EU Under Pressure to Raise Efficiency Target
Members of the European Union are braced for the release today of 1,000 pages of legislation meant to set the continent’s direction on climate and energy.
The so-called “Winter Package” contains eight sections covering a broad array of energy policies. The package is expected to set a framework for “capacity remuneration mechanisms” across the Union “to ensure coherence, cross-border participation, and avoid market distortions,” EU climate chief Miguel Arias Cañete said in a speech.
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That may include “strict environmental criteria to avoid giving wrong incentives that might lead to stranded assets as our emission cap gets tighter,” Cañete said.
Draft text leaked earlier this month suggested the European Commission may hike its target for improving the energy efficiency of Europe’s economy from 27% by 2030 to 30%.
“My position is clear,” Cañete said. “If you want to perform, you need a binding target…at least at the EU level, so you have a benchmark. 27% is not enough. 30% delivers enormous benefits.”
Last week, the Paris-based Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (ISDIR) warned that the EU is significantly “off track” from that goal, and called for “a massive new drive to get more diesel cars off the road and close more coal-fired power stations.”
The same push is backed by several business groups.
One coalition of leading European businesses, including Philips and Veolia, is urging an even higher 40% energy efficiency target. “Europe must increase the scale and rate [of efficiency improvements] to meet its Paris climate commitments,” the coalition said in a letter. “If we want to secure a cost-effective energy transition, both a binding ambition for energy efficiency and a clear, long-term vision are needed.”
According to another business-backed organization, the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE), maintaining “the current 27% target would merely slow down the current rate of energy productivity [improvement] in the EU.”