jeudi 9 septembre 2010

Les nouveaux plans d’économie d’énergie de l’UE sont axés sur le secteur du bâtiment

La construction de bâtiments sera au centre du nouveau plan d’économie d’énergie de l’UE, que la Commission européenne projette de présenter avant la fin de l’année, a dit le commissaire européen à l’énergie.

Commissioner Günther Oettinger told journalists after an informal meeting of European energy ministers on Tuesday (7 September) that he would bring out the much delayed new Energy Efficiency Action Plan this year.

The review of the plan was originally on the previous Commission's agenda before being deferred to the new executive. The commissioner gauged ministers' expectations over a lunchtime discussion.

To achieve the action plan's objective of making energy savings of 20% by 2020, the EU will first have to agree on what every member state and every sector must contribute towards the goal, Oettinger said. Tuesday's debate already touched upon some sectors with high potential for energy savings, and ministers agreed buildings would be the most important contributor, he added.

"On energy efficiency, there still are a lot of goals to be met and there are even still goals to be set," said Freya Van den Bossche, the Flemish government's minister for energy, who chaired the debate. She argued that the EU would not be able to meet its 2020 goal without taking new measures.

Such new measures could include legally binding efficiency targets for each member state in the manner of the Renewable Energy Directive. But such binding obligations are expected to be scrapped from the draft plan as Oettinger said he would only propose binding action if the current voluntary goal proves insufficient in the next few years.

The ministers identified technological innovation and the Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan as key elements in becoming world leaders in technology. They also mentioned a network of smart cities, which had already been identified in the previous draft plan as a way to pioneer new technologies.

Intensive work underway at the Commission

The Commissioner said his department would be doing some intensive work over the coming months to prepare drafts for scrutiny at a 4 February EU summit devoted to energy.

One of these drafts will be the new energy infrastructure package, which the Commission is currently working on and should become "more and more concrete over the next weeks," Oettinger said. He pledged to bring Europe's gas and electricity networks up to the same standard as the continent's highway and aerospace sectors.

The ministers debated how to finance the massive investment in new grid infrastructure, interconnections and smart grids that are needed to develop a modern, Europe-wide grid.

"It is essential that we should work in close cooperation with our industry and the financial institutions in order to make the necessary investments," said Paul Magnette, Belgian minister for climate and energy.

The ministers also called for greater harmonisation of planning and permitting procedures as a way to make infrastructure projects more attractive to private investors, Magnette added.


A coalition of 19 environmental and social businesses and NGOs urged the energy ministers to move to scale up Europe's efforts to stop energy waste three-fold.

Ahead of the informal ministerial meeting, they met with Paul Magnette, Belgian minister for climate and energy policy, to express their concerns that the EU will miss its efficiency targets and ensuing benefits without high-level political commitment.

"What is needed mostly are additional and more tailored financial schemes and delivery mechanisms, greater professional training and public information, proper implementation and enforcement of existing and future policy instruments as well as the adoption of specific binding targets," they said in a statement.

"A much higher political priority for energy efficiency measures is essential if the EU has any chance to meet its 20% energy saving target by 2020. The result will be lower energy bills for consumers – with potential savings of up to €78 billion annually by 2020, the generation of millions of valuable jobs and a massive boost to new innovation in low-carbon industries and services," said Tony Long, director of WWF's European Policy Office.

"The Coalition supports the effort of the Belgian Presidency to raise the importance of energy efficiency and ensure decisions are taken in the Council and other EU institutions that help European companies take the lead in the global race for innovative and sustainable solutions and products. This is an economic imperative on which we must work together immediately," said Luigi Meli, director general of CECED, the voice of the European household appliance industry.

European consumers' organisation BEUC stressed the need to design energy efficiency policies so that they do not exclude vulnerable groups from the possibility of saving energy.

Speaking at the informal meeting, Monique Goyens, BEUC's director-general, criticised EU initiatives to promote energy consumers' interests for failing to translate into concrete benefits for customers. She argued that customers cannot take energy-saving decisions unless energy providers send them correct and comprehensible bills and set transparent prices and proper complaint handling processes.


End of 2010: Commission to present new Energy Efficiency Action Plan.
4 Feb. 2011: European Council devoted to energy.
By 2020: EU to be 20% more energy efficient.

SOURCE : Euractiv


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