EU States Split on Energy Efficiency Targets

European Union (EU) state representatives are struggling to agree a negotiating mandate as they consider discussion with the European Parliament on the proposed EU energy efficiency directive.

It is reported that there are strong differences about the level of commitment and targets for energy efficiency across the various states.

The current Danish EU presidency made a priority of achieving a first reading agreement on the directive, but they are getting anxious as talks are delayed.

The Parliament's industry committee last month announced their position and the European Council discussions continue today.

The disagreements have arisen over how to define the 1.5 percent annual energy savings requirement, with energy suppliers under the current proposals having to ensure that their customers save 1.5 percent of energy consumption annually, but also how to calculate the amount of effort needed to attain this figure is at the foundation of the disagreement.

States that have acted ‘early on’, like Austria, wish these efforts to be taken into account, meanwhile, other countries want to include their predicted future energy savings, which generally exceed the non-binding 20 percent target that the EU directive sets for 2020.

The European Commission has already submitted a paper stating that it could support ‘lifetime savings', but not any earlier energy efficiency results.

The fear for many, including the Danish presidency, is that the European Parliament could reject the current proposal, demanding a second reading, leading ultimately to the European Commission withdrawing its proposal – a severe embarrassment for the Danish presidency.

Alternatively the presidency could find that it is going into discussions with a mandate that is the minimum of what the Parliament can agree on, or in the end risking the less willing member states blocking the agreement.

Picture of the European Commission by Tiseb reproduced under CCL.

Wednesday 4th April 2012

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