Page 17 - European Energy Innovation - Spring 2015 publication
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Spring 2015 European Energy Innovation 17


presented in February, but I stated: ‘Energy efficiency first’.
will focus only on the emerging The Commissions Vice-president
Negawatt - not Megawatt - Maros Sefcovic acknowledges
industry: energy efficiency (EE). that energy efficiency is “an
energy source in its own right”,
During the last years political which will make it possible
leaders have paid massive lip to compete on equal terms
service to energy efficiency, but with generation capacity. The
forgot to put their investment International Energy Agency
money where their mouth is. (IEA) called energy efficiency ‘an
Energy efficiency has long been invisible powerhouse’ worth at
treated as the Cinderella of least 276 billon euros per year
investments, even though EE and growing. This confirms EE’s
investments offer immens benefits position as the world’s ‘first fuel’.
which go far beyond energy
savings. They can be an important The EU’s devastating austerity
contributor to economic growth policy prevented us from taking
and social development. the necessary actions to reach our
Energy efficiency investments most important objectives. For
can create short term benefits, the first time in years the Juncker
helping the economy grow in Investment plan EFSI changes
times of recession by promoting Europe’s small minded stance
employment. Renewable energy on the economic crisis by better
projects are creating ten times balancing budget control with
more jobs than similar-sized fossil investments. Finally, underfunded
fuel projects. Energy efficiency European priorities like energy
projects also create 3 to 5 times efficiency could be back on the
more jobs than fossil investments. agenda. But are they? Looking at
The macroeconomic outcomes the member states projects for
from EE could be huge. the EFSI, only 5% of them include
energy efficiency measures, smart
An Energy Union consistent with technology or demand side
the EU’s strategic objectives, measures although, according
such as tackling climate change to the IEA, 40 % of emission
or job creation, should therefore reductions can come from
prioritise energy efficiency energy efficiency. When taking
measures. The S&D group in the decisions on where to invest, we
European parliament pushed will have to prioritise EE’s share
energy efficiency towards the in the investment portfolio. In
top of the Energy Union agenda. doing that, Europe can take a
The first drafts of the framework big leap forwards and reclaim it’s
performed poorly on energy world leadership in sustainable
efficiency, but the final text development. l
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