EU Decides to Reduce by 11.7% the Energy Consumption
This target, based on 2020 consumption levels, is set to be achieved by 2030. However, after two years of negotiations involving Member States, the European Parliament, and stakeholders, Poland, Hungary, and Finland expressed their opposition to the target. On the other hand, Belgium, Latvia, Portugal, and Slovenia abstained on final vote.
By Federico Licandro Sirtori
Brussels, 2 August 2023
In the wake of the devastating effects of the climate in recent weeks, which have caused destruction and death even in Europe, European Institutions decided to accelerate the european energy transition to effectively reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and achieve climate neutrality by 2050.
The Commission, in presenting its proposal for the 2021 Directive, and later the Council and Parliament during the conciliation phases for a final text, have agreed that saving energy and reducing its consumption are as crucial as shifting to cleaner forms of energy and to reach the Fit for 55 package objectives. By this decision, the emissions should be reduced by 55% compared to 1990 levels.
Although the reduction in consumption is sought through increased energy efficiency and not by cutting economic activities or reducing energy available to households, the required investments will be colossal, to the extent that even the European Commission has not managed to quantify them. Now, Member States will have to study the best solutions. Consumer organizations and trade unions are already gearing up to prevent consumption savings from being implemented through an increase in gas, electricity and gasoline prices.
What are the practical measures to reduce consumption?
Achieving such a reduction would likely involve a combination of policies, regulations, and initiatives to improve energy efficiency and promote sustainable practices across various sectors.
Some practical measures that EU member states and institutions might implement to reduce energy consumption include:
Energy Efficiency Standards: Implementing and enforcing energy efficiency standards for buildings, appliances, and industrial processes to reduce energy wastage and promote the use of energy-efficient technologies.
Renewable Energy Promotion: Encouraging the adoption of renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric power, to replace fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Energy Audits and Management: Conducting energy audits to identify areas of inefficiency and developing energy management plans to optimize energy use.
Incentives and Subsidies: Providing financial incentives, tax breaks, or subsidies to encourage individuals and businesses to invest in energy-saving technologies and renewable energy solutions.
Transportation: Promoting sustainable transportation options, such as public transit, cycling, and electric vehicles, to reduce energy consumption in the transportation sector.
Public Awareness and Education: Raising public awareness about energy conservation and providing education on energy-saving practices.
Industry and Manufacturing: Implementing energy-efficient practices in industries and manufacturing processes to reduce energy consumption and emissions.
Smart Grids and Demand Response: Utilizing smart grid technologies and demand-response programs to optimize electricity consumption and reduce energy waste.
Building Renovations: Encouraging building renovations and retrofits to improve energy efficiency in existing structures.
Research and Development: Investing in research and development of new technologies and innovations that can further improve energy efficiency and reduce consumption.
The Directive will be published in the EU Official Journal in August, and then the Member States will have to translate it into national legislative acts for implementation. It will be an enormous task, considering that the previous Directive of 2012 required more than 1000 national legislative acts, and 2030 is not so far away.
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