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EU directive is first step, but more ambition needed

27 June 2011
EU directive is first step, but more ambition needed

LONDON: The European Commission has proposed a new set of measures to put the EU back on track to achieve Europe’s 20% energy efficiency target.

The proposals aim to push forward key actions of the Energy Efficiency Plan which was put forward by the European Commission on March 8, 2011, and was welcomed by the European Parliament.

Building upon the existing Directives for Cogeneration and Energy Services, the new directive will encourage Member States to accelerate energy efficiency at all levels, from energy production and distribution to consumption.

Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner responsible for Energy said: "Our proposal aims at making the way we use energy in our daily life more efficient and at helping citizens, public authorities and the industry to better manage their energy consumption, which should also lead to a reduced energy bill. It also creates an important potential for new jobs throughout the EU."

The directive comes at a time when Europe’s competitiveness is threatened by the fact that if no steps are taken to improve energy efficiency, the EU will only achieve half their target, with only 10% energy efficiency.

The Commission’s proposals for Member States include the following:

  • There is to be a legal obligation to start energy saving schemes
  • Public bodies are to be legally obliged to use energy efficient products and services to trigger large-scale up-take
  • SME’s are to receive incentives for energy audits
  • National energy regulators must take energy efficiency into account when approving network tariffs

The new Directive states that the European Commission will review progress of the proposals towards achieving the 20% target in 2014.

Luc Bas, Director of European Programs, The Climate Group says: "The draft Energy Efficiency Directive represents a setback to the original EU Commission’s plans and does not provide enough clarity on Member States’ obligations, although the 3% target for public building renovations is a good start. We do need sharper legislation to push forward public and private investment and really use energy efficiency measures as a lever for the Clean Revolution in Europe."

Read the Energy Efficiency Directive.

See our Europe work.

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