Reflections on the annual eceee policy seminar

The annual eceee policy seminar took place on February 8th in Brussels. More than 60 experts from industry, academia, NGOs and national energy agencies attended the event. Unfortunately, EC representatives declined the invitation.

The seminar was articulated around 4 presentations. First, the IEA presentation of the main findings of its 2015 Energy Efficiency Market Report. Tyler Bryant, presented on the IEA strategy to promote energy efficiency as a “First fuel” by assessing various impacts of energy efficiency. The presentation highlighted the short-term outlook for energy efficiency, the role of energy efficiency in some energy exporting countries and how to increase investment on energy efficiency.

The second presentation was given by Jakob Wachsmuth from Fraunhofer ISI on the study, launched at COP 21, entitled “How energy efficiency cuts costs for a 2-degree future” and commissioned by the Climateworks Foundation. The study is based on an update, but not yet published, McKinsey’s bottom-up estimates of the potentials and costs of energy efficiency options and alternative decarbonisation measures. It assesses the global potential of energy efficiency to deliver cost-effective climate change mitigation in line with the 2°C scenario.

The two global outlooks were followed by EU-focused potentials and policies. Stefan Scheuer from the Coalition of Energy Savings, presented on the main findings of an unpublished study prepared by the consultancy firm ECOFYS on a cost-benefit analysis of the decarbonisation scenarios presented in 2014 by the EC. The analysis provides evidence that the first least cost approach, used by the EC, leads to lower energy saving target while costs-benefits analyses would result in a more ambitious energy saving target. The study concludes that decision-makers were not well informed by the impact of each of the 2030 scenarios which is not in line with the Better regulation principle.

The last presentation was given by Yamina Saheb, formerly of the Commission’s Joint Research Centre, on her latest JRC report entitled “Securing Energy Efficiency to Secure the Energy Union” . The analysis shows that in the 2030 decarbonisation scenarios, energy savings are projected to be the first fuel of Europe. Moreover, in the 40% energy saving scenario, the sum of energy saving and renewables overtake the sum of imported fossil fuels. From climate mitigation perspective, the 40% energy saving scenario puts the EU on a track to keep global warming at 2°C. However, since the adoption of the Paris Climate Agreement in December 2015, an extra effort almost certainly will be required for the EU to be on the Paris path and limit global warming below 1.5°C.

The presentations were followed by a debate moderated by Peter Bach, chairman of the board of eceee. Fiona Hall from Rockwool international asked the presenters if they consider the Paris Climate Agreement as a call for revolutionary way of thinking and how this would impact the current EU climate and energy targets and policies. The four presenters agreed that Paris Climate Agreement is challenging from both science and policy-making perspective. The methodology to estimate emissions reduction to be at 1.5°C is unknown. As a result, the level of emissions reduction that would be needed per region is unknown. Compared to the 2°C scenario, it is clear that additional effort will be needed but policies to consider to close the 1.5°C gap are not yet known. Other questions from the audience included the trade-off between reducing the demand and improving the efficiency of the supply, the impact of energy efficiency on improving air quality and consequently reducing the health impact of energy consumption. The Presenters highlighted that efficient supply doesn’t reduce energy wasted if the demand side is not made efficient. The agreed on the need of a better assessment of various impacts (economic, health…) of energy consumption. There was a consensus in the room about the need of independent evaluation of energy efficiency policies.

Peter Bach closed the seminar on a positive note by highlighting the progress made so far in reducing the energy demand in the EU. We are making progress!

The presentations are available on the eceee website.

One thought on “Reflections on the annual eceee policy seminar

  1. Hans Nilsson sent this comment.

    The seminar was (as always) very useful and provided deepeer insights in the “mechanics” of energy efficiency not to mention that we also got som new metaphores that could be useful. Such as Tylers remark that improving energy efficiency in an existing energy systen is comparable to rebuilding a jet-liner mid-air! Very true as it seems to scare some of the passangers.

    The seminar also opens up for follow-ups on 2 issues necessary for the fundamental rethinking that the Commission has “asked for”.

    1. The need to take customer considerations better into account. We need to understand the concept of “Behavioural Economics” better and to apply it in everyday work. Making energy efficiency default is easy to say but to make!? Here is a challenge.

    2. How to “exploit” the Multiple Benefits. Again easy to say and will probably require new business models (see IEA DSM Task 25). Somewhere out there is a new IKEA but where? What does their “hex key” look like?

    3. How can we combine offers for energy effiency and renewable fuels. Customers are quite interested in being green. Can we deliver a combined product?

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