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‘The greatest source of energy in the future is finding ways to use energy more efficiently.’ No, this pronouncement was not made by Greenpeace nor by the European Insulation Manufacturers Association. It is a quote from ExxonMobil – from the 2010 edition of this company’s annual “Outlook for Energy” report.

As the statement from ExxonMobil shows, saving energy is no doubt the most uncontroversial method of fighting climate change. Everyone loves energy efficiency! In theory at least. Paradoxically enough, though, of the various EU climate change targets, the energy efficiency target is precisely the one the EU is failing at. The EU has set itself a target of 20% energy saving in 2020 (compared to 2005), but it will only reach 9%, unless extra measures are taken.

Why the shortfall? Fact is that many EU Member States are not very eager to take energy efficiency measures. They are even less eager to let the European Commission impose binding obligations on them. They are afraid of the costs and bureaucracy this may involve.

In a new draft Directive – the first ever dedicated Energy Efficiency Directive to come out of Brussels – the European Commission has now proposed a new range of measures to get Europe moving again on the road to its 20% target. In this new Directive, which has yet to agreed upon by the Member States and the European Parliament, the Commission requires Member States to realise 1.5% energy savings per year.

That may sound pretty firm, yet, as our Brussels correspondent Sonja van Renssen reports, green campaigners are not impressed. The main weakness of the draft Directive, they say, is that it leaves every Member State free to achieve the target in any way it wishes. In addition, it does not establish a common methodology to measure energy savings. As a result, they feel the plan will not be able to deliver the goods.

There is one consolation, perhaps, for the green lobbyists. In its Outlook for Energy Report, ExxonMobil notes that from 1980-2000 the world improved its energy efficiency by 1.2% per year. The company expects this to grow to 1.5% in the coming decades. Achieving the Directive’s requirements, then, would be simply a matter of business as usual….

To read Sonja’s detailed report on the latest energy efficiency plans from Brussels, click here.

Announcements

19-22 September 2011 | Istanbul, Turkey

TIREC 2011

Join us at the 3rd annual Turkish International Renewable Energy Congress where Turkish and international renewable energy experts meet to drive innovation and do business. Made up of 3 focused conferences, it will provide in-depth coverage on Wind, Solar, Geothermal and other renewables.

14-15 November 2011 | Amsterdam, The Netherlands

European Smart Grid Cyber Security and Privacy

Following on from the success of the European Smart Grid Cyber Security Forum held in March 2011 in London, The conference Smart Grid Cyber Security and Privacy will address the current and future Smart Grid Cyber Security threat landscape and will delve deeper into emerging concerns in relation to privacy, integrity, and security of data in smart technologies.

Coming up on European Energy Review

The (real) risks of radiation
Electric cars – how can they be fitted into the existing energy infrastructure?
The French shale gas moratorium: is France becoming as green as Germany?
Gazprom’s new-found confidence: how the Russians are slowly but surely increasing their presence on the European gas market
Are we about to enter a golden age for gas? The International Energy Agency has the answer
The decommissioning of nuclear power plant Ignalina: it’s not going smoothly

Recent posts

Brussels should bet on Beijing

By Matthew Hulbert

The current European energy security strategy, based on the fast-fading military and diplomatic power of NATO and the US, has proven a failure. To safeguard its worldwide energy interest, the EU should seek a consumer partnership with China. This new Brussels-Beijing Alliance would serve as a hedge against Russia and other large power producers.

The coming UK energy meltdown

By Hughes Sharman

The UK desperately needs a new energy strategy based on a realistic assessment of its assets, needs and available options. Unfortunately, its room for manoeuvre is deeply restricted by its self-imposed Climate Change Act and its commitment to the EU’s 20-20-20 targets. If the UK government continues on this course, it will lead the country toward certain energy failure.

“Doctor Areva” tries to cash in on nuclear crisis

By Yves de Saint Jacob with Meriem Sidhoum Delahaye

Post-Fukushima, French nuclear flagship Areva is positioning itself as a nuclear safety specialist that can help power producers everywhere improve the security of their reactors. It has even announced that it is ready to come to the rescue anywhere in the world when there are problems at nuclear power stations – like a Nuclear Doctor Without Borders.

Desert Powered Progress

By Oliver Gnad and Marcel Viëtor

The economic and political obstacles to the famous Desertec vision are considerable. Yet energy and climate policies should not be the only considerations when we think of Desertec, argue Oliver Gnad and Marcel Viëtor. When viewed from a geopolitical, strategic viewpoint, Desertec can be part of the answer to many of Europe’s long-term challenges.

A strategic slip from the IEA

By Matthew Hulbert

The IEA’s unexpected intervention in the oil market looks to be an all-around bad call. It will serve to heighten volatility in the already highly volatile market. At the same time, it will only hamper the things that need to be done, like investing in oil exploration and production and cutting price subsidies, argues Matthew Hulbert.

Break it up and shake it up

By Iana Dreyer

The German nuclear phaseout will catapult gas to the top of the European energy agenda. Unfortunately, at this moment the European Commission gas market policy, such as it is, has no priority. Brussels must get its gas act together, argues Iana Dreyer, and shake up Europe’s stagnant gas market. ‘The real problem is the absence of integration and competition.’

Angela’s message to the energy sector

By Karel Beckman

The Merkel government’s nuclear U-turn, argues EER’s editor Karel Beckman, is a game-changer for the energy sector. It shows that in today’s political climate public opinion counts more than anything else. This has profound implications for the industry: energy companies will have to come out of the corridors of power and start engaging the public directly.

An industry plagued by uncertainty, waiting for political leadership

By Karel Beckman

The European electricity industry is crying out for political leaders that can usher in the long-awaited, liberalised and integrated European energy market. But at a recent gathering of industry leaders, the mood was sombre. As one top consultant expressed it: ‘If we don’t get some form of protection or support, we are not going to see enough investment.’

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