EP adopts crucial new law; swift implementation urged to maximise EU energy savings drive
The European Parliament today adopted new EU legislation on energy efficiency and savings (1). The EP's draftsperson/rapporteur, Green MEP Claude Turmes, welcomed the vote but called for swift implementation and the reorientation of public policy and funds to ensure these job-creating measures can be delivered. After the vote, the EP rapporteur/draftsperson Claude Turmes said:
"This essential legislation is not only crucial for achieving our energy security and climate goals, it will also give a real boost to the economy and create jobs. Crucially, it will reduce the sizeable and growing cost of our dependence on energy imports - €488 billion in 2011 or 3.9% of EU GDP - which is particularly stark in crisis-hit countries.
"Policy at EU and national level must now be reoriented with a view to swiftly implementing and fully maximising the benefits of these new rules, which are a concrete tool for responding to the economic crisis. This includes mobilising European funds - such as Structural Funds, project bonds and European Investment Bank funds - to support energy efficiency and savings, as well as creating training programmes - notably with a youth focus - with a view to creating employment in the sector and tackling unemployment.
"This directive enshrines the EU's 20% energy savings target in a legal framework and sets out binding measures (1), which will bring the EU closer to realising the target of reducing energy consumption 20% by 2020. However, clearly more needs to be done to fully close the gap and the Commission must now outline further measures to this end. This makes economic sense, as it would stimulate economic activity and create millions of jobs, bring down energy bills for businesses and households, and reduce our dependence on energy imports."
(1) The legislation includes a number of crucial measures that will deliver concrete energy savings. Member states will have to set out a roadmap for achieving energy savings of 80% in the buildings sector by 2050. Energy companies will also be tasked with delivering 1.5% in annual savings across all end-use sectors, even if this obligation was regrettably watered-down by EU governments. Binding financial instruments and better consumer information (such as through the use of smart meters) are among the other detailed measures included, as are demand response measures that will potentially reduce costs of balancing energy and reduce energy bills.