"This is a big victory, a good for the climate deal and bad for Putin." It is in these terms, on Twitter, that the Socialist MEP Niels Fuglsang, rapporteur of the text, welcomes the agreement reached this Friday, between the member states and MEPs to reduce European energy consumption by 2030.

This text on "energy efficiency" was proposed by the European Commission in July 2021 as part of the climate plan to reduce the EU's greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030, compared to 1990.

At least 11.7% decline by 2030

The agreement reached on Friday between state negotiators and the European Parliament provides for a reduction of at least 11.7% in the EU's final energy consumption in 2030, compared to the level projected for the end of the decade in a reference scenario established in 2020.

Brussels only sets "indicative" targets for each country, but "a rigorous monitoring and enforcement mechanism will be established to ensure that member states meet their national contributions to this binding EU target," a Parliament statement said.

The requirement was raised compared to the Commission's proposal (9%), but still falls far short of the 14.5% cut demanded by MEPs to take into account the energy shock caused by the war in Ukraine and reduce dependence on imported hydrocarbons.

Major win!

Large majority in the European Parliament backs our proposal for the Energy Efficiency Directive. Good for the climate. Bad for Putin. pic.twitter.com/RNR69Ht2Ua

— Niels Fuglsang (@NielsFuglsang) September 14, 2022

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"For the first time, we have a binding target"

"For the first time, we have a binding energy consumption target," said Socialist MEP Niels Fuglsang, rapporteur for the text. On average, between 2024 and 2030, the Twenty-Seven will be required to reduce their final energy consumption by about 1.5% per year compared to the trajectory projected in the 2020 scenario.

Their efforts will have to gradually accelerate, reaching annual energy savings of 1.9% by the end of 2030.

Buildings, industry, transport... Energy-intensive companies (consuming more than 85 terajoules/year) will have to equip themselves with an "energy management system" or accept a regular audit.

Computer data centers -- which are very power-hungry -- will be subject to energy performance criteria. Their heat could be used to heat other buildings.

Building renovations and public sector efforts

Above all, the public sector will have to lead by example: in each country, the energy consumption of all public bodies will have to fall by 1.9% each year -- with a long transition for smaller communities.

States will also be required to renovate each year at least 3% of the total surface of public buildings, at national, regional and local level, to eliminate energy losses and carbon emissions.

Contrary to what MEPs demanded, social housing can be exempted from this objective. The text also plans to improve heating and cooling systems in cities with more than 45,000 inhabitants. It prohibits after 2030 subsidies for the gas supply of new infrastructure or major renovations related to district heating.

A disappointing agreement for NGOs?

The agreement is considered "disappointing" by the coordination of environmental NGOs Climate Action Network (CAN), which called for a 20% reduction target by 2030, "necessary to meet the obligations of the Paris Agreement" on climate, and binding targets assigned to each State.

"Policymakers have failed to take a meaningful stance to reduce dependence on fossil fuels," she said, hoping for "more ambitious" national roadmaps.

  • World
  • Planet
  • European Union (EU)
  • Energy
  • Energy sobriety
  • War in Ukraine