A significant committee of the European Parliament decided on 7 September that the EU’s proposed energy efficiency targets post-2020 should be raised, in order to improve chances of meeting EU obligations under the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Members of the parliament’s environment committee (ENVI) supported increasing the Commission’s proposed 30% legally-binding target to a more substantial 40% as well as closing a number of loopholes that could undermine annual energy savings.
The committee’s opinion came in reaction to the Commission’s proposed Energy Efficiency Directive unveiled in November 2016 as part of the Clean Energy Package, aimed at moving towards a decarbonised economy by 2030.
MEPs in the energy committee (ITRE) are due to adopt their own position on 28 November. As the lead Parliament committee in charge of the directive, they will come under pressure to match the same high standards set by their ENVI counterparts.
Current energy efficiency legislation obliges member states to save the equivalent of 1.5% of energy sold to consumers every year. But there are several loopholes, including exempting the transport sector from the obligations, which mean savings across the EU are reduced to just 0.75%.
Those loopholes were closed by the ENVI lawmakers, meaning member states will have to hit their full targets by increasing the rate of building renovation and promoting more efficient consumer goods, like insulation.
The agreement reached by the committee differs from the so-called general approach brokered by EU energy ministers back in June. That compromise settled on a non-binding target of 30%, after some member states had argued in favour of a 27%.