Turmes report on Energy Efficiency draws an ambitious road map for Europe

energy efficiency, European union, energy saving Claude Turmes, Member of the European Parliament from Luxembourg’s (Greens) and rapporteur on the future European energy efficiency directive, released his draft report presenting no fewer than 119 amendments to the European Commission’s proposal. Known for his firm resolve on energy-related issues, Turmes offers up measures that, as we mentioned in August, are a much more ambitious path towards an energy efficient European economy, offering a roadmap with milestones and a deadline for 2050.

New propositions and an upward revision of the Commission’s proposals

The dichotomy between “binding targets” (to which the European member states are opposed out of principle) and “binding measures” proposed by the Commission no longer exists in Turmes’ draft report, which imposes once again legally binding energy savings targets on member states immediately after the directive goes into effect. Regarding the measures recommended by the European executive branch, the report generally extends their scope.

Buildings are the main priority, but financing mechanisms have to be set up

The Turmes report’s cohesiveness is based on four cornerstones. First, the act of setting binding targets gives visibility, secures a reliable political commitment and, thanks to its future-focused perspective, creates a safe European framework for investors. The second, a true innovation, prompts member states to set up financial mechanisms whose role will be to maximize the available funds to invest in energy savings, notably by attracting institutional investors. The third is the primary focus on buildings, which represent 40% of the total energy consumption in Europe and the most easily attained energy savings through existing technology. The fourth and final cornerstone encourages energy companies to develop new business models based on energy services rather than merely production and distribution.

With early signs of hesitation at the European Council, can a consensus be found?

The only drawback is the European Council’s radically opposed position, the first draft of which has circulated in Brussels. Claude Turmes must again win over dissenters to his cause, like he did victoriously in the debates over the renewable energy directive in 2009, though the economic context in Europe will surely make the task more difficult this time around.

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