EU Said to Weigh 27%-30% Energy-Efficiency Goal for 2030

The European Union’s regulatory arm is considering proposing a 2030 energy-savings target of 27 percent to 30 percent, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

The final number hasn’t been decided yet and is subject to discussions in the European Commission, according to the people, who asked not to be identified, citing policy. The energy-efficiency plan would become the third pillar of the EU’s energy and climate strategy for the next decade, which European leaders aim to agree upon in October.

The commission in January proposed that the 28-nation bloc adopt a binding goal to cut greenhouse gases by 40 percent by 2030, accelerating the pace of emissions reduction from 20 percent in 2020 compared with 1990 levels. It also recommended an EU-wide target to boost the share of renewables in energy consumption to 27 percent.

The European efficiency goal for this decade is to cut energy consumption by 20 percent compared with the business-as-usual projection, or by 368 million tons of oil equivalent. Under the existing law each country sets an indicative national target in its preferred form, which may include primary or final savings, intensity or consumption.

The commission is currently reviewing the law to analyze if it needs tightening to keep the EU on track to meet the 2020 goal. Most recent data shows that the bloc would save 18 percent to 19 percent of energy by the end of the decade, underlining the need for member states to accelerate the implementation of some already agreed measures, EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said last week.

Russian Gas

The EU energy-savings target will be “indicative but politically binding,” according to Oettinger. A goal of 40 percent, recommended by the European Parliament, is “unrealistic,” he said.

The matter of energy efficiency is subject to ongoing consultations in the commission, according to EU energy spokeswoman Sabine Berger.

“We are going to publish a review of the progress made so far in July and will propose steps forward for 2030 either at the same time or after the summer break,” she said by telephone. The EU summer recess takes place in August.

The proposed energy and climate framework for the next decade has divided governments and industry groups at a time when concerns about energy security increased after the cutoff of Russian natural gas deliveries to Ukraine in a pricing dispute. While flows from Russia to the EU via Ukraine remain stable, Europe is preparing measures to avert supply disruptions in the winter season.

Energy Security

A coalition including Germany and Denmark has called on other countries to agree on ambitious carbon-reduction, renewables and energy-efficiency goals to cut the reliance on imported fossil fuels. Such strategy is opposed by a group of predominantly east European nations led by Poland, which urge caution and guarantees that nations will be able to use domestic resources, such as coal and shale gas.

EU leaders will back measures to boost energy security in the short term at their two-day summit that starts today in Belgium, according to a draft statement obtained by Bloomberg News. They aim to decide about long-term steps and the 2030 energy and climate strategy in October, the conclusions showed. Their decisions require unanimity.

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