Saturday

28th May 2022

Denmark seeks breakthrough on EU energy efficiency

  • Oil barrels. Lidegaard: 'What's not glorious is that from 2010-2011 the oil bill of the EU rose by 40 percent, €100 billion extra' (Photo: ezioman)

Less "sexy" than other policy areas, EU energy efficiency efforts are off track due to squabbling among member states on what measures to implement.

But the Danish EU presidency will try to reach an agreement on a new package of laws by June, the responsible minister told this website in an interview.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"I have a feeling many of the countries are more preoccupied about how they can escape their commitments rather than fulfil them," said Martin Lidegaard, Denmark's energy minister ahead of a meeting of his EU counterparts on Tuesday (14 February).

Unlike targets for CO2 emissions and renewable sources, the target of increasing energy efficiency by 20 percent by 2020 "is off track", he said. This is because member states refused to have a binding target and went instead for binding measures. But now many countries are discovering that particular measures - ranging from insulating government-owned buildings to hospitals and schools - are too costly or inadequate.

Lidegaard, who wants an agreement on binding measures by June, points out that EU leaders committed themselves in December to delivering on the 20 percent target "and to do it fast."

The effort is thought likely to create around 2 million jobs.

He admits that the topic is less headline-grabbing than wind or sun energy, but says that it is the "cheapest, quickest and most cost-efficient" way to reach Europe's climate targets.

"What's not glorious is that from 2010-2011 the oil bill of the EU rose by 40 percent, €100 billion extra. That's not glorious. This money could have been invested in jobs, in green growth, in renewables, energy efficiency," Lidegaard said.

"It's true energy efficiency has not been as much of a sexy topic as renewables, but that is a mistake."

Denmark itself went through this phase four years ago, when it created a market for energy savings, allowing companies to charge a small tariff, which was re-invested in energy efficiency.

"In the beginning, both the industry and the energy companies who had this obligation were quite sceptical, saying that it will cost consumers too much. But it has been very beneficial both for the energy companies who got new business and for the consumers, because companies started competing on who can deliver these targets for the cheapest price," the minister said.

"Now we have a situation where they [the energy companies] urge us to increase the level of ambition in energy savings. With our new energy package that we just put on the table, pending parliamentary approval, we will go beyond the 20 percent target."

EU Commission extends borrowing curbs in 2023

The European Commission on Monday proposed to extend suspension of fiscal borrowing rule in 2023 — but advised prudence amid already rising real interest rates.

Commission grilled on RePowerEU €210bn pricetag

EU leaders unveiled a €210bn strategy aiming to cut Russian gas out of the European energy equation before 2027 and by two-thirds before the end of the year — but questions remain on how it is to be financed.

MEPs raise ambition on EU carbon market reform

MEPs on the environment committee agreed on reform of the European carbon market — including expanding it to buildings and transport. They also want to extend the scope of the carbon border tax, and phase out free permits by 2030.

Commission grilled on RePowerEU €210bn pricetag

EU leaders unveiled a €210bn strategy aiming to cut Russian gas out of the European energy equation before 2027 and by two-thirds before the end of the year — but questions remain on how it is to be financed.

News in Brief

  1. Dutch journalists sue EU over banned Russia TV channels
  2. EU holding €23bn of Russian bank reserves
  3. Russia speeds up passport process in occupied Ukraine
  4. Palestinian civil society denounce Metsola's Israel visit
  5. Johnson refuses to resign after Downing Street parties report
  6. EU border police has over 2,000 agents deployed
  7. Dutch tax authorities to admit to institutional racism
  8. Rutte calls for EU pension and labour reforms

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. EU summit will be 'unwavering' on arms for Ukraine
  2. Orbán's new state of emergency under fire
  3. EU parliament prevaricates on barring Russian lobbyists
  4. Ukraine lawyer enlists EU watchdog against Russian oil
  5. Right of Reply: Hungarian government
  6. When Reagan met Gorbachev — a history lesson for Putin
  7. Orbán oil veto to deface EU summit on Ukraine
  8. France aims for EU minimum-tax deal in June

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us