The EU has set itself a 20% energy savings target by 2020 (when compared to the projected use of energy in 2020) – this is roughly equivalent to turning off 400 power stations.
On 30 November 2016 the Commission proposed an update to the Energy Efficiency Directive including a new 30% energy efficiency target for 2030, and measures to update the Directive to make sure the new target is met.
Policies to improve energy efficiency
The EU has adopted a number of measures to improve energy efficiency in Europe. They include:
- an annual reduction of 1.5% in national energy sales
- EU countries making energy efficient renovations to at least 3% of buildings owned and occupied by central governments per year
- mandatory energy efficiency certificates accompanying the sale and rental of buildings
- minimum energy efficiency standards and labelling for a variety of products such as boilers, household appliances, lighting and televisions (ecodesign)
- tyre labelling regulation
- the preparation of National Energy Efficiency Action Plans every three years by EU countries
- the planned roll-out of close to 200 million smart meters for electricity and 45 million for gas by 2020
- large companies conducting energy audits at least every four years
- protecting the rights of consumers to receive easy and free access to data on real-time and historical energy consumption
- the Commission has published guidelines on good practice in energy efficiency
Heating and cooling
Heating and cooling in our buildings and industry accounts for half of the EU’s energy consumption. Moreover, 84% of heating and cooling is still generated from fossil fuels, while only 16% is generated from renewable energy. In order to fulfil the EU’s climate and energy goals, the heating and cooling sector must sharply reduce its energy consumption and cut its use of fossil fuels.
In February 2016, the Commission proposed an EU heating and cooling strategy. This is a first step in exploring the issues and challenges in this sector, and solving them with EU energy policies.