As a major step toward meeting the unprecedented energy challenges facing the EU, the European Commission presented on 10 October its Energy Efficiency Action Plan (see EMTA news nÂ°26). The Plan contains a package of priority measures covering a wide range of cost-effective energy efficiency initiatives. Beyond a range of almost 75 actions to reach 20% savings by 2020, the Commission will furthermore set a Covenant of Mayors of the 20-30 most pioneering cities in Europe and will propose an international agreement on energy efficiency.
The stake is huge as the targeted energy savings could lead to a reduction of energyrelated annual expenses of â‚¬100 billion and yearly CO2 emissions by 780 millions tonnes. The Plan recognises that huge energy savings can be achieved in the transport sector, accounting for 20% of the primary energy consumption and relying on fossil fuel for 98%, in particular, by ensuring fuel efficiency of cars, developing markets for cleaner vehicles, ensuring proper tyre pressure and by improving the efficiency of transport systems.
The Plan recognises the need for reducing unnecessary energy consumption caused by inefficient urban transport. While recognising the responsibilities of local and regional authorities, the Commission will, in the framework of the forthcoming Green Paper on urban transport put forward joint solutions based on concrete measures that have been successfully tested, including, if appropriate, infrastructure use and road and congestion charges. These will include new approaches to encourage the use of public transport, car-sharing, non-motorised transport modes and telecommuting in European cities.
The Energy Council, during its meeting of 23 November, welcomed and approved the overall approach of the Commission. The Commission will present in January 2007 an “energy package”, which will include a Strategic Energy Review.