Revised EU Energy Efficiency Directive now requires effective implementation

The EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive was recently revised to reflect a more ambitious approach that is definitely needed. The transposition of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) into national law will be a measure of Member State resolve to honour their Paris Agreement commitments, writes Miroslav Poche, the European Parliament’s rapporteur on energy efficiency and the governance of the energy union, in an article in The Parliament Magazine.

 

The Energy Efficiency Directive will test national commitments

The adoption of the revised EED is an important step in embracing the clean energy transition and the previously adopted 2030 climate legislation to meet the Paris Agreement commitments.

The adoption is, however, only the start of the journey.

Many implementation questions remain to be solved when the new European Parliament and Commission arrive in July and November 2019, respectively.

The next Commission will have to actively enforce proper implementation of the EED. The transposition into national law will be the first test of the member states’ resolve on the energy transition and of turning their commitments under the Paris Agreement into concrete actions.

Unfortunately, the implementation process of the 2012 Directive has shown that promises are not always followed by action; this resulted in 27 Member States facing infringement procedures for failing to notify the Commission on national measures launched to transpose the Directive into national law.

This clearly raises the question of how to ensure that Member States deliver on their targets.

The Governance Regulation is supposed to be solution; it is a vital instrument for achieving the overall objectives of the Energy Union and the EU targets.

However, this can only be achieved if there is understanding, cooperation and action at all levels – consumers, SMEs, industries, corporations, local authorities or national governments.

Collective and fair action by all is the only way to achieve ambitious action on climate change. What we need now is proper implementation and enforcement, to ensure member states fulfil their targets and promises.

In the coming years, the next Commission is likely to propose new policies to ensure that Europe is on track towards reaching its 2030 energy and climate targets as well as potentially increasing ambitions.

I strongly believe that the Commission should further focus on strengthening the European emissions trading scheme (ETS).

The results of the ETS reforms have not met expectations, despite a boost from recent reforms.

Low carbon prices and the fact that parallel policies such as energy efficiency, RES support, nuclear support and coal phase-outs are reducing the prospects for a sufficient carbon price, only go to prove that the current ETS is inefficient.

The EU ETS price is clearly insufficient in the short term, as it does not send a strong or credible-enough signal for decarbonisation in the medium to long term.

One solution might be to introduce a floor carbon price on emissions. This mechanism would protect investors against sudden ETS price drops, encourage businesses to make more low-carbon investments and speed up the transition to a low-carbon economy.

For inspiration, since April 2013, British electricity generation has already been subject to a minimum carbon price and the Dutch government is planning to introduce a similar floor price, beginning at €18 in 2020 and rising to €43 by 2030.

In relation to my work on the revision of the EED, I was also entrusted with being a rapporteur for the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and the Council on the adjustment of European energy efficiency targets.

It is worth noting that there are only eight Brexit-related files that will have to be adopted prior to the UK withdrawal from the European Union, if it happens. The EED is one of them.

The proposal is, in general, a technical proposal designed to recalculate the value of European commitments in the field of energy savings.

The final agreement with the Council states that, by 2030, a reduction in energy consumption by 32.5 percent should be achieved at the level of primary and/or final energy consumption, which means that the consumption of the EU28 should not exceed 1273 Mtoe in primary energy and 956 Mtoe in final energy in 2030.

The expected UK consumption projection will have to be subtracted from this number. This converts the numbers to 1128 Mtoe at primary and 846 Mtoe for final energy consumption for the EU27 countries.

My proposals were technical. It was important to clarify that both primary and final consumption have their own targets.

We also had to shorten the suggested provision for the entry into force of the legislation.

However, I must highlight that there has been a highly constructive approach from all the shadow rapporteurs, as well as from the Council.

It has been obvious that nobody wishes to create new problems in the complex Brexit-related environment we face.

I believe that the plenary will adopt the text in February and that the Council will not propose any modifications.

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