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02/12/2016

2030 energy package: battle of the leaks

Energy

2030 energy package: battle of the leaks

Solarpanele

Successive and contradictory leaks about Council conclusions on 2030 energy targets are being met with caution by both industry and environment advocates.

According to a document seen by EurActiv, the Council would promote a binding 2030 energy efficiency (EE) target of 30%. The exact percentage is still to be agreed on.

Aside from reducing their energy consumption by 2030, member states would also have to cut their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40% and increase the share of renewables in use by 30% compared with 1990 levels.

These targets are more ambitious than what the Commission had officially proposed over the summer: binding targets of 40% and 27%, respectively, for GHG and renewables. A 30% goal for energy efficiency was also proposed, but whether it should be mandatory or not would be decided by the Council in October.

While that leak broke out early last week (1 September), a different document circulated a couple of days later, possibly the basis of a background note prepared by the Commission’s secretariat general seeking comments from permanent representatives ahead of the Council.

Allegedly, a different trio of targets—40% (GHG)-27% (RE)-27% (EE)–with the latter figure being “indicative” rather than binding—is being examined.  

In other words, the Commission is nearly reverting to targets envisaged in its communication of January 2014. Back then, the EU executive foresaw minimum reduction goals of 40%-27%-25%.

“Either way, these leaks demonstrate a serious lack of ambition,” stated Adrian Joyce, Secretary General of the European Alliance for Energy Efficiency in Buildings (EuroACE). Talking to EurActiv, he stressed his view that “when it comes to an overall energy efficiency target, an entry point of 35%–nothing less–would begin to be satisfying. This is because the real cost-effective figure is 40%”.

The European Wind Energy Association state that for their own targets, this  27% is not enough, either: “30% would be the minimum for renewables. A lower 27% target would represent a ‘business as usual scenario’ which would make the EU target for the 2050 roadmap far more expensive and would risk a long-term lock in to fossil fuels””.

Green campaigner Friends of the Earth Europe added: “This is destabilizing the climate package. It seems as if the Commission is going for a low level of ambition in order to win an agreement at Council.”

Ministers of Energy and Environment will examine these options during an informal meeting on 5-6 October, while heads of state should review and decide on conclusions on 23 October.

Background

The Commission's Communication on Energy efficiency for the '2030 Framework for climate and energy policy' assesses whether the EU is on track to reach its 2020 target to increase energy efficiency by 20%.

It outlines what is necessary to ensure that the target is achieved and proposes a new energy saving target of 30% by 2030.

It completes the 2030 Framework on Climate and Energy which was adopted by the European Commission on 22 January 2014.

The EU currently has three 2020 climate plans – for 20% improvements on the continent’s CO2 emissions, renewables and energy consumption performances. The 2030 targets are the successors of these '20-20-20 goals'.

Timeline

  • October 2014: Member states decide on the energy efficiency targets in the EU Council
  • September 2014: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon hosts climate summit in New York
  • October 2014: European Council expected to agree 2030 climate and energy targets
  • December 2014: UNFCCC Climate Summit in Lima, Peru
  • Dec. 2015: UNFCCC Climate Summit in Paris expected to agree outline of global legally-binding climate treaty
  • 2017: Next review of the measures on energy efficiency planned by the Commission
  • 2020: Deadline for EU to meet target of 20% greenhouse gas reduction as measured against 1990 levels, a 20% share for renewable energy in the bloc's energy mix, and a non-binding goal of a 20% energy efficiency improvement, measured against 2005 levels