As climate action takes centre stage at both the European and global level, energy efficiency is recognised as the first fuel and key to reaching decarbonisation objectives at the lowest cost. In this context, the European Commission (EC) has warned that energy efficiency efforts must be intensified to achieve the European Union (EU) 2030 targets and put us on a pathway to carbon neutrality by 2050. This was echoed in the recent International Energy Agency (IEA) World Energy Outlook 2019 report, which stresses that energy efficiency progress has slowed down.
To trigger consolidated action on the world’s first fuel, the EC adopted recommendations on “Energy efficiency first: accelerating towards a 2030 objective of 32.5%”. With a focus on end-use energy savings, heating and cooling, as well as billing and metering, the recommendations aim to provide guidance to EU member states to ambitiously implement the revised Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) and collectively achieve the EU’s 32.5% energy efficiency target by 2030.
The EC’s guidance on the Energy Savings Obligation in the EED confirms that on-site cogeneration is one of the key solutions that can contribute towards achieving EED objectives, delivering energy savings to end-users on top of contributing to system-wide savings. Accounting for cogeneration under Article 7 will ensure a level playing field for solutions saving energy among heat consumers.
Concerning heating and cooling, the EC recommendation provides a clear framework for member states to identify potentials for efficient and renewable solutions as part of the next round of Heating & Cooling Comprehensive Assessments. The new EED provisions and implementing guidance proposes a holistic energy systems’ approach to determine the best ways to decarbonise heating and cooling across different types of consumers (domestic, commercial and industrial). Making full use of this tool, EU member states will ensure a stable investment environment for sustainable heating and cooling solutions, including cogeneration.
COGEN Europe welcomes these developments and calls on EU member states to boost efforts on energy efficiency, with a view to identify and realise existing potentials across all end-users, fuels and energy systems.