Clean energy: the EU’s push for renewables and energy efficiency

Fighting climate change continues to be one of the EU’s priorities. Find out how MEPs want to boost energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources.

In 2016 the European Commission presented a set of clean energy proposals aimed to help fight climate change, as well as reduce the EU’s dependency on fossil fuel imports and help households generate their own green energy. MEPs are now considering amendments to these proposals.

Renewables

The share of energy consumed from renewable sources has almost doubled in the last years, from about 8.5% in 2004 to 16.7% in 2015. The EU is on track to reach its 20% target for 2020.

In 2014 EU countries agreed this should increase to 27% by 2030, but MEPs say it should be at least 35%.They also want to boost people’s right to produce, store and consume their own electricity from renewable sources without having to pay any charges or taxes.

Energy efficiency

Energy efficiency improvements could not only reduce CO2 emissions, but also the EU’s annual €350 billion energy import bill. That is why MEPs want to set a binding target to reduce energy consumption across the EU by 40% by 2030.

One important area for improvement is the heating and cooling of buildings, which accounts for 40% of all the energy consumed in the EU. About 75% of them are energy inefficient.

In December 2017, negotiators from Parliament, the Council and the Commission agreed that EU countries should prepare national long-term strategies to support the renovation of residential and non-residential buildings. The aim is that by 2050 buildings in the EU hardly use any energy.

In addition, last year Parliament simplified energy labels for home appliances, such as lamps, televisions and vacuum cleaners, to make it easier for consumer to compare their energy efficiency.

MEPs are also working on setting up a cooperation and control mechanism to monitor progress towards EU energy and climate targets for 2030, especially those related to energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Published by the European Parliament