The EU’s statistical office, Eurostat, published new figures on energy consumption for 2018 on 4 February. As expected, they weren’t good, with the EU as a whole set to miss its 2020 energy efficiency objective by a margin of up to 5%, in what campaigners called the “biggest miss” of all EU climate targets.
Primary energy consumption in the EU was 4.9% above the efficiency target for 2020, Eurostat said, while final energy consumption – at the consumer level – was slightly better, at 3.2% above benchmark. The EU has an energy efficiency target of reducing energy consumption by 20% by 2020 but it has consistently underperformed in meeting that objective.
This worrying trend is mostly prevalent in buildings and transport where final energy consumption increased by 8.3 % in 2014-2017 and 5.8 % respectively (EAA). Projections for 2030 don’t look good either. According to the European Commission, energy efficiency measures currently planned by EU member states risk leaving a gap of 6.2 percentage points versus a 32.5% energy saving benchmark for 2030.
Part of this problem is due to the lack of political will to implement those changes. Hence, the European Commission is urging EU Member States to act and to set up additional measures in order to achieve the 2020 targets.
“’Energy efficiency first’ is a vital principle in the clean energy transition,” Kadri Simson, the EU’s energy Commissioner, told lawmakers in the European Parliament last month. “I want to do more to ensure it applies in practice,” she added, saying she intends to “provide concrete guidelines to member states” in order to mainstream energy efficiency “into all levels of policy-making”. A way to start would be by focusing on buildings and the renovation process.
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