The EU set the goal of adopting a new law on energy efficiency in 2023

The European Commission has proposed a revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive in 2021 to promote energy savings targets including reductions in primary and final energy consumption by 2030. The energy crisis has only increased the need to save energy and in May 2022 The European Commission updates the proposed overall energy savings target under the law.

The Energy Efficiency Directive is an important tool to achieve both our climate and energy security goals, even more so in the current situation. Improving the efficiency of public authority buildings, manufacturing processes, central heating and cooling and data centers is essential if we are to ensure that economic growth goes hand in hand with the Green Deal

Nicola Danti, an Italian centrist MEP who is the lead negotiator for the European Parliament

However, progress has been slow with the Czech EU Council presidency criticized for moving too slowly and showing little flexibility to compromise on the matter. The Czech EU presidency “seemed eager” to soften the general approach established by their French predecessors in June this year, especially the all-important energy saving obligation.

In addition, the Czech Presidency has had to go through a huge amount of climate legislation, making it likely that some files will drag on into next year. 

I’m getting impatient, to be honest. Energy efficiency is simply too important to fall victim to slow progress on either side of the table. The problem moments are really not that complicated to explain the lack of speed. I expect the Swedish Presidency to treat this as a priority file and to finish the work with the European Parliament. Citizens’ wallets, the need for independence from Russian energy and the climate deserve better and faster work from us.

Pernille Weiss, a center-right Danish MEP

The last trialogue on 14 December had a very narrow agenda but negotiators managed to agree on heating and cooling plans to be drawn up by local authorities. 

Member states must ensure that regional and local authorities draw up local heating and cooling plans at least in municipalities with a total population of more than 45,000

according to the agreed text

 The aim is to bring these plans into line with the EU’s goal of achieving climate neutrality.

The negotiators have also decided on the thresholds that make the application of the “energy efficiency first” principle mandatory. Under the agreed text they will apply to any energy project worth more than €100 million and transport projects worth more than €175 million. Negotiators also reached agreement on other areas including basic contractual rights for heating cooling and domestic hot water as well as information and awareness-raising.

The most sensitive topics, including the general goal of saving energy, are yet to be addressed. In May, the European Commission proposed raising the EU’s energy efficiency target to 13% by 2030, up from the 9% figure originally presented in July 2021. The EU executive said the move was necessary to phasing out of Russian fossil fuels accelerated after Moscow’s decision to go to war in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the European Parliament wants a much more ambitious target of 14.5%. In its position, the Council of the European Union, which represents the 27 EU member states, stuck to the Commission’s 9% figure, putting the Council and Parliament on a collision course. Another target to be tackled is the annual energy savings obligation for EU countries, which will ensure that oil, gas and electricity consumption is actually reduced.

The European Parliament wants a target of 2%, higher than the 1.5% proposed by the Commission. Meanwhile, EU countries want a phased approach with much lower ambitions. Negotiations will resume next year during Sweden’s EU presidency, which will take over from the Czech Republic for the next six months. It will negotiate with the parliament on behalf of the 27 EU countries.

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