Energy Efficiency: From Ugly Duckling to Superstar
How energy efficiency (almost) got to the top of the political agenda
Traditionally considered to be less ‘sexy’ than renewables, high hopes are now put on energy efficiency as expressed in the European Commission’s Energy Efficiency Communication. According to the European Commission (EC), every additional 1% in energy savings will cut gas imports by 2.6%. Energy efficiency is therefore seen as an effective tool to boost energy security, reduce import dependence from Russia, cut energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
However, until now the uptake of energy efficiency technologies and actual energy savings is failing to live up to expectations. The arguments put forward by the sector have failed to convince eastern European countries (and the UK) that are more concerned about the upfront costs of upgrading their infrastructure. Indeed, if there is a loser in the 2030 Energy and Climate negotiations, it is without doubt the energy efficiency sector. From the 40% binding target supported by the European Parliament to the 30% target put forward by the EC, EU leaders at the October summit found common ground on a non-binding target of “At least 27% energy efficiency increase from 1990 levels by 2030”.
In this Energy Flash we look for the reasons why energy efficiency did not live up to its expectations and what the EC aims to do to make energy efficiency a success story.