START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
Feb 21, 2013

http://www.euractiv.com/energy-efficiency/guenther-oettinger-news-517739

 

EXCLUSIVE / Non-binding energy efficiency goals are meant to be treated with reverence but are routinely ignored, ticked off, or met by using legislative scams, ex-government officials have told EurActiv.

As Brussels gears up to discuss binding energy efficiency targets for 2030 this week, two whistleblowers told EurActiv that the EU should learn from their experiences in implementing the 2006 energy services directive (ESD), which aimed to cut energy consumption.

‘Malcolm’, a former senior officer for a north European EU state's national energy agency, said that inconvenient energy savings measures were routinely skipped over when they were not legally enforceable.

“You just checked the directive article by article to see what the requirements were for member states,” he told EurActiv. “Is it a binding requirement? ‘Ok, we need to do something’. Is it non-binding? ‘Ok, perhaps the policy we already have fits with that part of the directive.’”

“That’s what we do,” he told EurActiv. “At least that’s what was done by my government. When the member states and Commission agreed on binding targets there was more budget available, a larger team, and more of an effort made.”

The EU has agreed three climate goals for 20% improvements in the continent’s CO2 emissions, renewables and energy efficiency by 2020. But energy efficiency is the only one that is not compulsory.  

‘Accounting tricks and abuse’

“If you don’t have clearly defined end use and primary energy targets you’re always opening yourself up to accounting tricks and abuse,” said ‘Sabine’, another former-officer responsible for the ESD in a national energy agency. 

The energy services directive, which was passed in 2006, obliges EU nations to set up national energy savings action plans, showing how they would reach an indicative but ultimately voluntary 9% energy savings target by 2016. 

The bloc is on track to meet this target, “according to the submitted National Efficiency Action Plans,” Marlene Holzner, spokeswoman for the energy commissioner Günther Oettinger told EurActiv.

Other measures in the directive covered energy efficient procurement, services promotion and information points, as well as removing barriers within Europe’s internal market.  

The law’s progress has been dogged by complaints about its enforcement, although the European Commission now says that it has been fully transposed and implemented.

But the agency that Sabine worked for chose to measure their energy savings in terms of primary energy – such as oil, coal and gas – rather than end-use energy, or actual energy consumption, as the legislation required. 

This meant that measures such as the promotion of zero emissions buildings were neglected in favour of a subsidised scheme to convert buildings away from direct to district-based heating.

Fake energy savings

“It looked like they were saving energy because they reduced primary energy,” Sabine said, “but it wasn’t a real saving - an energy efficiency improvement – it was just a little trick that they used.”

Energy and the environment are both considered shared competences under theTreaty of Lisbon, but Brussels is often hesitant to legislate on energy, a matter of national security for some. The energy savings targets in the ESD, a case in point, were originally proposed as binding statute.

“The European Parliament tried to get a binding target and they argued and argued but finally had to give up when the realised they couldn’t,” said Randall Bowie, one of the directive’s authors. “They fought for it like crazy.”

A consequence of that defeat was that member states ignored parts of the directive that couldn’t be easily included as part of already-existing programmes, Bowie said, or promoted them with weak legislation that had little impact. 

“When a target is there, they realise that they have to do a more ambitious implementation,” he told EurActiv. If the ESD had included binding targets, there would have been no need to repeat some of its measures, such as supplier obligations in the energy efficiency directive, he added.

Naming and shaming

“Non compliance by a member state with a non-binding target can lead to naming and shaming but not to any legislative action so there is no political risk of infringement procedures for a government minister,” said Malcolm.

“That is why there was much more progress on topics like renewables and CO2 emissions reductions.”

For Bowie, this is particularly troublesome as, he argues, energy efficiency has greater standalone CO2-reducing potential than renewable energies because of the sectoral flexibility it offers.

“There are a lot of strong arguments for having a binding target for energy efficiency,” he said. “Having a CO2 target is also important but a renewables target in the order of priorities could be third.”

This line of reasoning offers an olive branch to states such as Poland which balk at other climate targets.But it is likely to be resisted by environmental groups, already mindful of a risk that the EU’s current three low carbon goals could be played off against each other in the 2030 negotiations to come.

Visibility: Everyone
Posted: Thursday February 21, 2013, 6:11 pm
Tags: energy india alternative global asia [add/edit tags]

Group Discussions
Comments
Or, log in with your
Facebook account:

Nina G. (0)
Wednesday February 20, 2013, 6:19 pm
As they say, nobody was born great, they all started from the first step and persevered in their fields to get where they are today.

Author

Nina G.
female ,
USA
NINA'S SHARES
Mar
6
(1 comments  |  discussions )
\nSource page :\r\nhttp://www.wattpad.c om/13183835-update-hedge- fund-bankruptcy-trustee-s ues\r\n \r\nNew York (HedgeCo.net) - The trustee for failed hedg e fund Petters Group, Douglas Kelley, has sued the Epsilon-Westford fun ds founde...
Mar
4
(1 comments  |  discussions )
\nhttp://www.wattpad.com/ 13097042-financial-secret ary-john-tsang-defends-hi s-budget\r\nFinancial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah yesterday hit back at critics who said his budget last week was too conservative, warning that the next generation would suffer...
Feb
18
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\n \r\nhttp://www.fi rstpost.com/business/cair n-india-is-fastest-growin g-energy-firm-platts-5010 54.html\r\n  &n bsp;   &nb sp;   &nbs p;     ;         & nbsp;&...


SHARES FROM NINA'S NETWORK
No shares


MORE MEMBER BLOGS
Mar 31
Blog: How to Extend the Life of your TRIAD Boilers by Kayleigh L.
(0 comments  |  discussions ) — \\nHow to Extend the Life of your TRIAD Boilers \\r\\n \\r\\nCorlis Engine Review\\r\\nEvery user desires to prolong the life of a unit. TRIAD assists their clients in achieving this important objective by informing them of ways they can avoid problems... more
Feb 27
Blog: Dr Oz Weight Loss - The 100% Natural And Very Efficient Diet Pill by Debra S.
(0 comments  |  discussions ) — \\nYes, Dr. Oz called Garcinia Cambogia Extract (HCA) the Holy Grail of Weight Loss. He went on to say, “Anytime I see a scientist get this excited about something like Garcinia Cambogia Extract and when I looked through some of this research and... more
Blog: My Favorite Websites by krysta I.
(0 comments  |  discussions ) — \\nIFAW: www.ifaw.org\\r\\nOCEANA www.oceana.org\\r\\nPETA: www.peta.org\\r\\nEARTH 911: www.earth911.org\\r\\nANI MALs ASIA: www.animalsasia.org\\r\\n \\r\\n\\r\\n\\n more
Feb 21
Blog: testing one two three by Geoff M.
(0 comments  |  discussions ) — hello world more
Blog: Garcinia Cambogia Reviews From Actual People Garcinia Pure Extract Is A Huge Success February 20 by Dany M.
(0 comments  |  0 discussions ) — \\nGarcinia Cambogia Reviews From Actual People Garcinia Pure Extract Is A Huge Success February 20\\r\\nGarcinia Cambogia System The Dr. Oz Lose Weight Quick Process Without Having Side Effects\\r\\nHe went on to say, “At any time I see a researcher... more
 
Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of Care2.com or its affiliates.