Saving Energy across Europe
In 2012, the new Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) of the EU was adopted. Since it became official, the Member States will have to comply with the provisions of this directive within 18 months from its entry into force. Hopes are high for its successful implementation and the consequent energy savings – but so much depends on local and regional action across the EU.
“Local and regional authorities are where a lot of detailed decisions have to be taken in order to favor energy efficiency, for example on training or urban planning regulations. Local and regional authorities are something like embassies for the transposition of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive,” claims Claude Turmes, Member of the European Parliament and rapporteur of the EED.
“It will be very interesting to see what happens in the national transposition of this directive,” says Valérie Geraert of the Regional Council Nord – Pas de Calais, France. “In France, the Certificats d’économies d’énergie (CEE) will play a vital role in achieving the 1.5% end-use energy savings target. For ESCO arrangements, uncertainty over long term energy prices is a major factor. To mobilize investment, we will require new legislative arrangements for green fund management when putting private and public money together. There are a lot of challenges ahead.”
Challenges exist in Ireland, too, where the directive will require an accelerated introduction of more energy-saving measures if the country is to meet its 2020 targets.
Under the directive, each Member State will be obliged to set an indicative national energy efficiency target, based on either primary or final energy consumption, primary or final energy savings or energy intensity. By June 30, 2014, the European Commission will assess the progress achieved and whether the EU is likely to achieve energy consumption of no more than 1,474 Mtoe of primary energy and/or no more than 1,078 Mtoe of final energy in 2020.
“Unless there is government intervention, Ireland faces possible EU fines and a situation whereby Irish householders and businesses will continue to waste millions of euros each year on heating due to poor insulation and energy inefficient buildings,” says Seamus Hoyne, head of the Department of Technology, Science and Flexible Learning at Limerick Institute of Technology in Ireland, and manager of SERVE, an EU-funded project that aims to set new standards for energy performance and renewable energy supply in rural Ireland.
According to Hoyne, “analysis of energy savings of 300 homes which completed upgrades, showed approximately €200,000 was saved in energy consumption. If this level of savings was applied to all Irish homes the total savings would be €1 billion per year. With increasing fuel prices, the rate of return will increase further making energy efficiency a sound investment. Homes with poor insulation levels lose energy and are uncomfortable for residents. Our analysis has shown that during major changes in external temperature (from 20C to 3C), the internal temperature only changes by 2C in a well-insulated house.”
“Local and regional authorities are where a lot of detailed decisions have to be taken in order to favor energy efficiency.” – Claude Turmes
Jimmy Magro of the Local Councils’ Association in Malta made a case for the context of smaller member states, and those in a Mediterranean climate. “Our situation is very different to the Northern European Member States. Reducing cooling, rather than heating, demand is more difficult and therefore more expensive. We welcome initiatives that increase the collaboration among Mediterranean Member States.”
The new legislation also encourages public bodies to make use of Energy Services Companies (ESCOs) offering Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) to implement building renovations and to implement plans to maintain or to improve energy efficiency in the long-term. DG Energy has launched an EU-wide Energy Performance Contracting Campaign at the national level (in co-operation with EPEC), regional level (through ManagEnergy), and local level (via the Covenant of Mayors).
This article first appeared on ManagEnergy.net