EXCLUSIVE / Fears of a gas crunch this winter have propelled energy efficiency to the top of the agenda for today’s informal energy council of EU energy ministers in Athens, documents seen by EURACTIV confirm.
Energy efficiency action plans sent to Brussels by EU member states are so lacking in credibility that infringement proceedings should be taken out against 13 of them, according to the first major analysis of compliance efforts with a new European Union law.
EU countries see energy savings as a "luxury", neglect building sector roadmaps, and are producing national action plans unlikely to meet a 2020 energy efficiency target, according to government officials and advisers surveyed by EURACTIV.
The buildings sector is one of the largest contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, buildings account for about 40% of the total amount of energy consumption in the EU.
The European Commission acknowledged this in its Energy Efficiency Directive stating that “the greatest energy savings potential lies in buildings”. The chemicals sector has already significantly reduced its emissions, but there is still potential to reduce them further.