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EU Businesses Call for EU Action on Energy Efficiency

EU Businesses Call for EU Action on Energy Efficiency

SOME of Europe’s biggest businesses have written an open letter to the European Council (EC) calling for energy efficiency to be at the heart of the EU’s climate and energy strategy for 2030.

The businesses represented by the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) addressed the letter to Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council and Antonis Samaras, Prime Minister of Greece, who holds the revolving EU presidency. They wish that “the European debate should not be framed as if there is a choice between competitiveness and taking action on climate change”

The organizations including Philips, Siemens and Shneider Electric and 28 others want Brussels to take note ahead of an EU meeting on March 20. They all want emphasis on energy efficiency arguing that it is vital to achieve climate change targets, and for economic competitiveness along with energy security.

They also highlight, with the European austerity policy in mind, that every penny counts and energy efficiency savings make substantial cost reductions, benefiting the bottom line, claiming Europe could save one to two trillion euros between 2020-2030.

By framing their debate through reference to the European austerity policy, the companies suggest that at a time when every cent matters, energy efficiency savings could give sizeable gains. The letter states: “Cost-effective efficiency opportunities are under-exploited by companies and consumers because of entrenched market, government, regulatory and financial failures.”

The group of companies also argue that energy efficiency should be prioritised as it would make Europe less dependent on energy imports - certainly brought sharply into focus with the Ukraine crisis.

Director for Business Environment, Nicola Walker, for one of the authors the CBI, said about the approach: “Progress towards setting an ambitious but credible emissions reduction target of 40% for 2030 is crucial for British businesses at the European Council. Alongside long-term reform of the Emissions Trading System, this target will help to deliver a more robust carbon price at EU level and drive vital investment.

“Industrial competitiveness is at the heart of the 2030 package but EU support for energy intensive industries must be improved to ensure low carbon ambition translates into real market opportunities for all sectors of the economy.

“We urge all Member States to make this package a reality as soon as possible, giving flexibility to different countries to meet it in the most cost-effective way.”

The group of organisations conclude the letter calling for the EC to take ambitious action on energy efficiency based on three main points:

  • That energy efficiency is fundamental to European competitiveness and must be the foundation of future energy and climate policy.
  • That Europe cannot afford to leave cost-effective energy efficiency opportunities unexploited.
  • Asking the European Commission to develop new proposals for binding energy efficiency goals and measures by October 2014.

The meeting on March 20, is the first ordinary Council meeting since the 2030 30% renewable energy target backed by the European Parliament in February.

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Picture of European Commission meeting room by JLogan (Own work) [href="">GFDL, href="">CC-BY-SA-3.0 or href="">CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0], href="">via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday 19th March 2014