energy saving


Proposed energy efficiency targets slashed

The energy ministers of the 27 EU Member States have agreed to cut the energy savings targets for 2020 outlined in the proposed Energy Efficiency Directive by almost 62%. For Spain’s Renewable Energy Foundation, this sharp reduction confirms that the criteria of the major utility and consumer lobbies have been imposed on these savings and efficiency targets.
Proposed energy efficiency targets slashed

According to an internal European Commission document obtained by the Spanish Renewable Energy Foundation, the Informal Council of Energy Ministers of the EU decided on 19 April to lower the savings targets of the proposed Energy Efficiency Directive by close to 62 %, reducing the planned target for 2020 from 151.5 Mtoe to 58.1 Mtoe. This, despite the fact that as the Renewable Energy Foundation highlight, the European Commission had specifically proposed this Directive on seeing that the action being taken by European governments was insufficient to meet the EU's energy objectives.

Now, with the proposed cuts, not only will it be impossible to reduce energy consumption by 20%, but it will also prove very difficult to achieve a 20% share of renewable energy in the energy mix and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 20%, since improved energy efficiency is critical to achieving these two objectives. According to estimates by the European Commission, meeting the goal of saving 20% of energy would be sufficient to achieve emission reductions of 25%.

"Europe's 20+20+20 energy policy is therefore in danger of failing due to the adoption of policies that encourage the continuation of an economy based more on the use of fossil fuels and dependence on energy imports, reducing the focus on what should be considered as the key energy asset: saving and efficiency, "says the Foundation. "The Informal Energy Council has been swayed by the criteria of utilities and major consumers, which go against a change in energy model."

The biggest changes in the Commission proposal for a new Energy Efficiency Directive focus on cutting the savings targets for buildings owned by public bodies and on public purchasing and for energy distribution companies, and withdrawing the requirement of cogeneration.

"According to European Commission analysis, only half the 2020 target would be met under the Directive as it currently stands, but if the proposed amendments are accepted, not even 50% of the target will be achieved," warns the Foundation, which calls on the Spanish government to respect and uphold the 20% energy saving and efficiency by 2020 target at the next Council of Energy Ministers of the EU.

Setback for Danish presidency

It is unlikely that the Directive will be approved before the summer under the Danish presidency, which had made this Directive an important goal. In contrast, the proposed amendments "represent a success for the energy distribution companies, engaged in delaying anything that may decrease their revenues," comments the Renewable Energy Foundation.

Regarding the Spanish government’s position – although this is not known – the Renewable Energy Foundation believes that "in view of the action taken with the renewable energy moratorium, the withdrawal of funds for energy saving and efficiency programmes, the decrease in the budget of Spain’s Institute of Energy Diversification and Savings (IDAE), and the support given to an energy mix based on fossil fuels and nuclear power, it appears that energy saving is no longer a priority".

The Foundation also believes that "the crisis and falling energy demand in Spain has encouraged complacency and the belief that we [Spain] are well ahead of the 2020 targets and can afford to do nothing until 2017 because we are ahead of Europe". The Foundation says this is "a mirage" and warns that our [Spain’s] increased energy reliance and intensity represents a serious loss of competitiveness with the EU.

"We would do well to be more ambitious with those technologies that we have control over and do not import such as energy efficiency and renewable energy, and not conform to minimum objectives when we can do so much more." In this regard, the Foundation calls on the Government to carry out widespread energy sector reforms with clear energy saving and efficiency policies.

For additional information:

2020 Energy Strategy

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