Commission proposes higher target and precise rules / Cautious approach on ecodesign but more products covered by efficiency standards

Peter Liese: Right priorities but regulations for renewables need to be improved

“It is very good that the European Commission is serious on the principle ‘energy efficiency first’. Energy efficiency is the cost-efficient part of climate mitigation. In the past few years, we spent one billion euros per day on importing fossil fuels. That money should be better spent to our local craftsmen and industry.” This is how Liese as Coordinator in the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety for the biggest group in the European Parliament, the Christ-democratic EPP, reacted on the proposals of the European Commission, the so-called Winter Package. The Commission proposes to raise the energy efficiency target for 2030 to 30%, besides many other proposals on the future of EU energy and climate policy. The Commission also proposes to extend the main elements of the energy efficiency Directive to 2030 and beyond.

“I support these proposals because it brings clarity for our citizens and for investors: Those who invest in energy efficiency in Europe are getting support. I personally think it is right that the Commission proposes a binding target, which increases planning security. President of the European Commission Juncker and Commissioner Cañete have announced this during the elections two years ago. One must not criticize politicians for keeping their promises.”

The winter packet additionally includes a new work programme for ecodesign. Seven new products are going to be regulated in the future: Building Automation and control systems, kettles, hand dryers, lifts, solar panels and inverters, refrigerated containers and high-pressure cleaners. Thirty terawatt hours are probably being saved only by regulating building automation and control systems. Showerheads and toasters are off the list now. “I think this is a very smart and well-balanced compromise, which reflects exactly the EPP position. “ However, Mr Liese is still sceptical on the Commission proposal on the Renewable Energy Directive. “Although it is right to focus on energy efficiency - as there have been several problems with renewable energy in the past years, like high costs due to the destabilisation of the network or public acceptance of wind energy - we will not be able to protect our environment and to decrease our dependency on energy imports only with energy efficiency measures. We need renewable energy on top of energy efficiency. On that topic, the winter package of the Commission is rather weak and I think, especially from a German perspective, we will have to improve it in the European Parliament and in the Council. Achieving the 27% target only with some ambitious Member States must be avoided. Member States like Poland will have to raise their renewable energy share, instead of coal industry”, concluded Liese.