EU Energy Ministers gathered in Vilnius for an Informal Energy Council last week and a proposal for an EU energy and climate package for 2030 is due from the European Commission later this year, both prompting the call.

Early signs show that the Commission appears to be heading for a political deal by the end of this mandate and is therefore “playing it safe”.

The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE), whose members include Siemens, Philips and Kingspan, said the European Commission may well propose a single target for greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) based on low perceptions of the potential benefits of energy efficiency.

However, leading businesses argue that a weak proposal for efficiency will hold companies back from investing in the region.

EU-ASE chairman Tony Robson said: “Energy efficiency has been playing catch up for years, to the detriment of European competitiveness. If European regulators are serious about making the EU an attractive place to invest then business needs a clear and long-term outlook for energy efficiency – a single GHG reduction target will not provide the same guarantees for our market”.

According to the IEA World Energy Outlook 2012, two-thirds of the economic potential to improve energy efficiency will remain untapped in the period to 2035 in the absence of new regulations.

President of the EU-ASE, Monica Frassoni, added: “What is needed is a cohesive 2030 framework based on three binding European targets. This is the way forward to ensure our competitiveness. Most of our global competitors are implementing serious energy efficiency policies and investing in sustainable development.

“The EU cannot risk trillions of euros in outdated investment priorities: it must boost clean-energy investments, maintain its predominant market share in the segment of energy efficiency and keep its role as the world’s most important market for energy efficiency”.

EU-ASE will bring together business leaders from some of Europe’s largest enterprises today to meet with Members of the European Parliament and representatives of the European Commission to demonstrate the support from the business community for the 2030 target.

Leigh Stringer

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie