National 2030 energy efficiency targets: a mixed picture

2019. 3. 4.
The European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias CaƱete, and his two DGs, announced that all 28 Members States have submitted their draft National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs), and are made available on the Commission’s website. The Commission has until end of June to evaluate the draft plans and issue country specific recommendations, which Member States are required to ‘duly’ take into account and justify publicly in case of not addressing them.
First appreciation of the content of the draft NECPs provides a rather mixed picture with essential elements missing, including how the Energy Efficiency First principle, defined and anchored in the Governance Regulation, was taken into account and which measures are foreseen to deliver the increased annual energy savings obligations.
Also, for the top-level element, the national contributions to the EU-wide 2030 energy efficiency target of 32.5%, serious gaps are opening. At this stage, only 2/3 of countries managed to set a 2030 target which is formally compliant with the legal requirements. Nine countries failed to report the target in terms of primary and final energy consumption, or by referring to a scenario without making clear choices. Two countries did not follow the prescribed methods in setting the national contribution: UK which omits the target and Austria which sets a target depending on renewable generation.
As the last energy efficiency targets became available, including heavy-weight Spain, which helps to reduce the gap to the EU target, reaching now 30.4% but remains still well off the binding 32.5%.
The efficiency target in the French draft NECP does not correspond to the government's proposal for a revised climate and energy law. The latter is significantly less ambitious than the NECP, but appears to be the relevant one to be considered.
The Commission is likely to choose a positive communication towards Member States before the elections with its State of the Energy Union, due early April, acknowledging that Member States had to engage in a new and highly complex process, without much time. The Governance Regulation entered into force only on 24 December 2018, 7 days before the draft NECPs had to be submitted to the Commission.