Energy Efficiency: less red tape, more flexibility
Details eines Elektrizitätswerks hinter einem Zaun - Details of an electric utility behind fence

The European Parliament has presented a compromise package for the hotly-debated EU Energy Efficiency Directive. The Industry, Research and Energy Committee (IRTE) voted in favour of binding targets for Member States and flexible implementing measures. “We need a lean directive with a high impact. Today’s vote is an appealing offer to the Member States who often complain about too much red tape”, said Markus Pieper MEP, the EPP Group Shadow Rapporteur on the Energy Efficiency Directive.

The MEPs approach is that if Member States agree on joint binding targets, (burden

sharing) they will be allowed to deviate from the fixed EU targets for energy consumption reduction or the renovation of existing buildings. If they do not accept burden sharing with binding national targets the reduction and renovation quota proposed by the European Commission ought to become mandatory. “And for the latter we managed to lock up bureaucracy”, Mr. Pieper stated.

As proposed by the EPP Group, local governments should be allowed alternative energy-consumption reduction measures, such as new heating installations, instead of fixed yearly quotas. The yearly energy savings would have to equal that of a 2,5 per-cent renovation of existing buildings.

MEPs also agreed on an alternative to the Commission proposal of making a 1,5 per-cent yearly decrease in the national utilities’ energy turnover mandatory. Instead, ongoing renovations of existing buildings ought to qualify for being taken on board. “We tell Member States how much energy they will have to save, but not how to save it”, said the EPP Group MEP. Smaller local utilities may be exempt from the directive if their existence is in danger. Besides, Member States may accept the energy consumption per product unit instead of absolute savings.

Parliament and Member States will now have to agree on the new EU directive. “I regret that the Committee has turned down an EPP Group request to have a plenary vote before the negotiations with the Council. A plenary vote would have strengthened the visibility and the transparency of the Parliament altogether”, the EPP Group Shadow Rapporteur noted.