The European Commission today presented its proposals for an energy saving directive. The Greens criticised the lack of ambition in the proposals, which will make it difficult for the EU to achieve its target of reducing energy consumption 20% by 2020. Commenting on the proposals, Green energy spokesperson Claude Turmes said:
"The proposed directive contains too many loopholes to ensure the EU can meet its 20% energy savings target. Clearly, the absence of binding national targets, which have been postponed to 2014, is the biggest deficiency but there are other crucial gaps in the proposals.
"The proposed 'energy saving obligation' on energy suppliers has also been watered-down, following intense industry lobbying. The final proposals on energy saving obligation are a fudge, which will allow energy suppliers to avoid making actual reductions and instead count immeasurable investments towards the 1.5% savings obligation. This loophole, in what is a key area of the directive, is not only a serious blow to attempts to reach the EU energy savings target, it will prevent the shift away from the current outdated business model of selling energy by unit to a new model based on ‘energy efficiency services’.
"While the directive sets out how to implement the 3% annual target for retrofitting public buildings to improve their energy performance, this target too has been weakened by loopholes. It will only apply to buildings above 250 m² and only to buildings owned by public authorities, thus excluding all buildings used by public authorities, which are leased.
"It is clear that energy commissioner Oettinger is more concerned with keeping the big energy utilities happy than pushing for a paradigm shift in EU energy policy. The EP and progressive governments will now have to work hard to add flesh to the skeleton EU Commission has proposed today."