Energy efficiency: The EU's new action plan


The European Union has proposed new energy efficiency measures to make good on its pledge to combat climate change and reduce its dependency on imported oil and gas.

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In October 2006, the European Commission presented an Action Plan for Energy Efficiency, with the aim of consuming 20% less energy by 2020. It estimated that making such energy savings would allow Europe to reduce its CO2 emissions by 780 million tonnes and save €100 billion in fuel costs, dwarfing the cost of the necessary investment in energy-efficiency technologies.

To achieve the objective, the strategy identified specific actions in ten priority areas to be implemented between 2007 and the end of 2012. Actions taken since then include:

Member states also committed to submitting national energy efficiency action plans to the EU executive under the Energy End-Use Efficiency and Energy Services Directive by June 2007. The plans were to outline how each country meant to reach an indicative energy saving target of 16% by 2016.

Nevertheless, rather than putting Europe on track to 20% energy savings, the Commission has conceded that the block is at best heading towards 11% savings.

In February 2011, an Energy Efficiency Plan was adopted and in June 2011, this was translated into an Energy Efficiency Directive