EU Parliament: Energy efficiency boosted, but renewables busted

Posted on 28 November 2017

Three cheers for MEPs on efficiency, but a toothless result on renewables.
Brussels, Belgium - 28 November 2017

The European Parliament’s energy and industry committee (ITRE) today gave energy efficiency a new lease of life in Europe, but dealt a blow to renewable energy development.

On energy efficiency, MEPs supported a 40% binding overall target for 2030, with binding national targets, as well as strong rules on annual energy savings.

Arianna Vitali, Senior Policy Officer for energy conservation WWF European Policy Office said:

“Three cheers for MEPs on the ITRE committee! They rejected an attempt to paralyse energy efficiency, instead choosing to boost it via a major dose of forward-looking policy - including a 40% binding target. This puts efficiency right where it belongs, at the centre of the zero carbon transition the Paris Agreement requires.

“MEPs need to reaffirm this position in plenary, so that the EU Parliament can go into trilogue negotiations with its head held high.”

On renewable energy, ITRE supported a 35% EU target for  2030, but with no binding national targets and with up to 10% ‘flexibility’.

Alex Mason, Senior Policy Officer, Renewable Energy, WWF European Policy Office, said:

“MEPs have gone with a toothless proposal. A 35% EU target for renewable energy is better than the European Commission’s proposal of 27% - but not by much. And with a 10% ‘flexibility’ margin it could end up being only 31.5%. This sends a message to investors that the EU is scaling back on renewable energy.

"In heat, and transport, MEPs have voted for new, higher renewables targets. Which would be great, but with no meaningful rules on bioenergy they’re likely to be met by burning unsustainable and polluting biomass - a recipe for disaster [1]. For most heat and transport the answer is electrification, combined with storage, demand-side flexibility and energy from wind and solar.”

[1] In October, the European Parliament’s environment committee (ENVI) voted in favour of continued subsidies to burning trees for energy, in a defeat for science, the climate and forests - and the EU’s reputation on climate change. More

Further information:
The Energy Efficiency Directive will go to a plenary vote in 15-18 January  2018, and then trilogue negotiations between the EU Commission, Parliament and Council will begin, since Member States already reached their position in June 2017.

The Renewable Energy Directive will be discussed by Member States on 18 December, at which ministers are expected to reach their position. It will go to a Parliament plenary vote in early 2018, after which  trilogue negotiations between the EU Commission, Parliament and Council will begin.

Calendar of the Clean Energy Package negotiations:
Revision of Renewable Energy Directive
European Parliament Environment Committee: 11.10.2017 (advisory role and co-decision on bio-energy)
Energy Committee: 28.11.2017
Plenary: Q1 2018
Council of Ministers
Energy Council: 18.12.2017
Revision of Energy Efficiency Directive
European Parliament Environment Committee: 07.09.2017 (advisory role)
Energy Committee: 28.11.2017
Plenary: January 2018
Council of Ministers
Energy Council: 26.06.2017
Governance of the Energy Union Regulation
European Parliament Environment & Energy Committees: 7.12.2017
Plenary: Q1 2018
Council of Ministers
Energy Council: 18.12.2017
Electricity Market Design Initiative
European Parliament Environment Committee: 20.11.2017 (advisory role)
Energy Committee: early 2018
Plenary: Q1 2018
Council of Ministers
Energy Council: 18.12.2017

Sarah Azau
Senior Communications Officer
WWF European Policy Office
+32 473 573 31