Further Pressure on EU States to Ensure Energy Efficiency Targets

THE European Commission's top energy official has criticised EU member sates, reports EurActiv, for double language on Europe’s target to cut energy use by 20 percent by the end of the decade.

The head of the Commission's directorate-general for energy, Philip Lowe, criticised EU member state governments for obstructing binding rules to promote energy efficiency, as part of efforts to meet the bloc's target of a 20 percent reduction in energy use by 2020.

We reported back in June that EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger proposed rules obligating energy firms to cut energy sales by 1.5 percent annually, and requiring 3 percent of public buildings annually to be given an energy-efficient update.

EurActive quoted Lowe as saying the Commission made its proposal after EU governments refused to consider making the bloc's 20 percent energy efficiency target legally binding.

Lowe told an EU energy policy seminar held by the Brussels-based think-tank Bruegel, "The conclusion of the last meeting [with governments] was 'well, we don't really like binding measures either'.

"So they don't like binding targets or binding measures, and yet they regard energy efficiency as the most important priority of the European Union. Sorry, but we must stop this."

The bloc's energy efficiency target is designed to reduce Europe's carbon emissions and also control the energy import bill that currently amounts to about €270 billion a year for oil and €40 billion for gas.

Currently the EU is falling far short of its goal, and is set to only achieve about 9 percent efficiency gains by 2020, hence Oettinger revealed he will give EU countries two years to get energy efficiency savings back on target before proposing legally binding targets.

Picture of EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger provided by European Commission.

Tuesday 27th September 2011

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