The Council of the European Union agreed on June 26 upon its position on Energy Efficiency Directive. The general insight was reached after several proposals and discussions. This Council meeting was a continuum to agree on the EU Commission’s proposal for energy efficiency target and energy savings obligations under the European climate and energy framework for the period 2021-2030.
The main elements of the revised directive are the energy efficiency target of 30 percent and the energy savings obligations of 1.5 percent, decreasing to 1.0 percent for the period 2026-2030, if the mid-term review in 2024 concludes that the EU is on track to meet its targets.
Before the meeting of the 28 Energy Ministers, mutual consensus had not been reached on whether the target was directive or binding to the member states. The Maltese Presidency of the Council prepared the proposal to be based on the Commission’s view, which featured the binding approach.
Within this question, EU nations divided into states who sought more ambitious targets and states looking for more flexibility in calculating energy savings. The Commission proposed a binding EU energy efficiency target of 30 percent, which was declined by the Council. “The compromise falls short of the level of ambition of the European Commission’s proposal,” commented the energy commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete, as reported by Reuters.
Many of the member states had pleaded for binding resolution already before the Commission’s procedure.
The directive of energy efficiency is a part of the European Union’s Clean Energy Package and the 2030 climate and energy framework. Presented in 2014, the framework includes, among other significant climate policies, a proposal to “improved energy efficiency through possible amendments to the energy efficiency directive”.
Significance of the Package has been to ensure the continuation of EU energy efficiency policy. The former directive established a common framework for promoting energy efficiency and ensuring the EU’s target of 20 percent primary energy savings by 2020.
It is not the first time, when claims for binding energy efficiency targets are left out in the decision phase. Already in the 2020 package, energy efficiency target was the only one of the mitigation targets that was not binding.
The targets of 2020 in energy efficiency progress achieved by the member states were assessed lately in the Report of the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council, published in February 2017. The assessment demonstrates, that regarding 2020 target in energy efficiency, the EU has already achieved considerable reductions in energy consumption and reduced its primary energy consumption below the 2020 target, even with the slight increase in primary energy consumption in 2015 compared to 2014.
In the coming months, the proposal for Directive on Energy Efficiency proceeds to trilogue meetings between representatives of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission. After this, the directive will enter decision making procedure in the Parliament under the incoming Estonian presidency.
(Image: Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete in meeting of the European Council. Photo credit: EU Council newsroom)