Understanding New European Energy Policy
European solutions are of the essence when it comes to reconciling the objectives of energy security, competitiveness, and climate change mitigation as the energy transition is progressing. The European climate and energy framework for 2030 and the legislative packages of the European Union for an energy union are of key strategic significance for the future direction of European and national climate and energy policies, and thus for the successful implementation of the energy reforms.
The European Union has set itself the aim of cutting EU greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 from 1990. Also, the proportion of renewables in the final energy consumption of the EU is to rise to 32% and EU primary energy consumption is to be cut by 32.5% compared with a reference scenario.
“Clean Energy for All Europeans” package
Together with the existing proposals on climate policy and the gas sector, the “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package forms the framework for the implementation of the Energy Union and the European climate and energy targets up to 2030. The package itself consists of four Directives and four Regulations.
The German government welcomes the compromise on the first sub-package as an important political success which shows that Europe is able to act. The agreement on ambitious but attainable objectives in combination with robust instruments for their implementation sends out a strong signal for a European energy transition. This will have a key impact on the energy transition in Germany over the next decade.
The revised Renewable Energy Directive
The revised Renewable Energy Directive will provide the EU with a new framework for the funding of renewable energy. The share of renewable energy in final energy consumption within the EU is to increase to at least 32% by 2030. In addition to common funding rules for electricity from renewables, the directive also addresses the heating and transport sectors, which account for two-thirds of energy consumption.
For example, the Member States will need to increase the share of renewable energy they use for heating and cooling by 1.3 percentage points from 2021 onwards. In the transport sector, the marketers of fuels are obliged to increase the share of renewable fuels by 14% by 2030 – largely via the use of new technologies such as electric mobility and power to X (using electricity to generate synthetic fuels). The updated Directive will also restrict the share of first-generation biofuels – biofuels that are produced from food crops.
The revised Energy Efficiency Directive
The revised Energy Efficiency Directive seeks to reduce primary energy consumption within the EU by 32.5% by 2030 compared with a reference scenario. Member States remain at liberty to decide on their indicative contribution towards the EU’s energy efficiency target for 2030. The key instrument for the implementation of the Directive – the energy efficiency obligation – has been strengthened and extended beyond 2020. In this context, real savings of 0.8% a year were agreed for the first time. Up until now, the Member States had to adopt measures to achieve 1.5%; however, there were a large number of exemptions by which countries could reduce this target to below the real rate of 0.8% which has now been agreed.
The revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD)
The revision of the Buildings Directive provides for a further development of the long-term renovation strategies currently covered by the Energy Efficiency Directive. In addition, the revision contains provisions permitting new buildings to become better equipped to cope with the future needs and possibilities of energy and transport infrastructure. The Directive anchors an arrangement to promote the creation of the necessary infrastructure for electric mobility: in future, new buildings with more than 10 parking spaces must include conduits to permit the provision of charging infrastructure. Regarding the inspections of heating and air-conditioning systems, there will in future be a further option in addition to the existing possibility of “alternative measures”: the fitting of building automation and control systems. The European Commission will also develop a smartness indicator to assess the technological capability of a building to regulate itself and communicate with the residents and the electricity grid.