Green light for EU energy efficiency directive

The European Parliament has approved efficiency measures aimed at cutting energy consumption by 20% across the EU. At a plenary session in Strasbourg in France yesterday, energy-saving measures, including renovating […]

By Priyanka Shrestha

The European Parliament has approved efficiency measures aimed at cutting energy consumption by 20% across the EU.

At a plenary session in Strasbourg in France yesterday, energy-saving measures, including renovating public buildings, schemes for utilities and energy audits for all large firms were announced, which could save the EU around €50 billion (£40.1 billion) every year.

The announcement follows an EU Summit in 2007, when member states had come to an agreement on a 20% energy efficiency target by 2020, along with 20% renewable energy and carbon reduction targets. The latter two were reinforced immediately but the energy efficiency law was postponed to this year.

Green MEP Claude Turmes, who negotiated the directive said: “This was the missing part of the 2007 climate package… This essential legislation is not only crucial for achieving our energy security and climate goals, it will also give a real boost to the economy and create jobs. Crucially, it will reduce the sizeable and growing cost of our dependence on energy imports – €488 billion in 2011 or 3.9% of GDP – which is particularly stark in crisis-hit countries.”

Under the new measures, energy companies will have to achieve a “cumulative end-use energy savings target” by 2020 and reduce energy sales to industrial and household consumers by at least 1.5% every year. EU member states will have to renovate 3% of the total floor area of “heated and cooled buildings owned and occupied by their central government”.

The plenary voted with 632 MEPs in favour and 25 against.