Exec wavering between two energy efficiency targets for 2030
The Commission may propose a 2030 energy efficiency target of either 30% or 35%, a leaked document seen by Europolitics shows
July highlights that by continuing its energy savings commitment beyond 2020, the bloc could cut its gas use by 115 or 160 billion cubic metres (bcm) per year by 2030 compared to ‘business as usual’, and its annual gas imports by 90 or 120 bcm, depending on which of the two efficiency scenarios gets into the final document. For comparison, the EU’s gas imports from Russia were 90 bcm in 2012, the document notes
“The moderation of energy demand is indeed a powerful way to reduce the EU’s external energy dependency,” it says. “Every additional 1% in energy savings cuts gas imports by 2.3%.”
The Commission predicts that a 30% target would triple gas savings in the construction sector, which is the largest consumer of gas. A new target would also help boost the EU’s GDP by 0.9% or 1.8% per year by 2030 linked to energy efficiency investments, it says.
Furthermore, the Commission expects to see a “net employment” increase of 650,000 or 1,100,000 based on the assumption that “on average, €1 million invested in energy efficiency measures in the buildings sector creates 17 jobs”. Speaking to journalists on 18 June, Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger dismissed the idea of a 40% target as politically “not realistic”. “We are checking which figure is realistic and cost-effective,” he said.
The EU currently has a non-binding target to improve its energy efficiency by 20% by 2020. For 2030, Oettinger wants to propose a target that is binding at EU level, while leaving it to the member states to decide how they want to achieve it. “Member states should decide the weight they will put on energy efficiency,” the draft communication says. However, the Commission would check that the total commitments equal the overall EU target, the document adds. Another source of flexibility could be to break up the target into a fixed component and one that is proportionate to GDP, the draft suggests.
In the impact assessment accompanying the communication, the Commission’s preferred split is 37% and 63%, respectively. The 2030 target would be defined as absolute primary energy consumption of no more than 1,312 or 1,218 million tonnes of oil equivalent (mtoe), according to the communication.
In: Environment & Energy