Page 11 - European Energy Innovation - Summer 2017 publication
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Summer 2017 European Energy Innovation           11

                                                       ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Energy Efficiency: Hunting for
the low-hanging fruits

By Morten Helveg Petersen, MEP,Vice-Chair of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

Energy efficiency first! This               rapporteur on the revision of the            decline in conventional generation
            is the core principle of the    Energy Performance of Buildings              capacity. Numbers from 2015 show
            energy strategy for Europe,     Directive (EPBD), I am facing the            that on average 28% of high-voltage
            and for the “Clean Energy       challenge of strengthening and               alternating current interconnector’s
 for all” package launched by the           translating the energy efficiency            physical capacity is available for
 Commission by the end of 2016. This        principle into each paragraph of the         trading in 2015 according to ACER.
 principle acknowledges that Europe’s       eight proposals of the Clean                 In plain English; only a small part of
 biggest domestic energy source is          Energy package.                              the physical capacity is actually used,
 energy efficiency and highlights the                                                    and this is primarily caused by the
 importance of solutions that take into     Buildings account for approx. 38 %           lack of regionally developed capacity
 account energy savings.                    of the overall energy consumption            methodology.
                                            in the EU and 75% of EU’s buildings
 This is the right priority. But it has to  stock is still energy inefficient. In other  We do not need more capacity to
 go hand in hand with ambition, and         words, buildings are low-hanging             generate energy on an EU level.
 in my mind we should be way more           fruits in terms of efficiency and energy     What we need is to use it better by
 ambitious than the energy efficiency       savings. We have to speed up the             at all times using the lowest-cost
 target of 30% for 2030 as proposed by      process of renovation and further look       capacity and balancing energy cross-
 the Commission. You cannot call for        into expansion of district heating and       border. Estimates from 2013 show
 ambition and then sit on your hands.       cooling, which would lead to greater         that a common balancing market
 You have to practise what you preach,      energy efficiency and lower GHG              would amount to a gain of 600-900
 and that is why I see it as my job and     emissions.                                   million euro per year. Although these
 a job for the rest of the European                                                      numbers may be a bit outdated, they
 Parliament to make the case for raising    The low-hanging fruits in terms of           nevertheless illustrate the clear
 the level of ambition and the binding      energy savings through the ACER              benefits of improving the efficient use
 energy efficiency target to 40% for 2030.  regulation is perhaps not as apparent        of capacity.
                                            as the energy savings of renovating our
 As Vice President of the ITRE              building stock. On paper, it is “just” a     To obtain this, we need a well-
 committee, rapporteur for the revision     regulation of an agency that facilitates     functioning market, where clean and
 of the ACER regulation, and shadow         the cooperation between national             inexpensive energy flow freely across
                                            energy regulators. However, the gains        borders provided and supervised by a
                                            from improving the cross-border              well-functioning Agency (ACER).
                                            cooperation and the efficient use of the
                                            capacity of the energy network is huge.      By putting efficiency first, other benefits
                                            We need to use every opportunity             will follow; cost savings, growth,
                                            possible to live up to our commitments       thousands of new jobs and healthier
                                            from the Paris Agreement and the 2030        living. Moreover, Europe will be less
                                            EU Climate and Energy framework.             dependent on Russian gas and of oil
                                                                                         from the Middle East.
                                            One way of harvesting is by improving
                                            the efficient use of energy generation       The Clean Energy package is a unique
                                            capacity. Right now, there are               opportunity in terms of and make all
                                            indications of overcapacity of energy        these benefits realities. Let us go to
                                            generation in Europe in spite of             work. l
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