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Printed: 23.05.2018.


PrintThe EU`s transition to a low-carbon era is taking shape

Eugene Eteris, European Studies Faculty, RSU, BC International Editor, Copenhagen, 11.05.2017.
The Second Report on the State of the Energy Union shows that the modernisation of the European Union economy and the transition to a low-carbon era are happening. In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency and renewable energy, Europe is on track to reach its 2020 targets. To further drive this process, the Commission today is announcing a new Energy Union tour.

170509_eugen_eteris.jpg

 

In line with its commitment to report annually on the state of the Energy Union, the European Commission is publishing today its Second State of the Energy Union Report. This report looks at the progress made since the publication of the first State of the Energy Union in November 2015. These reports are central elements to monitor the implementation of this key priority of the Juncker Commission.  

 

Maroš Šefčovič, the Vice-President responsible for the Energy Union, said: "The Energy Union is about more than energy and climate alone; it is about accelerating the fundamental modernisation of Europe's entire economy, making it low-carbon, energy and resource efficient, in a socially fair manner. We should also strengthen the Energy Union's external dimension, to enhance the EU's global leadership role. Now that a large part of the relevant legislative proposals are on the table, 2017 should be the year of implementation. This is the message that I will bring to Member States during the new Energy Union tour, which I will launch on 3 February".


Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, said: "Europe is well on track to meet its 2020 climate and energy targets. Despite the current geopolitical uncertainties, Europe is forging ahead with the clean energy transition. There is no alternative. And the facts speak for themselves: renewable energy is now cost-competitive and sometimes cheaper than fossil fuels, employs over one million people in Europe, attracts more investments than many other sectors, and has reduced our fossil fuels imports bill by €16 billion. Now, efforts will need to be sustained as Europe works with its partners to lead the global race to a more sustainable, competitive economy."


Since the publication of the first State of the Energy Union, several trends in the EU's transition to a low-carbon economy were continued and strengthened. The Commission will carry out further in-depth analysis of Member States' policies, using the new Energy Union Tour throughout 2017.


For the Energy Union, 2016 was the year of delivery where the vision of the Energy Union Framework Strategy was further translated into concrete legislative and non-legislative initiatives, above all with the "Clean Energy for all Europeans" package presented in November 2016.


The EU as a whole has continued to make good progress on delivering the Energy Union objectives, in particular on the 2020 energy and climate targets (see MEMO/17/162 and MEMO/17/163). It has already achieved its 2020 final energy consumption target. The same is true for greenhouse gas emissions: in 2015, EU greenhouse gas emissions were 22% below the 1990 level. The EU is also on track in the renewable sector where – based on 2014 data – the share of renewables reached 16 % of the EU's gross final energy consumption. Another important trend is that the EU continues to successfully decouple its economic growth from its greenhouse gas emissions. During the 1990-2015 period, the EU's combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 50%, while total emissions decreased by 22%.


Following the conclusion of the Paris Agreement in December 2015, it was the swift ratification by the EU that enabled the entry into force of the first-ever universal, legally-binding global climate deal on 4 November 2016.


In a fast-changing geopolitical environment, a successful Energy Union is crucial to protect the long term economic interests and well-being of Europe and of Europeans. That is why work on the Energy Union in the past months has included a reinforced focus on energy diplomacy, designed to strengthen security of energy supply, to expand exports of EU low carbon technology solutions and to boost Europe's industrial competitiveness.


In 2016, the Commission also presented a European low emission mobility strategy with a clear ambition: by mid-century, greenhouse gas emissions from transport should be at least 60 % lower than in 1990 and be firmly on the path towards zero, while ensuring the mobility needs of people and goods as well as global connectivity.

 

For more information see:

Second State of the Energy Union Communication and all accompanying documents adopted today can be found on the Commission's website; = MEMO/17/162 on progress report energy efficiency; = MEMO/17/163 on progress report renewables; = For information about the 2017 Energy Union issues see the website of Energy Union Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič.


Source: Commission Press release IP-17-161 “Europe’s energy transition is well underway”, Brussels, 1.02.2017, in: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-17-161_en.htm?locale=en#039;s%20energy%20transition%20is%20well%20underway&lang=da


Renewable energy

Renewables: Europe on track to reach its 20% target by 2020

Brussels, 1 February 2017

Renewable energy progress report just published

How is Europe performing in renewable energy?

Having achieved a share of 16% renewables in its final energy consumption in 2014 and an estimated share of close to 16.4% in 2015, the EU as a whole is well on track to reach its 20% target by 2020. However, Member States will have to keep up their efforts in order to reach their national goals.

Europe as a whole is performing well in its deployment of renewables. In 2011, renewables generated 21.7% of the EU's electricity; three years later, this figure has reached 27.5%, and it is expected to climb to 50% by 2030. The EU's initial efforts in promoting the use of renewables facilitated this continued growth which resulted in lowered renewable costs: the prices of photovoltaic modules fell by 80% between the end of 2009 and the end of 2015. Renewables have now become cost-competitive, and sometimes even cheaper than fossil fuels.

The renewable energy sector plays a key role for the EU economy with a turnover of around €144bn in 2014 and more than one million people employed.

European investments have dropped by more than half since 2011 to €44bn last year, while global investments in renewable energy continue to increase to above €260bn.

Why are renewables a key component of the Energy Union strategy and of EU leadership?

The Renewable Energy Directive[1] has been and will continue to be a central element of the Energy Union policy and a key driver for providing clean energy for all Europeans, with the aim of making the EU world number one in renewables – and it is relevant to all five dimensions of the Energy Union.

 

  1. Renewables have played a major role in energy security. Their estimated contribution to fossil fuel import savings in 2015 was €16bn and it is projected to be €58bn in 2030.[2]
  2. Thanks to fast decreasing costs, renewables can gradually be integrated into the market. The recast of the Renewables Directive together with the Market Design proposals[3] will further enable the participation of renewables on an equal footing to other energy sources.

  3. Renewables go hand in hand with energy efficiency. In the electricity sector, fuel switching from combustible fossil fuels to non-combustible renewables could reduce primary energy consumption.[4] In the building sector, renewables solutions can improve the energy performance of buildings in a cost-effective way.

  4. Renewables are one of the pillars of decarbonisation. In 2015, renewables contributed to reducing EU greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 436 MtCO2eq, the equivalent of the emissions of Italy.[5]

  5. Renewables play a major role in making the EU a global leader in innovation. With EU countries holding 30% of patents in renewables globally, the EU has been a pioneer in this field and is committed to prioritising research and innovation to further drive the energy transition.

 

What is the role of renewables in reaching the Paris climate goals?

At the 2015 Climate Change Conference in Paris, Europe committed itself to contributing to limiting the global rise in temperature to only 1.5°. Renewables, together with energy efficiency, are key to reaching this goal.

 

Will Europe reach its binding target of at least 27% renewables by 2030?

The Clean Energy for All Europeans package, presented by the Commission last November, contains the main provisions to enable Member States to collectively reach the target of at least 27% renewable energy by 2030. This will be made possible through coordinated action in renewables, energy efficiency, and market design, and ensured through a strong governance process.

 


Do Member States' performances differ significantly?

In 2009, the Renewable energy directive (2009/28/EU) defined renewable energy and renewable transport targets, as well the pathway that each Member State should follow to reach them.[6]


In 2014 all EU countries except one[7] showed a renewable energy share which was equal to or higher than their indicative pathway. In 2015, 25 Member States exceeded their indicative pathways, with some even surpassing their 2020 targets.


Can interconnections bridge these differences?

Interconnections can facilitate power exchange between Member States, thus reducing congestion and making renewables more profitable in certain areas. With targets of 10% of installed electricity production capacity by 2020 and 15% by 2030, interconnections will not only facilitate power exchange and improve price signals but also reinforce security of supply and guarantee a European approach to renewable power.


Can we say that the European economy is growing thanks to renewables?

With a turnover of around €144bn in 2014, the renewables industry is indeed a major contributor to the EU economy.


In terms of job creation, renewables also have an added value since renewable energy creates more jobs per unit of energy generated than, for example, fossil fuels.


Moreover, renewables are local: the renewable economy depends very little on imported fuels and material, and therefore the added value is kept at EU level and results in contributions to economic growth.


Is Europe spending or saving thanks to renewables deployment?

Renewable energy should be seen as an investment, rather than an expense. At a micro level, renewables reimburse the upfront costs of installation with operation and maintenance expenditure that is usually substantially lower than that of fossil alternatives. Moreover, once the technology has been installed, renewables such as wind and solar remain available virtually free of charge.


At a macro, EU level, renewables reduced the EU's energy import bill by around €16bn in 2015: this could grow to around €58bn by 2030. As in the area of energy efficiency, renewables are therefore a profitable long-term investment that will bring future benefits and independence.


Have renewables made a difference to consumers' bills?

Renewables have lowered European costs at a wholesale level, but benefits for consumersare yet to come:


  • At a wholesale level, the more we use renewables, the cheaper electricity will become. Every percentage increase in renewables' share of the market will decrease the market price by €0.4 per megawatt-hour[8].

  • At a domestic level, the share of EU taxes and levies used to support renewable energy and combined heat and power has steadily increased. The share of renewables and combined heat and power support costs ranged from 0% to 23% of the retail electricity price in 2015, depending on the Member State.


How do renewables empower consumers to become active market participants?

Consumers are the drivers of energy transition. The distributed nature of renewables, the increasingly competitive costs of renewable technologies, and new developments in smart grids, smart homes, and battery storage solutions make it possible for energy consumers – both at a domestic and an industrial level - to become active players on the market:

  • In Germany, a typical four-person family household can save almost €680 each year on its annual electricity costs by installing a 4 kWp PV system;
  • In Italy, an average household can save about €720 per year on its electricity bill, with a pay-back period of about 7-9 years, depending on the region;[9]

  • Small- and medium-sized enterprises can also benefit from renewables. For example, an Italian food-processing company installed a rooftop solar panel on its production facility and used 89% of the solar panel electricity produced on site (this is known as the self-consumption rate). This resulted in an annual electricity bill saving of about 35% and an annual reduction in CO2 emissions of over 200 tons.[10]


How will further clean energy transition take place?

The "Clean Energy for All Europeans" package includes provisions to support the energy transition towards higher shares of renewables, especially in the buildings, transport and industry sectors. To this extent, it identifies several key areas for action:

  1. Strengthening the regulatory certainty for investments by further "Europeanising" renewables policy. This will further encourage deployment of renewables in particular in the Electricity sector;

2.       Mainstreaming renewables in the Heating and Cooling sector;

3.       Decarbonising and diversifying the Transport sector;

4.       Empowering and informing consumers;

5.       Strengthening the EU sustainability criteria for bioenergy;

6.       Making sure that the EU level binding target is achieved on time and in a cost-effective way.


Who will pay for it?

While global investments in renewable energy continue to increase to above €260bn, European investments have dropped by more than half since 2011 to €44bn last year. Today, the EU accounts for only 18%[11] of total global investment in renewables, down from close to 50% only six years ago.


New sources of investments need to be unlocked to reach the €379bn of investment needed on an annual basis to achieve the EU's climate and energy targets:


  • Currently, 25% of the €154bn allocated under the European Fund for Strategic Investments is linked to energy where renewable energy is among the priorities; furthermore, €27bn per year is devoted to public and private research and development and innovation in Energy Union-related areas, to support concrete industrial and economic opportunities.

  • The European Fund for Strategic Investments will be strengthened and expanded to the end of 2020, thereby increasing the total investment target from €314bn to at least €500bn. New, innovative funding mechanisms under the EFSI and the Connecting Europe Facility will help to achieve this.


What's the link between the Energy Union strategy and the recently adopted 'Clean Energy Package'?

In the Energy Union Strategic Framework[12], the European Union commits itself to become the world leader in renewable energy, and the global hub for developing the next generation of technically advanced and competitive renewable energies. The EU has also set a target that at least 27% of the energy consumed in the EU in 2030 should be from renewable sources.


The 'Clean Energy Package' presents regulatory proposals and facilitating measures that aim to achieve these objectives, and at the same time accelerate, transform and consolidate the EU economy's clean energy transition, thereby creating jobs and growth in new economic sectors and business models.


In addition to the legislative proposal on renewable energy, the package also includes proposals on energy efficiency, the design of the electricity market, security of supply and governance rules for the Energy Union that will help facilitate the Energy Union strategic framework.


The facilitating actions include initiatives to accelerate clean energy innovation and to renovate Europe's buildings, as well as measures to encourage public and private investment and make the most of the available EU budget; to promote industry-led initiatives to foster competitiveness; to mitigate the social impact of the clean energy transition; to involve multiple players including Member State authorities and local and city authorities as well as businesses, social partners and investors; and to maximise Europe's leadership in clean energy technology and services to help third countries achieve their policy goals.


What benefits can increased use of renewables bring to

…consumers? Solar and wind technology prices have declined by 80% and 30-40% respectively between 2009 and 2015.[13] This cost reduction is increasingly enabling consumers to produce their own renewable energy. With the revised directive, consumers will benefit from greater rights to: 

produce their own electricity, and feed any excess back to the grid;organise themselves into renewable energy communities to generate, consume, store and sell renewable energy;stop buying heat/cold from a district heating/cooling system if they can achieve significantly better energy performances themselves.

…the environment? The revised renewable energy directive will help fight climate change by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Reaching at least 27% renewables will help reduce GHG emissions to meet our target of at least 40% GHG reduction by 2030. Together with energy efficiency, the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) and other climate change mitigation policies, renewables could help the EU reduce its carbon intensity by up to one third between 2020 and 2030.[14]


Furthermore, the revised directive contains a set of reinforced sustainability criteria for bioenergy, with the view to maximising climate and environmental benefits and avoiding the risk of biomass production resulting in deforestation or forest degradation.


…industry? The clearer legal framework provided by the new directive willremove uncertainties for investors, reduce administrative burdens, and decrease costs. This will bring benefits for both producers and investors: renewable energy technology suppliers will keep a leadership role, and the costs of renewables supply chains will be lowered.


…jobs? The new directive focuses on creating the right conditions for renewables to thrive and make the EU a flourishing market for clean energy. The sector already employs more than one million people and accounts for €144bn revenue every year.


Implementing our Energy Union policies could bring up to 900 000 net additional jobs in the EU economy by 2030 compared to the reference scenario.[15]


…energy security? In 2014, the deployment of renewable energy cut around €20bn worth of fossil fuel imports. Thanks to renewables, Europe could save around €58bn per year by 2030 in terms of avoided fossil fuel imports.[16] This is the equivalent to the current GDP of Luxembourg.


What's coming next?

Until 2020, EU Member States will have to continue to maintain or increase their renewable energy shares to ensure that they achieve their national renewable energy targets for 2020.

In line with the Joint Declaration setting out the EU's objectives and priorities for the legislative process in 2017, the Energy Union-related legislative proposals presented by the Commission such as those included in the Clean Energy for All Europeans package should be addressed this year as a priority by the European Parliament and Council.

 

EU member states' progress towards 2020 targets in renewable energy (%)

MS

RES Share
2013

Average RES Share 2013/2014

RED indicative trajectory (2013/2014)

RES Share 2014

RES Share 2015 (proxy)

RED indicative trajectory (2015/2016)

 

AT

32,3%

32,7%

26,5%

33,1%

33,6%

28,1%

BE

7,5%

7,8%

5,4%

8,0%

7,3%

7,1%

BG

19,0%

18,5%

11,4%

18,0%

18,4%

12,4%

CY

8,1%

8,5%

5,9%

9,0%

9,1%

7,4%

CZ

12,4%

12,9%

8,2%

13,4%

13,6%

9,2%

DE

12,4%

13,1%

9,5%

13,8%

14,5%

11,3%

DK

27,3%

28,2%

20,9%

29,2%

30,6%

22,9%

EE

25,6%

26,0%

20,1%

26,5%

27,9%

21,2%

EL

15,0%

15,2%

10,2%

15,3%

15,5%

11,9%

ES

15,3%

15,8%

12,1%

16,2%

15,6%

13,8%

FR

14,0%

14,2%

14,1%

14,3%

14,5%

16,0%

FI

36,7%

37,7%

31,4%

38,7%

39,5%

32,8%

HR

28,1%

28,0%

14,8%

27,9%

27,5%

15,9%

HU

9,5%

9,5%

6,9%

9,5%

9,4%

8,2%

IE

7,7%

8,2%

7,0%

8,6%

9,0%

8,9%

IT

16,7%

16,9%

8,7%

17,1%

17,1%

10,5%

LT

23,0%

23,4%

17,4%

23,9%

24,3%

18,6%

LU

3,6%

4,1%

3,9%

4,5%

5,0%

5,4%

LV

37,1%

37,9%

34,8%

38,7%

39,2%

35,9%

MT

3,7%

4,2%

3,0%

4,7%

5,3%

4,5%

NL

4,8%

5,2%

5,9%

5,5%

6,0%

7,6%

PL

11,3%

11,4%

9,5%

11,4%

11,8%

10,7%

PT

25,7%

26,3%

23,7%

27,0%

27,8%

25,2%

RO

23,9%

24,4%

19,7%

24,9%

24,7%

20,6%

SE

52,0%

52,3%

42,6%

52,6%

54,1%

43,9%

SI

22,5%

22,2%

18,7%

21,9%

21,8%

20,1%

SK

10,1%

10,9%

8,9%

11,6%

11,9%

10,0%

UK

5,6%

6,3%

5,4%

7,0%

8,2%

7,5%

EU-28

15,0%

15,5%

12,1%

16,0%

16,4%

13,8%

Source: Directive 2009/28/EC; Eurostat SHARES 2014; EEA RES proxy (2015); PRIMES (2020, 2025, 2030)

 

For further information: = IP/17/161 and = MEMO/17/162 on Progress Energy Efficiency

 

 

[1]Directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources, OJ L 140, 5.6.2009.

[2] Compared with 2005 baseline, EC Renewable Energy Progress Report

[3] As part of the “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package, issued on 30 November 2016.

[4] Assuming a Primary Energy Factor of 2.5, 1 unit of renewable could replace 2.5 units of fossil electricity.

[5] Compared with 2005 baseline. Source:EEA

[6] Under its Annex I

[7]The Netherlands - it has informed the Commission on the adoption of new measures to regain its trajectory and ensure compliance with its target.

[8] SWD (2016) 420. Energy prices and costs in Europe.

[9] SWD (2015) 141. Best practices on renewable energy self-consumption.

[10] SWD (2015) 141. Best practices on renewable energy self-consumption.

[11] Frankfurter School-UNEP Centre/BNEF, 2016. Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investments 2016, http://www.fs-unep-centre.org.

[12] COM (2015) 80. Energy Union Package.

[13] IRENA (2016). The Power to Change: Solar and Wind Cost Reduction Potential to 2025.

[14] Based on PRIMES EUCO30 scenario, carbon intensity of GDP (t of CO2/M€13).

[15] Where 2030 targets would not be met

[16]Compared with 2005 baseline, interim renewable energy progress report, [to be published]

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-17-163_en.htm?locale=en


Energy efficiency

A 2016 assessment of the progress made up to 2014. How is Europe performing in energy efficiency? The Commission is optimistic that Europe is on track to reach its 2020 targets.


Europe has committed itself to increasing its energy efficiency by 20% by 2020. Reaching this target will require effort from all Member States. The EU has already significantly lowered its energy consumption, and has reduced its final energy consumption below the 2020 target:


  • As regards final energy consumption (the use of energy by end users such as residential consumers, industry, services sector), Europe has already reached its 2020 target. In 2014 the EU consumed 1062 Mtoe, which is already 2.2% below the 2020 indicative energy consumption target of 1086 Mtoe. Final energy consumption dropped by 11% between 2005 and 2014.

  • As regards primary energy consumption (including final energy consumption, the generation sectors as well as distribution losses), Europe has not yet reached its 2020 target (it used 1507 Mtoe in 2014: this is 1.6% above the target of 1483 Mtoe for 2020). Nonetheless, the EU is on the right path: primary energy consumption dropped by 12% between 2005 and 2014, even if primary energy consumption slightly increased from 2014 to 2015.

Why is energy efficiency a key component of the Energy Union strategy?

Energy efficiency is a key element of the clean energy transition, a top priority of the Juncker Commission. It unlocks the energy savings that boost growth in the EU's economy, investments and job creation. It brings cost savings for consumers, in addition to benefits in the form of the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, improved air quality and increased security of supply, competitiveness, sustainability of the European economy and job creation.


As a pillar of the Energy Union Framework Strategy, energy efficiency plays a key role in the recently published 'Clean Energy for All Europeans' package, in which the European Commission proposed to raise the ambition level: a binding EU level target of 30% by 2030. Such a target would bring more benefits by 2030 compared to a 27% energy efficiency target[1]:


  • create about 400,000 new jobs;
  • reduce gas imports by 12%;
  • save €70bn in fossil fuel import bills (cumulatively for 2021-30);
  • reduce health damage costs by up to €8.3bn per year.


Priority in the EU’s energy efficiency

Energy Efficiency First is a principle that today permeates all aspects of the EU's energy policy. As highlighted in the Communication on 'Clean Energy for All Europeans'[2], energy efficiency should be seen as an energy source in its own right, as it will play a key role in speeding up the clean energy transition and boosting growth and job creation, and contributes to the EU's security of supply.


Energy efficiency saves money and has become a sustainable business model. Most Member States have recognised the multiple benefits of energy efficiency and have not only committed themselves to reaching ambitious energy efficiency targets for 2020, but have also put in place many energy efficiency programmes and measures.


What is the role of energy efficiency in reaching the Paris climate goals?

The EU, which played a decisive role in the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015, is a global leader on climate action. The European Union has committed itself to reducing emissions in the European Union by at least 40% by 2030. Energy efficiency contributes very significantly to the reduction of greenhouse gases, and goes hand in hand with renewable energies to enable the energy transition.


The Commission considers that the EU energy efficiency policy and regulatory framework have been the key driver for energy efficiency improvements. Primary energy consumption would have been much higher today otherwise. The reduction of energy consumption in the period 2005 to 2014 helped reducing greenhouse gas emissions by around 800 million tonnes of CO2 in 2014 which is almost equal to Germany's CO2 emissions in 2014.

 

Situation in the member states. The 2016 Energy Efficiency Report, which keeps track of Member States' progress in energy efficiency, highlights that the majority of EU countries improved their final energy intensity in the period 2005-2014 in industry and the services sectors.


In the buildings sector, which accounts for 40% of Europe's energy consumption, most Member States reduced their energy consumption per square metre (on average, in 2005-2014). However, in order to reach the EU's climate goals, Member States should continue to focus on renovating existing buildings. This helps households to achieve the same or better levels of comfort for less money.


In the transport sector, where oil supplies about 94% of all energy to power cars, trucks, ships and planes, most Member States need to make further improvements in energy efficiency. In fact, transport was the only sector to experience an overall increase in final energy consumption in 2014 compared with 2013.

 

Innovation and energy efficiency. The recently adopted 'Strategy on accelerating clean energy innovation'[3], together with the 'Accelerating clean energy in buildings' initiative[4], lays out a comprehensive plan for the main policy levers the EU can deploy to boost clean energy innovation, and focuses its Horizon 2020 funding on decarbonising the EU building stock as one of its priorities.


The Commission is committed to put all initiatives in place immediately. The direct impact of these initiatives will help to close the gap towards the energy efficiency targets in the short term.


Why are heating and cooling to play a key role?

Heating and cooling represents about half of the EU's energy consumption. However, renewables represent only 18% of supply, and the sector is largely reliant on fossil fuels, which in turn translates into a high import dependency. Moreover, much of the energy used to heat and cool is wasted.


Buildings (and people living in them) are the first consumers of heating and cooling. Space heating accounts for more than 80% of heating and cooling consumption in colder climates. In warmer climates, space cooling is the most important - and is growing. Two thirds of the EU's buildings were built when energy efficiency requirements were limited or non-existent.


In industry it is possible to reduce energy costs by 4-10% with investment in existing technologies that pay for themselves in less than 5 years. Some industries generate heat as a by-product. Much more of this could be reused within plants or sold to heat buildings nearby. The same applies to waste heat from power stations, the service sector, and infrastructure such as metros. Therefore, the trends and potential of this sector need to be assessed better in the future.


Therefore, the heating and cooling sector plays a crucial role in decreasing primary energy consumption and decarbonising the energy sector.


Renovation in European buildings. On average the EU renovation rate is around 1% per year. This means that renovating the entire EU building stock would take roughly 100 years. In Germany and France, the renovation rates are higher than the average, around 1.75% and 1.5% respectively. So, in some Member States building energy renovations are beginning to accelerate.


The review of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive which is part of the 'Clean Energy for all Europeans' package, includes supporting measures that address the need to speed up the renovation of the existing building stock by, for example, reinforcing the link between energy performance certification and financial support. Creating a vision and an action plan for the decarbonisation of existing buildings by 2050 will also play a fundamental role.


In order to sustain this renovation acceleration, a new 'Smart Finance for Smart Buildings' initiative was also presented to promote investments, growth and jobs for energy efficiency and renewable energies in buildings. The Smart Finance for Smart Buildings initiative, in close cooperation with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Member States, will be able to unlock an additional €10bn of public and private funds between now and 2020.


The construction industry generates about 9% of the European GDP in and accounts for 18 million direct jobs, whereas engineering sector employs 11 million people. Considering the renovation and construction needs, the contribution of these sectors is expected to increase. Construction activities that include renovation work and energy retrofits add almost twice as much value as the construction of new buildings, and SMEs contribute more than 70% of the value added in the EU building sector.


Have social imbalances been addressed by energy efficiency?

Addressing social imbalances in energy access is a top priority for the Juncker Commission. On average, 8.6% of the expenditure of low-income European households is used for energy-related purposes. This proportion has increased for most Member States since 2005. In addition, a growing share of these households (23% in 2015) do not have sufficient financial means to heat their homes to an adequately warm level.


The Commission proposed a range of specific measures in its recent 'Clean Energy for All Europeans' package to reverse this trend and ensure vulnerable and energy-poor consumers are not left behind. From 2021 onwards, Member States will have to take into account energy poverty when designing their energy efficiency obligation schemes or alternative measures. The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive will also ensure that Member States' long-term building renovation strategies contribute to the alleviation of energy poverty.


Energy Union Strategy and the “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package. The Energy Union Strategy highlighted the 'Energy Efficiency First' principle and defined energy efficiency as one of the Energy Union's main dimensions.


The 'Clean Energy for All Europeans' package contains concrete legislative proposals on energy efficiency, namely the reviews of the Energy Efficiency Directive, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, the Ecodesign working plan and the 'Smart Finance for Smart Buildings' initiative. These proposals directly contribute to achieving the objectives of the Energy Union.


What's coming next?

 In line with Joint Declaration setting out the EU's objectives and priorities for the legislative process in 2017, the Energy Union-related legislative proposals presented by the Commission such as those included in the Clean Energy for All Europeans package should be addressed as a priority by the European Parliament and Council.

 

[1] DG ENER, Impact assessment of the revised energy efficiency Directive, SWD(2016) 405 final/2.

[2] COM(2016) 860.

[3]COM(2016)763 final.

[4] Annex 1 of COM(2016)860 final.

For further information:

IP/17/161

MEMO/17/163 on Progress Report Renewables

References: European Commission: Fact sheet/Memo-17-162; Brussels 1.012.2017.

In: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-17-162_en.htm?locale=en



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