The Energy Union, launched earlier in 2015, ensures that Europe has secure, affordable and climate-friendly energy. To achieve that, there is a need to carefully review all elements of energy policy to see how priorities should change. A new report by the Commission’s Joint Research Centre shows the role that an ambitious energy efficiency strategy can play. EuroACE provides a good review of the report.
Energy efficiency crucial to deliver Energy Union objectives, JRC shows
This week the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Commission in-house science service, published a report entitled “Securing Energy Efficiency to Secure the Energy Union: how energy efficiency meets the EU Climate and Energy Goals”. In this piece of work, the JRC shows the central role of energy efficiency in meeting the Energy Union goals, and demonstrates that a 40% energy efficiency target for 2030 is the way forward.
First presented in February 2015, the Energy Union is underpinned by five dimensions, including energy efficiency as a contribution to the moderation of energy demand. In this Communication, the European Commission pledged to “fundamentally rethink energy efficiency and treat it as an energy source in its own right.” Building on these political statements, the JRC has analysed the contribution of energy efficiency to the EU energy & climate policies, and its role within the EU’s energy system.
More precisely, it has quantified the impact of energy efficiency on import dependency, reduction of GHG emissions, and competitiveness of the EU economy. The report demonstrates that with a 40% energy savings target in 2030, the sum of energy savings and renewables will overtake the sum of imported fossil fuels. This is even more important as in 2013, the trade deficits of several EU Member States, such as Austria, Finland, Lithuania, Poland and Spain, were entirely due to energy, and as most Member States experienced increased energy trade deficits in the last five years. A 40% energy efficiency target in 2030 would also allow the EU to reduce its GHG emissions by 44%, compared to 1990 level.
In this regard, buildings can play a major role, as they consume 40% of all final energy produced in the EU, and emit 36% of energy-related CO2. They represent the largest cost-effective potential in terms of energy savings, beyond the multiple societal benefits mentioned above. In fact, if increased ambition in energy renovation of existing buildings and roll-out of nZEB standards for new buildings are effectively put in place, energy demand stemming from buildings will be reduced. And in 2030, the building sector could become the sector responsible for the lowest emissions. Thus, putting a special emphasis on the energy performance of the building stock in the EU is fundamental in order to deliver the Energy Union objectives to citizens and businesses.
In order to unleash the full benefits of building renovation and energy efficiency in buildings, the JRC demonstrates that a 40% energy efficiency target for 2030 is the way forward. This ambitious approach should also feed into the assessment of different policy options, in the framework of the revision in 2016 of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) and the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED). Finally, the JRC also calls for more actions to de- risk energy efficiency investments, in order to boost investors’ confidence and ensure that energy savings projects will compete on equal terms with generation capacity.