Clean energy package stumbles at first hurdle
Energy ministers set about weakening the EU’s energy efficiency laws today, taking a step backwards both for the climate and the green economy as they adopted their position on the Energy Efficiency Directive revision.
Imke Lübbeke, head of climate and energy at WWF European Policy Office, said:
“The EU’s ‘Clean Energy for all Europeans’ package has limped off the starting blocks and stumbled at the first hurdle. It should have been a no-brainer to support strong energy efficiency measures given the economic, climate and social benefits of doing so, and the ambition required by the Paris Agreement. Despite this, Member States have rushed to appease the lowest common denominator to reach a quick but bad deal, rather than putting in more time to try and get a better deal.”
EU ministers agreed on a 30% energy savings targets for 2030 - far less than the 40% target supported previously by the European Parliament, without clearly indicating whether this will be binding or indicative. They undermined the current rule that states countries should save 1.5% energy per year by decreasing this objective to 1% between 2026 and 2030 and by adding additional loopholes.
Ministers also agreed on an unambitious revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), which does nothing to increase the rate of energy renovations in buildings; today only about 1% of buildings per year are renovated for energy efficiency improvements.
Arianna Vitali, senior policy officer at WWF European Policy Office, said:
“Our buildings still guzzle a whopping 40% of EU energy, and today’s agreement does little to tackle this. Wasted energy, high fuel bills, air pollution and a warming climate will be the price to pay for this lack of ambition unless MEPs are far more progressive.”
The European Parliament’s energy committee (ITRE) is expected to adopt its reports on the two directives, EED and EPBD, in October. After that, negotiations between the two institutions will begin.
Note for the editor:
Discussions in the Energy Council on the Energy Efficiency Directive revision were long and difficult today as Member States were split and compromise was only reached after long negotiations. The more progressive countries in the energy efficiency discussions today were Germany, Denmark, France, Sweden, Luxembourg and Ireland. UK, Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia, Romania could not even support the final weak deal. Issues dividing Member States included the 2030 energy efficiency target, particularly whether it should be binding or indicative, and the “energy savings obligation” which requires countries to save 1.5% energy per year, particularly the scope of the exemptions and flexibilities that will be allowed after 2020 to comply with Art. 7.
Senior Communications Officer, WWF European Policy Office
Tel: +32 4 73 57 31 37