percent in 2020, falling short of the 20 percent savings target by 20-40 Mtoe. The Commission noted that “about one third of the progress towards the 2020 target will be due to the lower than expected growth during the financial crisis”. However, implementation of the EU energy efficiency legislation, ranging from energy performance requirements for buildings to promotion of financing facilities, is still not completed. For instance, only five member states (Cyprus, Denmark, Italy, Malta, and Sweden) have so far declared full transposition of the 2012 Energy Efficiency Directive in their national legislation, and nine EU members (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia and Croatia) have still not fully transposed the related Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, two years after the legal deadline. The Commission said that if all Member States will fully implement the agreed legislation “the 20 percent target can be achieved without the need for additional measures”.
In estimating a target for 2030, to complement the 40 percent GHG emissions reduction target and a goal of at least 27 percent in energy consumption from renewable sources proposed in January, the Commission said it has assessed “a range of ambition levels between 25 percent and 40 percent energy savings”. It identified a level of 25 percent as the most cost-effective manner to deliver the GHG target (as anticipated in its January’s Communication on a 2030 policy framework for climate and energy) but, “given the increased relevance of bolstering EU energy security and reducing the Union’s import dependency, the Commission considers it appropriate to propose a higher target of 30 percent”, a position that reflects the growing attention towards energy saving measures in the EU debate after the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine crisis in March, given its possible consequences on EU energy provisions.
Achieving the 30 percent efficiency target would increase costs of the energy system by €22 billion per annum by 2030 compared to the business as usual scenario, and will require additional investments of €89 billion annually primarily from the private sectors, while public funds “will have to be used to leverage these private investments”, the Commission said. On the other hand, it will lower energy bills by €53 billion annually and will cut gas imports by 2.6 percent for every additional percentage point increase, in addition to boosting jobs and competitiveness and providing other benefits such as better air quality and lower noise levels. The EU Council is expected to reach a final decision on the climate and energy framework for 2030 by this October.