EU showing ‘low ambition’ on energy savings, study claims

Almost all Member States of the European Union (EU) are not only showing low ambition in achieving energy savings targets they are also failing to demonstrate how targets will be reached, a new study claims.

The study carried out by the Coalition for Energy Savings analysed Member States’ plans for achieving 1.5% annual end-use energy savings – set under the 2012 Energy Efficiency Directive.

According to the study, twelve plans, including the UK, Finland, Germany, Sweden and all central and eastern EU countries except Croatia and Latvia, are either incomplete or of low quality.

Issues highlighted by the analysis include the incorrect calculation of the target, ineligibility of measures, and inclusions of energy savings that would have happened anyway.

The Coalition for Energy Savings Secretary General Stefan Scheuer said: “EU leaders rightly stressed the need to moderate energy demand as the first step to reduce the bloc’s energy dependency, which is exactly what the Energy Efficiency Directive should deliver.

“Yet most governments’ implementation plans, in particular those from central and eastern countries, are not ambitious and do not convince us that the minimum energy savings will be reached. It is time for Member States to walk the talk and ensure compliance to EU legislation,” added Scheuer.

Only three plans, from Croatia, Denmark and Ireland, out of the 27 analysed, provide a credible and meaningful case for how savings targets will be achieved.

It also claims that almost all countries use the maximum exemptions to lower the 1.5% annual end-use energy savings, which means that the average target in the EU is actually only 0.8%.

This lack of ambition, according to the study, puts the EU at risk of missing its 20% energy savings target for 2020.

Analysing the UK’s energy efficiency plan, the study labelled it assessable but “not fully coherent and/or several measures and claimed savings questionable”.

Commenting on the analysis, Association for the Conservation of Energy’s director Andrew Warren said: “The UK is now being challenged regularly by the European Commission for its continuing failure to implement energy efficiency directives which it has agreed.

“This review seems to be revealing yet another example of this incompetence,” he added.

Leigh Stringer

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