Energy transition in Europe: The future of energy efficiency policies at stake

2017. 6. 15.

On 26 June 2017, energy ministers of the European Union will meet to agree on a general approach for the first batch of the 'Clean Energy for All Europeans package’, a set of legal tools which will set Europe’s next steps in achieving its energy transition.

Energy efficiency policies are the cornerstone of this package. They are the basis upon which the EU can modernise its energy system and address the climate change challenge.

By committing to 2030 energy efficiency targets aligned with the cost-effective energy savings potentials, and continuing the delivery of efficiency improvements through legislative tools, ministers have the chance to set the scene for a Clean Energy Package which delivers benefits for the economy, people and the environment, and places the EU at the forefront of the energy transition.

However, the undersigned organisations are concerned about the growing discrepancy between the expectations of businesses, environmental NGOs, consumer associations, trade unions, cooperatives and local authorities, and the ambition currently examined by EU Member States.

In particular, a weakening of the 1.5% annual savings requirement after 2020 and the introduction of a 2030 end date for this provision darkens the horizon for energy efficiency markets. Only a clear and robust requirement focused on real energy efficiency policies and measures, without obsolete exemptions and accounting tricks, will ensure a regular growth for the emerging markets for energy efficiency products and services.

In the current political turmoil, it is neither time to slow down successful energy efficiency policies, investments in the upgrade of our aging infrastructure, nor to put local jobs at risk and increase energy dependency. On the contrary, the EU and its Member States have a unique opportunity to show leadership for the benefit of its citizens, and make its energy transition a successful business and human story, by securing the cost-effective potentials, which have been assessed at 40% by 2030.

Ministers meeting on 26 June must show commitment to continue and further strengthen the schemes they have already successfully put in place by guaranteeing 1.5% energy savings each year after 2020. They should consider that the European Parliament has already expressed on several occasions its wish for a more ambitious energy efficiency policy framework.