While European Union leaders are claiming global leadership towards COP21, in-house actions seem to follow another path. The latest Council proposal on the Energy Efficiency Directive prepared ahead of the COREPER meeting on 14th June reveals a worrying mismatch between good intentions and actions.
The new Maltese Presidency proposal on the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) seeks to further weaken the provision on energy savings obligations in Article 7. If the new proposal is adopted as it stands, its excessive allowance for flexibility, double-counting and exemptions would require Member States to realize only 10% to 20% of the current annual energy savings target of 1.5%. This is notably due to the latest proposal to count all savings from new buildings regardless of whether those are additional to existing minimum EU regulation set out in the buildings directive.
Buildings represent 40% of the EU energy consumption, with over three quarters of them being inefficient. Framed adequately, Article 7 has an enormous potential to be a driver for increasing energy renovation across the EU and therefore unleash the contribution of buildings to CO2 reduction. Yet the new text would mean that the energy saving potential of the building sector would remain largely untapped.
Citizens expect a clear EU international leadership role under the Paris agreement, but also at home where tangible benefits of energy efficiency can improve their lives: new jobs, lower energy bills, jobs, health and well-being improvements. The financial sector¹ is ready to step in with funding, but for this to happen a solid and progressive energy efficiency framework has to be in place.
While the EPBD is being revised to strengthen long term energy renovation strategies, it would be extremely disappointing if EED Article 7 would allow Member States to run away from their responsibility to accelerate renovation. Article 7 should lead to real new energy savings in the building sector and support implementation of the national long term renovation strategies.
In this light, EuroACE urges Member States to ensure that EED Art. 7 helps in scaling up energy renovation. “Without strong signals and ambitious legislation in place on energy efficiency, not only does Europe risk its leadership in the climate change arena, but it will lose all the multiple benefits intrinsically connected with building renovation for its citizens” says Adrian JOYCE, Secretary General of EuroACE. “We need to have the right instruments and willingness to make the Paris agreement work”.
¹ The recent statement from the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) is available here