Business community urges EU to set 2030 energy savings target

The business community represented by the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) is calling for the European Commission to establish a 40% binding energy savings target for 2030.

EU-ASE and 17 business leaders have sent a letter to president of the EU Commission José Manuel Barroso calling for the target to be included in the EU energy and climate framework for 2030 white paper.

It has been sent ahead of today’s meeting of Heads of Cabinet of EU Commissioners, which is expected to define the framework included in the White Paper, after the EU-ASE heard that the Commissioners may decide not to include the target.

The letter states: “We understand that the College of Commissioners may decide not to include the option of an EU energy savings target as part of the 2030 climate and energy package.

“The business community represented by the EU-ASE regrets such an omission since energy efficient investments yield fast and attractive returns for European business and economy while making a positive impact for our climate ambitions,” it continues.

According to the alliance, European policy-makers must “realise that Europe will never lead on cheapest energy and must lead on least consumed energy”.

Pushing for a binding energy savings target for 2030, the alliance says it is the EU’s most effective lever to strengthen the block’s energy security and economic resilience while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Earlier this month, the European Parliament voted to include binding energy savings targets into the EU long term ambitions for energy and climate, ahead of the White Paper’s official launch on Wednesday (22nd).

“We expect the Commission to reconsider its initial assessment and to arrive at the same conclusion on January 22nd,” the letter stated.

EU-ASE President Monica Frassoni said that a greenhouse gas target only approach would fail to trigger additional energy savings, wasting an opportunity to save energy and money.

According to Frassoni, contrary to assertions by Business Europe, climate policies are not the main driver of electricity price increases.

International Energy Agency (IEA) analysis shows that the main driver for increased industrial electricity prices in Europe is rising wholesale electricity prices driven primarily by rising fossil fuel prices.

The IEA notes that if an effort is made to reverse this trend, through greater investment in energy efficiency and renewables, industrial prices for electricity will benefit positively by at least 15% by 2035, resulting in a relative 15% price reduction.

Leigh Stringer

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