Member States can increase EU renewables & energy efficiency ambition
Posted on 07 June 2018
“Having started off on the wrong foot, Member States have a chance to shuffle forward in the Parliament’s direction."
Brussels, Belgium - 7 June 2018
What’s happening? Energy ministers will discuss the Energy Efficiency and Renewables Directives and their 2030 targets, as well as the Governance Regulation on Monday 11 June in Luxembourg. It is an opportunity for ministers to revise their positions on the target levels, currently 30% for energy efficiency and 27% for renewables, while the European Parliament is sticking to 35% for both. The Energy Council’s position will be taken forward by the Bulgarian Presidency to finalise negotiations in trilogues - scheduled for 13 June - with the European Parliament.
Imke Lübbeke, Head of Climate and Energy, WWF European Policy Officecommented: “Having started off on the wrong foot, with weak positions on renewables and energy efficiency, Member States now have a chance to shuffle forward in the Parliament’s direction. Several have spoken out in favour of higher ambition: the ministers of those countries need to stand up and stand firm next Monday, remembering science, citizens and costs are on their side, and convince the laggards to come on board.
“How these headline targets are met is also crucial. As top climate scientists warned just this week, the rules on biomass could actually increase emissions not reduce them. And on energy efficiency strong measures, such as the annual energy savings requirement, are a necessary complement to the target.
“Ambitious action on climate is not just about sticking to our international Paris Agreement pledges - although that should be reason enough to do so. It is about ensuring our survival in a hospitable world which offers sustainable jobs in a healthy environment,” concluded Lübbeke.
Energy Efficiency Directive
Ministers will discuss how far to raise the energy efficiency target and whether they could support a binding one.
They will also look at improving their position on the ‘energy savings obligation’ - which sets mandatory annual energy savings for Member States (EED Art.7). For example, they will need to decide how far they will go in reducing the loopholes they had previously suggested, such as the exclusion of transport energy use from the obligation.
In addition to countries that already support higher targets such as France, Sweden, Luxembourg and Portugal, the new Energy Ministers of Spain and Italy could inject new positive dynamics into the discussions as they are believed to be much more supportive of energy efficiency (and renewables) than their predecessors.
The Council wants the Parliament to choose between a higher target for renewables and stronger measures underpinning it - a completely false choice. As negotiators in the Parliament understand, both are necessary. The Council is also fighting hard to water down rules on bioenergy - so that they can increase production of food based biofuels from around 4% today up to 7% in 2030, and convert old coal-fired power stations to burn wood - something that top climate scientists warned just this week is likely to increase emissions not reduce them.
In addition to the overall targets other outstanding issue that will be discussed are the targets for renewables in transport and in heating and cooling, and rules on self-consumption. The Council is also likely to discuss the Parliament’s call for biofuels with especially high emissions, such as from palm oil or soy, to be phased out immediately.
Issues that will be discussed are those provisions linked to the targets, such as gap filler mechanism for energy efficiency and renewables and the trajectory for reaching the renewables target. Perhaps the most thorny issue will however be in relation to the long term strategies, where the Council and Parliament are far apart. The Parliament has sought to bring those aspects of the Governance Regulation in line with Paris, by requiring strategies to be based on reaching zero net emissions by 2050 and for Member States to finalise their strategies before they finalise their shorter term 2030 plans.
Arianna Vitali, Senior Policy Officer (energy efficiency), WWF European Policy Office, firstname.lastname@example.org, +32 2 743 88 16
Alex Mason, Senior Policy Officer (renewables and governance), WWF European Policy Office, email@example.com, +32494762763
Sarah Azau, Senior Communications Officer, WWF European Policy Office,