The European Commission has presented its Energy Efficiency Action Plan, which calls for actions to make energy appliances, buildings, transport and energy generation more efficient. It proposes stringent new energy efficiency standards, promotion of energy services, and specific financing mechanisms to support more energy efficient products.
The Commission will also establish a Covenant of Mayors from the 20-30 most pioneering cities in Europe and will propose an international agreement on energy efficiency. Altogether the plan includes more than 75 measures.
Europeans need to save energy. Europe wastes at least 20% of the energy it uses. By saving energy, Europe will help address climate change, as well as its rising consumption, and its dependence on fossil fuels imported from outside the Union’s borders.
Energy efficiency is crucial for Europe: If we take action now, the direct cost of our energy consumption could be reduced by more than euro 100 billion annually by 2020; around 780 million tons of CO2 will also be avoided yearly.—EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs
The plan puts forward a comprehensive set of measures for improving energy efficiency in the area of transport, which accounted for more than 31% of the energy consumption in the end-use sectors and is almost entirely dependent upon oil.
Mobility, particularly by road, experienced strong growth over the last 30 years. Thirty years ago people travelled an average of 17 km per day by car, today we travel up to 35 km on average. Road transport also accounts for almost 45% of freight transport, a figure which is expected to increase further by 2010. The supremacy of road transport today is synonymous with congestion and pollution and costs the European economy around half a point of GDP per year.
|Energy Saving Potential in the European End-Use Sectors|
|Sector||Energy consumption (Mtoe) 2005||Consumption Mtoe 2020|
(Business as usual)
|Energy Saving Potential||% Saving potential|
The plan recognizes that energy savings can be achieved, in particular, by ensuring fuel efficiency of cars, developing markets for cleaner vehicles, ensuring proper tire pressure and by improving the efficiency of urban, rail, maritime and aviation transport systems. The plan recognizes the importance of changing transportation behavior.
The Commission will, if considered necessary, propose legislation to ensure that the 120g CO2/km target is achieved by 2012 through a comprehensive and consistent approach, in accordance with the agreed EU objective. A proposal to strengthen EU requirements for labelling of cars will also be proposed.
The plan also emphasizes the considerable potential for reducing losses in the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity. The Action Plan proposes targeted instruments to improve the efficiency of both new and existing generation capacity and to reduce transmission and distribution losses.
The Action Plan, which will be implemented over the next six years, is in response to the urgent call from Heads of State and Government at the Spring European Council this year for a realistic Energy Efficiency strategy.