PU Europe: Is energy efficiency really as bad as the Commission makes us believe?

The publication of the Communication “Energy efficiency and its contribution to energy security and the 2030 Framework for climate and energy policy” left Europe’s energy efficiency industry flabbergasted. The Commission proposes a non-binding 30 % efficiency target in spite of overwhelming evidence showing far higher cost-effective saving potentials. The question how the Commission came to its conclusions can be explained. The question why it did so, is far more difficult to answer given the current international context.
Oliver Loebel, Managing Director of PU Europe commented, “The Communication and the accompanying impact assessment clearly aim to exaggerate the cost of energy efficiency. This will make it extremely difficult to justify an ambitious long-term framework for building renovation. However, it is well documented that without realising the savings potential of Europe’s buildings, the EU’s climate goals are not achievable.”Indeed, the scenario with lower, more realistic discount rates was removed from the final text. Furthermore, a study commissioned by DG Energy and showing a 40 % cost-effective primary energy savings target by 2030 was simply ignored. Finally, the impact assessment did not consider the multiple benefits of energy efficiency ranging from increased tax income to lower health care costs. Only looking at the benefits from better indoor climate, a recent IEA study estimates that the energy retrofit of the EU building stock could reduce health-related costs by €190 billion annually [1].
“The Commission gave the wrong signal to Member States. It can only be hoped that national governments look beyond the impact assessment and agree on bold steps towards increased supply security and economic growth”, Loebel concluded.
The full position on the Commission Communication is available here ————————–
[1] International Energy Agency: Capturing the Multiple Benefits of Energy Efficiency (2014)