Energy efficiency addressed at European level

  • Updated27 July 2005
  • News

With the growing concerns about oil prices energy supply dependence and climate change, efficiency in energy consumption becomes more and more key issues for future development of our countries.

On 22nd June, the EU Commission adopted a Green Paper on Energy Efficiency that seeks to put energy savings higher on the agenda. The Green Paper lists a number of options to save 20% of energy consumption by 2020 in a cost effective way through changes in consumer behaviour and energy efficient technologies.

10% savings could be reached by applying fully existing measures and the other 10% need innovative schemes. These savings would allow the EU to save an estimated €60 billion on its energy bill.

Transport is accountable for 30% of energy consumption, and is 98% dependent on oil. Half of the oil spend on roads is spent in urban areas. The Green Paper proposes for example to limit car consumption, to act on tyre performances and appropriate inflating, to open public procurement to cleaner vehicles, to introduce beneficial tax systems to encourage the purchase of cleaner vehicles.

Regarding urban mobility, the Green Paper suggests to charge road use or to introduce access restrictions to most polluting vehicles and to promote public transport.

EU Commission has also proposed a Directive on energy end-use efficiency and energy services COM(2003)0739 setting a target of 1% annual savings. During the first reading on 7th June, the European Parliament proposed an incremental target of savings:

3% for 2006-2009, 4% for 2009-2012 and 4.5% for 2012-2015, representing 11,5% savings compared to the no-action scenario.

The EU Council of Ministers of Energy held its meeting on 28th June. The Ministers welcomed the Green Paper on energy efficiency and reached a political agreement on the directive proposal but setting indicative targets rather than mandatory targets, proposed by the Commission and reinforced by the Parliament.

However, it has been proposed that Member States will be required to take steps towards achieving this indicative target.