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Europe agrees to new effiency targets

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Henry Craver's picture
Small Business Owner , Self-employed

As a small business owner, I'm always trying to find ways to cut costs and boost the dependability of my services. To that end, I've become increasingly invested in learning about energy saving...

  • Member since 2018
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  • Mar 15, 2023

Europe has new energy efficiency guidelines. The European Parliament agreed to a regional efficiency target of 11.7% for 2030. The provisional deal calls on member nations to achieve new savings of 1.49% from 2024 to 2030. They are expected to reach 1.9% by the end of 2030. That number exceeds the commission’s ‘Fit for 55’ plan which was as follows:

Member states would ensure savings of 1.1 % of annual final energy consumption from 1 January 2024; 1.3 % from 1 January 2026; and 1.5 % from 1 January 2028 to 31 December 2030, with the possibility to carry over a maximum of 10% of excess savings to the following period. 

Despite being more ambitious than the 2021 ‘Fit for 55’ plan, the new target is much lower than the 13% proposed last year following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Leading up to the trilogue last week, it was uncertain if the Parliament would reach an agreement at all, as they had failed to do so in December. 

This article at Euractiv broke down the member nations into three groups: Ones who wanted to stick to 9%, flexible ones, and ones that were keen on the 13% mark.

“EU countries are split on the level of ambition. Following the COREPER meeting, an EU diplomat told EURACTIV that 10 countries want to stick to the 9% target. These are Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Ireland, Finland, Spain, Luxemburg, Hungary and Malta.

Another 10 are flexible on the target, the source added, saying these are France, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czechia, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Those who are for the 13% are Germany, Denmark, Austria, Estonia, Croatia and Cyprus, the source said.”

This provisional deal comes on the heels of a huge year for energy conservation in the Eurozone. This past year, Europe has provided the rest of the world with a comprehensive efficiency blueprint and shown just how powerful a tool energy conservation is. The continent, facing historically high energy prices in the summer due to the war in Ukraine and other factors, burst into action. Heat pump installations, for example, have skyrocketed around the region, and countries like France, with no previous energy efficiency to speak of, have developed robust conservation mechanisms and norms seemingly overnight. 

The continent's heroic efforts have not been in vain. In many parts of the region, energy usage is down 40% compared to the previous year. A mild winter has helped, but this is still impressive. Energy conservation combined with new renewables, nuclear, and gas sources have controlled energy prices, bringing them down to pre-war levels. 

Notably, things didn't go so well in the USA this winter. New England residents, for example, have seen their electricity bills increase substantially over the previous year despite a mild winter. Tanya Bodell, a partner at the consulting firm StoneTurn, put the region’s energy crisis in perspective during an interview with The Hill:

“Natural gas prices have not been this high in New England since 2008 — before the fracking revolution, mortgage crisis and Great Recession caused energy prices to crash.” 

Will historically high energy prices in places like New England inspire a European-style energy conservation revolution? I sure hope so, but only time will tell.


Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Mar 15, 2023

I suspect this will also lead to a lot of new people investigating and installing their own solar and storage systems for their own resilience and price control

Henry Craver's picture
Thank Henry for the Post!
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