European Union will fail to hit 2020 target

The European Union is set to completely fail to meet its 2020 target of an energy reduction of 20 per cent from 1995 levels.

Latest Eurostat figures reveal that primary energy consumption last year was 4.9 per cent above the efficiency target. Final energy consumption figures – measured at consumer level- are slightly more encouraging, but still remain 3.2 per cent above benchmark.

Poland and Spain are the worst offenders, according to Eurostat figures. Their performances have worsened by 13.7 per cent and 7.5 per cent respectively.

The official European Environment Agency has long been concerned that lack of purposeful national energy saving policies is placing the EU at “risk of not meeting” its 2020 energy efficiency targets. “This worrying trend is most prevalent in the buildings sector”, the agency warns. “Final energy consumption has increased within buildings by 8.3 per cent.” This is acknowledged to be the largest single sector, responsible for 45 per cent of energy usage.

Projections for 2030 don’t look good either. According to the European Commission, energy efficiency targets currently planned by national governments (including the UK) leave a gap of 6.2 per cent versus the agreed 32.5 per cent energy saving benchmark agreed for 2030.

“Energy Efficiency First is the vital principle in the clean energy transition,” Kadri Simson (pictured), the EU’s new energy commissioner, has told European Parliamentarians. “Improving energy efficiency of buildings will be an obvious place to start. The European Green Deal will aim to triple the annual rate of renovation, which currently stands at 1 to 2 per cent of the building stock.

“I want to do more to ensure it applies in practice,” she added. She intends to “provide concrete guidelines to member states” in order to mainstream energy efficiency “into all levels of policy making.”

“Europe is about to blow its target for cutting energy waste,” warns Clémence Hutin of Friends of the Earth. “This is the biggest miss of all the EU’s climate related targets due to de delivered this year. There is still a clear lack of political will, even though energy efficiency is the foundation of the energy transition.”

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