The new EU energy efficiency target is 30% by 2030, the European Commission announced yesterday. This figure must now be approved by the European Council, which may happen in October when heads of state discuss the 2030 climate and energy package.
What can be said about the target? First of all, it is not very ambitious, taking into account the political support from some Member States and public support for energy efficiency by Jean-Claude Juncker, President-elect of the European Commission.
This lack of ambition comes to mind when thinking about the money energy savings can bring, jobs it can help create, economic sectors it can boost and energy security it can increase.
It seems as though energy efficiency has been sacrificed for the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
In January, the Commission proposed a 40% greenhouse gas reduction target by 2030. Energy efficiency must now fit within this politically decided GHG target and ETS ambition, regardless of its potential and importance for society and the economy. It looks like the 30% energy savings target is the result of a decision taken in the wrong order.
So the start of energy efficiency in the new political cycle is not very spectacular. One must now look at other elements of the puzzle that will be added later. For the time being, the target has not been described in detail and we still don’t know whether it will be binding and how it will be shared between member states. There are also other elements, like energy efficiency measures, which will show their effectiveness in the near future. It seems likely they may need to be improved, and a good governance structure will be essential for ensuring real EU energy savings.