Eyes wide shut, EU industry faces energy efficiency reckoning

(EurActiv, 13 Jul 2022) European industry has long failed to implement easy measures to reduce its energy use. As supplies become fraught and prices skyrocket, EU leaders seek to make it obligatory to reduce energy consumption by all means necessary.

In 2020, EU industry made up about 26% of the bloc’s final energy consumption.

As much of industrial energy demand is fed by fossil fuels, tackling industrial energy appetites has been a longtime policy goal in the shift away from pollutants. With energy prices sky-high and dependence on Russia on everyone’s mind, energy efficiency measures are receiving renewed attention.

At the end of June, EURACTIV wrote that energy efficiency was “the EU’s favourite fail.” Now, the tides may ever so slightly be changing. The most influential EU parties agreed on an ambitious target for energy efficiency, while the European Commission will present a plan to reduce energy demand on 20 July.

“The cheapest energy is the energy you never use,” explained a senior Commission spokesperson on 11 July. “The plan that we are working on, which will be announced in the middle of July, has more of a focus on industrial uses,” he added.

In Germany, the tide is changing as well. “A manager who does not implement efficiency measures now has to ask himself whether he is doing his job properly,” said Patrick Graichen, a top-level public official, in June. 

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EurActiv, 13 Jul 2022: Eyes wide shut, EU industry faces energy efficiency reckoning