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eceee publishes discussion paper on binding targets for sustainable energy demand

(15 May 14) eceee today published a discussion paper on binding targets for sustainable energy demand. The paper picks up on the European Commission’s proposal for a policy framework for climate and energy in the period from 2020 to 2030.

eceee has asked an independent consultant, Jean-Sébastien Broc, to produce a discussion paper on binding energy demand targets. The discussion paper published today entitled A binding target for sustainable energy demand: Why and how? complements the eceee comment on the Commission’s proposal for policy framework for climate and energy in the period from 2020 to 2030, presented 22 January 2014. The discussion paper is also complemented by a new section on the EU 2030 energy policy framework on eceee's web site.

The new eceee discussion paper takes a thorough look into the following issues:

  • what targets are, and their main pros & cons.
  • why a binding target for sustainable energy demand is needed.
  • the various options to set and monitor this target.

The new eceee discussion paper uses the term “target for sustainable energy demand”, which is meant to encompass the different possibilities of targets expressed in terms of energy efficiency improvements, energy savings or maximum level of energy consumption. The term “sustainable” is used to highlight that the roadmap towards 2050 means that the EU objective of drastically reducing GHG emissions cannot be achieved in a sustainable way without reducing the energy demand. The 2050 roadmap mentions a level of consumption 30% lower than 2005, if international conditions are right.

The conclusions from the 5th Assessment of the IPCC have confirmed that energy efficiency should be the core of any climate & energy strategy

The paper argues that a framework based on a single target for GHG emissions only would be misleading. Having a single GHG target will not in itself solve the lack of integration between policies for energy efficiency, RES and GHG emissions, the paper argues. The impact assessment’s results show that the issue is not to oppose the types of targets, but to choose an appropriate level of ambition (but further analysis shows that a single GHG target would lead to extra costs overall for 2020-2050).

The paper also sets out to answer the question whether a target for sustainable energy demand would reduce the flexibility for Member States, and concludes that:

  • a lower energy demand means a lower pressure on the energy system, hence higher flexibility
  • energy efficiency improvements can be achieved in all sectors (various strategies possible)

The question of whether a single GHG target would be a sufficient signal to stimulate the most cost-effective energy efficiency investments is also discussed. Here, the paper concludes that:

  • a single GHG target would tend to favour fuel switching, meaning increased energy imports and dependency
  • the high uncertainties about the carbon price would not create the conditions for a clear level playing field or stable investment environment
  • with a single GHG target, options on the supply-side would be  preferred to options on the demand-side, because they are easier to implement, despite being more costly overall and less beneficial to the whole society

A draft version of the paper was presented at an eceee policy workshop with various stakeholders in early April 2014.


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