EU leaders under pressure to deliver ‘ambitious energy pledges’

Ahead of the European Council meetings on 23-24 October, 49 companies and business associations, including Philips and Unilever, have sent a letter to EU President Herman Van Rompuy calling for a binding energy savings target of 40% by 2030.

The report adds to growing pressure on EU policymakers, as last week 15 energy firms and trade associations demanded a binding renewable energy target of at least 30% by 2030.

The Council will discuss and it is hoped, finalise the percentage by which greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions should be reduced; the percentage of energy that should come from renewables and the percentage by which the EU’s energy efficiency should be improved.

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The open letter sent today read: “A binding energy efficiency target of at least 40% on final energy is a key element for delivering a credible European 2030 climate and energy package.”

The document continued to lay out three potential benefits of a 40% target, based on statistics from research carried out by the European Commission.

Competitiveness: recent Commission analysis shows a strong push for 40% energy savings in 2030 will deliver 4.5% GDP gains compared to only 1% GDP gains if a 30% target is agreed.

Lowering costs of climate action: cutting greenhouse gases by introducing an ambitious 40% energy efficiency target could cut EU energy costs by as much as €1tr-€2tr during 2020 to 2030.

Reducing gas imports: recent Commission analysis shows that for every 1% increase in the EU energy savings, EU gas imports will fall by 2.6% ‒¬¬¬ underscoring the very significant energy security benefits of a 40% energy efficiency target.”

Untapped potential

The final point of the letter was echoed by a report released on the same day by consultancy firm Ecofys, which claimed that the EU can cut its natural gas imports and carbon reductions in half by investing in renewable energy and efficiency. (Scroll down for ful report)

The report says the largest untapped potential is in the refurbishment of existing buildings, where energy demand for heating and cooling can reduced by around 4-5 Exajoules (EJ) by 2030.

About 70% of this potential can be realized by improving the building envelope (insulation and improved glazing) whilst the remaining 30% can be achieved through the implementation of more efficient heating technologies, most notably heat pumps.

The report also says industrial energy demand can be reduced by implementing technical measures, such as best practice technologies, and by shifting production to less energy-intensive products or processes, for example by increasing production of recycled steel.

Ecofys: Increasing EU Energy Independence

Brad Allen

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