The European Commission said in a leaked document that more effort must be made by EU member states to reach the EU’s energy saving target of 20 percent by 2020. The Commission also substantially softened the goal for 2030 in the latest draft estimating that the EU would achieve energy savings of around 18-19 percent in 2020. The EU executive pointed out that if all 28 member states worked equally hard on achieving 20-percent energy goal, no further measures would be needed. The measures designed to help attain the 2020 target would likely include informing consumers of the energy performance of the buildings they rent or own, strengthening surveillance of the energy efficiency as well as forcing utilities to working with consumers. Energy efficiency is especially important to Brussels as it is among major drivers of Europe’s competitiveness.
The Commission previously proposed a target of 40 percent energy efficiency for 2030 which would allow Europe’s economy to grow at 4 percent annually. This could also increase job creation by 3.15 percent and decrease fossil fuel imports by 505 billion euros yearly. However, the most recent official communication issued by the EU Commission could soften these ambitions greatly. A draft version from July 18 mentions in its concluding remarks that “the Commission considers it appropriate to propose a more ambitious target”. Analysts think that the Commission will be in the end satisfied with 27 or 28 percent, which is dramatically lower than the earlier suggestion of 40 percent.
Moreover, it has not yet been decided whether the target should be binding or not. Outgoing EU energy commissioner, Günther Oettinger, has demanded a legally-binding proposal this fall to lower energy use by 2030 as a way of restraining EU’s dependence on Russia for about 30 percent of its oil, and 39 percent of its gas supplies. His call was backed up by energy and climate ministers in a letter to Mr Oettinger, José Manuel Barroso and EU Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard.