Saturday

29th Apr 2017

EU should favour energy efficiency over renewables, says industry

  • Investing in energy-saving technologies will reduce CO2-emissions more than investing in renewable energy, says EU business (Photo: European Community, 2005)

The European Union should focus on increasing energy efficiency rather than on promoting renewable energy if it wants to keep its industrial base and tackle climate change, a major EU business confederation has said.

"By saving on the use of energy, we'll keep our industrial base in Europe which is important for jobs and growth," Ernest-Antoine Seillière, president of BusinessEurope - a Brussels-based business confederation representing 20 million European companies - said on Monday (26 November).

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Saving on energy would reduce costs for European firms, giving a competitive advantage over firms from other countries.

Emerging economies, like Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) are on average less than five times as energy-efficient as EU firms. EU firms are also more energy-efficient than US firms, but less than Japanese.

"It will also helps us tackle the very dramatic problem of climate change," he added, referring to the fact that energy savings usually imply less greenhouse gas emissions.

The business organisation also noted that research conducted by consultancy firm McKinsey for the German economy has shown that there are currently many energy-saving technologies readily available that are profitable and cost-effective.

According to McKinsey, these technologies could lower energy demand by more than 20% by 2020.

But these technologies are seldom applied at the moment because companies, and in particular small and medium-sized companies, often lack the required information or expertise, said Folker Franz, a senior adviser for environmental affairs at BusinessEurope.

The organisation said that despite various green initiatives by the commission as well as the overall EU target of becoming 20% more efficient by 2020, no real priority has been given to energy efficiency.

"We need a stronger sense of urgency. We need to invest now in order to be able to bear the fruits in the coming decades," Mr Seillière said.

If other countries in the world follow the European example, even steeper reductions - up to 25% - in energy consumption and CO2-emissions could be achieved globally.

Renewable energy less effective

The business confederation said it does not believe that renewable energy can bring about the same energy reduction results as an energy-efficiency approach.

"We're in favour of renewable energy, but we don't believe that the 20% reduction target is realistic if we focus on renewables," Mr Sellière said.

"We should also look at whether it is affordable," he added.

A related problem is the existence of 27 national renewable energy programmes in the EU - one per member state, making investments less efficient.

Last minute changes made EU energy paper more nuclear

Following internal dispute in the European Commission, an important discussion paper on energy was re-worded to promote nuclear energy at the expense of renewable energy resources, German daily Die Welt reports.

EU makes the case for nuclear energy

The European commission has called on EU states to consider greater use of nuclear energy in order to avoid increasing dependence on oil and gas imports and to improve the bloc's energy security.

Paris suggests EU tax on imports from non-Kyoto states

France is urging Brussels to consider EU levies for imports from non-Kyoto protocol countries, such as the US and Australia. The European Commission has meanwhile confirmed that it has postponed the unveiling of a sensitive burden-sharing plan on climate change until early next year.

EU boasts unity on Brexit talks

EU leaders adopted the bloc's guidelines for the UK exit negotiations that will start in June, amid concerns that France could elect a president that would try to take it out of the EU.

News in Brief

  1. Vote of no confidence prepared against Spanish PM
  2. Syria to buy Russian anti-missile system
  3. Germany seeks partial burka ban
  4. Libya has no plan to stop migration flows
  5. EU has no evidence of NGO-smuggler collusion in Libya
  6. Poland gets 'final warning' on logging in ancient forest
  7. Commission gives Italy final warning on air pollution
  8. Romania and Slovenia taken to court over environment policies

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCharlotte Hornets' Nicolas Batum Tells Kids to "Eat Well, Drink Well, Move!"
  2. ECR GroupSyed Kamall: We Need a New, More Honest Relationship With Turkey
  3. Counter BalanceParliament Sends Strong Signal to the EIB: Time to Act on Climate Change
  4. ACCARisks and Opportunities of Blockchain and Shared Ledgers Technologies in Financial Services
  5. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  7. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  8. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  9. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  10. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  11. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  12. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process