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EU confirms deal on energy savings and governance

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EU confirms deal on energy savings and governance

Renewable energy

(BRUSSELS) - EU decision-makers have reached agreement on a 32.5 per cent target for energy savings by 2030, as well as a new instrument to help EU Member States deliver on Europe's energy and climate goals.

A first informal agreement reached Tuesday night by Parliament and Council negotiators sets a 32.5% energy efficiency headline target at EU level, to be reviewed by 2023 to take into account significant cost reductions resulting from economic or technological changes. This means the target can therefore only be raised, not lowered.

A second deal reached in the early hours of Wednesday morning establishes the working mechanisms for the Energy Union project and a framework for member states in which to operate and deliver on EU energy and climate goals.

The provisional deal on energy efficiency obliges member states to increase their energy savings by 0.8% every year for the period 2021-2030. This provision could boost renovation of buildings and the use of more efficient technologies for heating and cooling.

According to the other provisional deal reached on Wednesday morning, each member state must present an "integrated national energy and climate plan" by 31 December 2019, and subsequently by 1 January 2029, and every ten years thereafter. The first of these plans will cover the period from 2021 to 2030, taking into consideration also a longer-term perspective, and the following ones will cover the subsequent ten-year period.

These integrated national energy and climate plans will include national targets, contributions, policies and measures for decarbonisation, energy efficiency, energy security, internal energy market and research, innovation and competitiveness.

Member states must also prepare long-term strategies setting their policy vision until 2050. In order to meet these targets and objectives, the draft agreement calls on member states to cooperate with each other, using all existing forms of regional cooperation.

For the first time, there is a mandatory requirement for member states to use a share of their energy efficiency measures to help vulnerable customers, including those affected by energy poverty.

The plans should indeed contain assessments of the number of households facing energy poverty in each EU country, as well as a national indicative objective to reduce it, if this figure is significant. Member states could also include policies and measures addressing energy poverty, including social policy measures and other relevant national programmes.

"Strong governance rules are needed to respect the Paris agreement," said co-rapporteur Michele Rivasi MEP: "We have therefore ensured that the national plans are compatible with the objective of keeping global warming well below 2°C, with the ambition of reaching 1.5°C. We also welcome the establishment of a mechanism capable of guaranteeing a fair contribution by the Member States to the energy transition. Finally, our efforts to ensure that the problem of fuel poverty is taken seriously at European level have borne fruit."

However, Ms Rivasi acknowledged that improvements were still needed, "particularly in terms of energy efficiency, renewable energies and the total decarbonisation of our economy by 2050".

Texts still need to be endorsed by Parliament as a whole, possibly during the October plenary session. Once the Council of EU Ministers has also given its green light, the law is published in the EU's Official Journal. After the publication, the regulation on governance will be directly applied in all member states, while for the new efficiency directive, member states will have 18 months to transpose it into their national legal systems.

Further information, European Parliament

Legislative file - Governance of the Energy Union

Procedure - Efficiency directive


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