Today, the European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy Committee voted on proposals to ensure the EU achieves the goal agreed in 2008 to reduce energy consumption by 20% by 2020. Current forecasts predict that the EU is only on track to achieve a 9% reduction on 1990 levels.
The Leader of the UK Liberal Democrat MEPs and energy expert Fiona Hall, chief negotiator for the Parliament’s Liberal and Democrat Group on the Efficiency Directive, said that the new Energy Efficiency Directive was necessary to get the EU back on track towards the 20% target. She went on to highlight the influence that Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government had had on the Commission’s proposals. She said the new Energy Company Obligation and the Green Deal both introduced by the Coalition Government inspired some key provisions proposed in the new bill, including an obligation on energy utilities to assist their customers with energy saving measures.
Commenting after the vote, she said:
“Saving energy is the easiest way to offset the effects of higher energy prices. It is also the least costly way to cut carbon emissions whilst creating skilled local jobs and driving economic growth.
“The less energy we need, the less we depend on energy imports from politically unreliable sources such as the Middle East and Russia.”
Hall added that knowing how much energy will be needed in 2020 would also facilitate infrastructure planning and avoid costly over-investment.
Commenting on the relationship between the Energy Efficiency Directive and the Emissions Trading Scheme, she continued: “The Commission must come forward with proposals to adjust the EU’s Emission Trading System to take account of the Energy Efficiency Directive’s impact on the carbon price. This needs to be restored to its original level in order to provide strong incentives for low-carbon investments.”
Informal negotiations on the Energy Efficiency Directive will now take place between the Parliament and Council with the aim of achieving a first reading agreement under the Danish Presidency.