EU commissioners set 30% energy efficiency target for 2030

Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Energy
Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Energy

The European Commission has put forward proposals to increase member states’ energy efficiency by 30% by 2030.

Commissioners said the target was “higher and achievable” and would give “opportunities for European businesses, affordable energy bills for consumers, increased energy security through a significant reduction of natural gas imports and a positive impact on the environment”.

The proposed target goes beyond the 25% energy savings figure that would be required to achieve a 40% reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.

European leaders will now vote on the proposal at a meeting in October. The proposed target of 30 % builds on the achievements already reached: new buildings use half the energy they did in the 1980s and industry is about 19% less energy intensive than in 2001.

Günther Oettinger, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Energy, said: “Our proposal is the basis to drive the European Union towards increased security of supply, innovation and sustainability, all in an affordable way. It is ambitious and at the same time it is realistic.

“The energy efficiency strategy will complete the 2030 framework on energy and climate which has been presented in January 2014.

Our aim is to give the right signal to the market and encourage further investments in energy saving technologies to the benefit of businesses, consumers and the environment.”

Why is a target being proposed for 2030, and why is it 30%??

Improving the energy efficiency of the economy brings many benefits: it contributes to security of supply, spurs investments in new technologies and therefore contributes to economic growth and the creation of new jobs. Moreover, efforts to increase energy efficiency help to keep the energy bills in check: EU households spend on average 6.4% of their disposal income on energy, about two-thirds for heating and one-third for other purposes.

Of course, it requires upfront investments and there are some costs associated to it. For example, with 25% energy savings, the 2030 framework is estimated to increase the annual average cost of the energy system in the EU by approximately €2 billion per annum in comparison to the business as usual scenario (i.e. with no additional energy efficiency measures, taking into account that some provisions of the EED will be phased out in 2020 unless explicitly prolonged). A target of 30% raises the cost by €22 billion compared to the business as usual scenario.

By setting a target of 30% energy savings by 2030 compared to projections, the EU would commit to not exceeding 1307Mtoe energy consumption in that year. The proposed range reflects the expected costs and benefits and aims to strike the optimal balance.

 

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