Thursday

18th Apr 2019

EU energy efficiency directive is 'set up to fail', say critics

  • The EU is not on-track to achieving its energy efficiency target (Photo: Antonio)

Brussels is aware of the need for binding energy efficiency targets but has failed to propose them in its imminent energy savings directive, making it "set up to fail", say critics.

Scheduled for next Wednesday (22 June), the energy efficiency directive outlines ways in which member states can reduce energy wastage, stressing the potential for economic gains and added energy security.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The directive lays down "requirements on the public sector, both as regards renovating the buildings it owns and applying high energy efficiency standards to the purchase of buildings," according to the latest version of text, seen by this website.

A three percent renovation rate for public buildings includes opt-outs for social housing however, with few details on private buildings. The transport sector is also excluded.

Governments must put in place a range of added-efficiency measures for the energy supply sector, including national plans to ensure energy retailers reduce customer consumption by 1.5 percent, compared to the previous year.

The directive notes that the EU is not on track to meet its non-binding energy efficiency goal, but delays a review to 2014 on whether to make this target mandatory.

"The commission's latest estimations ... suggest that the EU will achieve only half of the 20 percent target in 2020," says the draft text.

Sources say an internal commission impact assessment of the directive judges that only a binding target would deliver the required 20 percent savings, a point referred to by EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard on Thursday (16 June).

"It's no law of nature that many member states have continued to expand on renewables ... even during [the crisis years of] 2008, 2009 and 2010," Hedegaard said.

The EU is currently on track to meet its goal of securing 20 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020.

"I believe there is a link to the fact that we have a binding target for renewables, and I do not think it is a co-incidence ... that we are not on track to meet the non-binding energy efficiency target."

Member states are cautious about the added burden of imposing binding energy efficiency targets, but critics say the commission is preparing to publish a document in which it has little confidence itself.

"It's measures propose no clear targets and are the very opposite of concrete," said Brook Riley, energy campaigner with Friends of the Earth.

"The directive is set up to fail and the commission is pandering to the fears and lack of understanding in the member states who don't want more EU legislation."

EU fixes own mistake on 'confusing' energy labels

UPDATED: MEPs approved a new system to inform consumers about the energy efficiency of products. The most important change is abolishing the most recent change to a scale that goes up to A+++.

Single EU railway signalling system faces delays

'A reality check shows that we are already falling a little bit behind in the first few years,' said the new coordinator for the European rail traffic management system (ERTMS).

Single EU railway signalling system faces delays

'A reality check shows that we are already falling a little bit behind in the first few years,' said the new coordinator for the European rail traffic management system (ERTMS).

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us