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Posts Tagged ‘European Union’

Brexit,European Energy Efficiency Directive,European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive,European Union

New PM must stick to key EU climate change targets for 2020

Irrespective of Brexit, UK Prime Minister Theresa May and her cabinet must commit to critical EU targets for the year 2020 on cutting carbon emissions and transforming the UK’s energy infrastructure.

This is the call made today (Friday) by 30 environmental and energy-related organisations¹ in a letter² to Greg Clark,  the new Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Signatories include leading business associations covering the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors, two of the UK’s biggest green NGOs and Energy UK, the body representing the  major energy suppliers.

Their letter argues that EU laws and regulations on energy and buildings have played a leading role in enabling the UK to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases and to provide global leadership on climate change.³

Three EU targets for the year 2020 have paved the way for future emission reductions. The signatories say the UK Government should now declare that it is sticking to these, as it prepares to commence exit negotiations from the union, to give badly-needed confidence to businesses and investors.

The three targets are:

  • 15% of all energy used for electricity, transport and heating should come from renewable energy sources (under the Renewables Energy Directive)
  • UK final energy consumption should fall to 129.2 million tonnes of oil equivalent or less (the Energy Efficiency Directive)
  • All new buildings must be nearly zero energy buildings by the end of 2020 (by the end of 2018 for public buildings) (The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive)

The letter says that a combination of EU and UK laws, regulations and policies have given businesses, investors and consumers the confidence to begin putting the UK on the path towards a low carbon future.

“Following the referendum, it is now critical that Government restores this already-eroded confidence by giving an assurance that, until the terms of leaving the EU are in place, all relevant EU directives and targets are still in place and the UK Government is legally obliged to continue to meet them.”

Dr Joanne Wade, CEO of the Association for the Conservation of Energy, says: “The Brexit vote has caused industry uncertainty. Government must move quickly to confirm it will continue on a clear path to meeting key energy targets.”

Sue Riddlestone, Chief Executive of sustainability charity Bioregional, says: “Cutting emissions is the pathway to secure, affordable energy for the UK in the long term as well as tackling climate change. We need a firm commitment to these long-agreed targets for 2020.”

Dr Nina Skorupska, Chief Executive of the Renewable Energy Association, said: “For the sake of jobs and investor confidence the Government cannot afford to row back on the EU 2020 renewables targets.”


  • Nicholas Schoon, Policy and Communications Manager, Bioregional, 07732 381728
  • Jenny Holland, Campaigns Director, Association for the Conservation of Energy, 0207 359 8000, 07875 629781, jenny@ukace.org


  • Ashden
  • Association for the Conservation of Energy
  • Bioregional
  • British Blind and Shutter Association
  • British Pump Manufacturers Association
  • British Rigid Urethane Foam Manufacturers Association
  • Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency
  • Centre for Sustainable Energy
  • Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers
  • E3G
  • Energy Saving Trust
  • Energy Systems Trade Association
  • Energy UK
  • Existing Homes Alliance Scotland
  • Friends of the Earth
  • Glass and Glazing Federation
  • Greenpeace
  • Insulated Render and Cladding Association
  • Lighting Industry Association
  • Mineral Wool Manufacturers Association
  • National Energy Foundation
  • National Insulation Association
  • Oil Firing Technical Association
  • Property and Energy Professionals Association
  • Regen SW
  • Renewable Energy Association
  • Solar Trade Association
  • Sustainable Energy Association
  • Thermal Insulation Consortium
  • Town & Country Planning Association


Dear Mr Clark,

We would like to warmly congratulate you on your appointment as the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and wish you well in this important new post.

We welcome the 29 June statement of Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, that the UK government would not step back from international leadership in acting on climate change.

We agree that both the UK and the EU have been world leaders in addressing the enormous challenge posed by climate change. UK leadership has stemmed from the combination of EU and UK laws,  regulations and policies. Together these have given businesses, investors and consumers the confidence to begin putting the UK economy and infrastructure on the path towards a low carbon future.

Following the referendum, it is now critical that Government restores this already-eroded confidence by giving an assurance that, until the terms of leaving the EU are in place, all relevant EU directives and targets are still in place and the UK Government is legally obliged to continue to meet them.

In particular, we call upon the Government to commit to hitting 2020 targets under the Renewable Energy Directive, the Energy Efficiency Directive and the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive:

  • 15% of all energy used for electricity, transport and heating should come from renewable energy sources
  • UK final energy consumption should fall to 129.2 million tonnes of oil equivalent or less
  • All new buildings must be nearly zero energy buildings by the end of 2020 (by the end of 2018 for public buildings)

These targets make a key contribution towards implementing the UK’s world-leading Climate Change Act 2008 – pioneering legislation which requires ever-lower UK emissions in successive five-year carbon budgets. The policies and regulations required to meet these budgets have all been set in the context of EU law and policies on energy and climate.

Yours sincerely,

[3]  Between 1990 and 2014, the latest year for which final figures are available, UK territorial emissions of greenhouse gases fell by 35%. Between 2000 and 2014 they fell by 28%.

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European Commission,European Union,Tax

DG Taxation: Consultation on existing legislation on VAT reduced rates

ACE has submitted a written response to the European Commission, DG Taxation Consultation on “Review of existing legislation on VAT reduced rates”.

The EC’s stated aim is to create a “simpler, more efficient and more robust” VAT system in the EU, partly by removing certain reduced rates which are believed to “constitute an obstacle to the proper functioning of the internal market”.

The EC has already conducted some evaluation of the existing VAT structure, and this consultation focuses on key areas that require further consideration, including the reduced VAT rate for certain energy products.

Download ACE’s consultation response here:  Consultation Response: VAT reduced rates

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European Commission,European Union,VAT

VAT challenge could harm Green Deal prospects

Should energy-saving products be subject to the full 20 per cent rate of VAT? The UK and the European Commission are set to do battle in the courts

Next spring a case will be heard in the European Courts. The result could seriously damage the prospects for the government’s flagship Green Deal programme. This would increase the costs of installing many key energy-saving measures and by doing so, render many potential packages simply too expensive to undertake.

Under the Golden Rule, the costs of installing any package of improvements funded by Green Deal Finance must be capable of being repaid during the lifetime of the loan. To qualify, calculations are made, valuing potential consequent reductions in energy consumption at its present price against the costs of measures installed (plus interest). Monthly loan repayments must be more than matched by putative energy savings. If on paper this cannot be shown to be profitable to the householder, no loans will be able to be made.

If the European Court of Justice rules against the UK government, then the cost of installing a whole range of familiar energy-saving items – thermostatic radiator valves, microgeneration, and every kind of insulation installed by contractors – will increase overnight by a whopping 15 per cent. That includes the costs of installation, as well as the costs of materials.

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ECEEE,European Union,Targets

National energy efficiency and energy saving targets

Are some targets more equal than others? The evidence

The European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy today published a study on national target setting. The study provides a snapshot of the current use of energy saving targets and opinions about these across the EU, and is based on a broad survey and stakeholder consultation. eceee also opened a page on EU efficiency policy issues and targets.

Prepared by ACE and Dr Joanne Wade, the new eceee report is based on a survey completed by eceee members and other contacts in most Member States together with an online stakeholder consultation. The report is designed to help decision-makers and relevant stakeholders appreciate how targets are currently used and how effective they can be. It is hoped that this report will provide evidence to be used in upcoming policy development discussions – particularly surrounding the upcoming draft energy efficiency directive and the European Commission’s review of whether targets need to be made mandatory for the EU to meet its objective of a 20% primary energy saving by 2020.

ACE’s Director Andrew Warren has written an article on energy efficiency targets inspired by this report, and more of ACE’s take on it is summarised below:

In our own view as co-authors we think that:

The Energy End-use Efficiency and Energy Services directive (ESD) – which set an indicative energy efficiency target of 9% energy saving by 2016 compared to the average 2001-2005 consumption – has led to a degree of consistency across Member States in terms of reporting the energy savings of programmes, though it by and large has not resulted in new or expanded energy saving effort. In new Member States, it has raised the profile of energy efficiency policy. In older and larger Member States, it has been little more than a box-ticking exercise.

  • No legally binding public sector energy saving targets have been reported. Given the exemplary role the public sector is required by the ESD to play, this is serious cause for concern.
  • There is lively debate, and diverging views (both within and across Member States), about the harmonised methodology for reporting energy savings. It’s currently a stumbling block. Achieving consensus on the matter is a prerequisite to any credible EU targets, binding or not. Consensus would be best achieved by a harmonised method which is based on the lowest common denominator of Member States’ capability of measuring energy saving progress. The method can improve over time as Member States do.
  • There are a huge variety of economy-wide and sectoral energy saving targets which are not related to the ESD, nor to the 2020 20% objective. Any EU targets, especially if there is to be burden-sharing between Member States, need to be informed by what is already in place at national level.
  • Very little has been reported about how energy saving programmes contribute to the 2020 target. Also very little has been said about National Reform Programmes (the latest round of which will outline how the 2020 objective is to be met). At best, this suggests that the ESD target is taken more seriously. At worst, having more than one EU target (ESD and 2020) is counter-productive.
  • The use of energy saving obligations on energy utilities and white certificates programmes across Europe is growing. This is both in terms of the number of Member States using them and their increasing ambition (in terms of the size of obligations set). They use a variety of pragmatic methods to measure energy savings, (mostly) bottom-up. Valuable and increasingly positive experience is being accumulated. They are mostly successful and in some respects represent an ‘outsourcing’ of binding and credible energy saving targets to the private sector. The debate about binding EU targets must be mindful of this trend.
  • The EU has binding carbon and renewables targets, but they are simply not filling the ‘energy efficiency gap’. They might begin to do so as they become more stringent in later years, but that is too late. Energy efficiency has to be granted the same binding status if the EU is serious about its 2020 objective, and serious about meeting its climate obligations at least cost.

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Climate Change Targets,Energy Efficiency,European Union

Some targets are more equal than others

ImageThe European Union has binding targets for carbon dioxide reductions and renewable energy. Why does energy efficiency not have the same status?

The European Union has three energy-related targets for 2020. Each is based upon an emblematic 20 per cent. According to Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, these are: to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent; to boost the proportion of renewable energy to 20 per cent; and to improve energy efficiency by 20 per cent.

These targets may be equal in timescale and objective. But they are not equal in stature. The first two both have the force of Community law behind them, effectively compelling the 27 governments to adopt appropriate policies. In contrast, the energy-saving target does not have the same status at all. It is far from compulsory, just an indicative aspiration.

Does this distinction matter in practice? You bet it does. The consequence of this “also ran” status is plain. Whereas there is great confidence that the first two targets are on track to being met, you can find nobody who right now believes that the energy-saving “target” will be met.

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Energy Strategy,European Union

EC Consultation: Towards a new Energy Strategy for Europe 2011-2020

ACE has submitted a written response to the European Commission consultation: “Towards a new Energy Strategy for Europe 2011-2020″

Read our full report by clicking here

1. The next decade is a pivotal time that should see accelerated change in the way Europeans source, save and use energy. A comprehensive and far-reaching energy policy strategy is necessary to support this change over the coming years. ACE welcomes the Commission’s intention to develop such a strategy over the coming months. However, ACE would like to underline that energy policy encompasses both supply and demand side considerations. A competitive and sustainable internal energy market cannot be achieved without greater energy efficiency gains on the ground. Indeed, such gains have contributed more to the EU’s energy requirements over the past thirty years than traditional fuel sources (Source Enerdata 2006). This trend must continue as Europe moves towards a decarbonised energy society.

2. It is widely acknowledged that energy efficiency gains offer an overall negative-cost solution to achieving Europe’s goals on energy security, carbon abatement and economic recovery. Investing in energy efficiency is a win-win solution, unlike investments in generating capacity, infrastructure or carbon capture and storage, which are a net cost drain. Prioritising the potential of permanent energy savings, especially in buildings which account for 40% of the EU’s primary energy use, is paramount to achieving Europe’s objectives on competitiveness, sustainability and security of supply in a time of economic cutbacks and severe budget constraints.

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Buildings,European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive,European Union

Sweden leads the EU charge towards a more wide-ranging EPBD

ImageUnder the Swedish presidency there is a new urgency to the European Union’s desire to lead the way when negotiations on a successor to Kyoto begin. But will the UK grasp the opportunity?

Why must every building where occupancy changes have an energy rating? Why are there 26,000 public buildings with energy ratings displayed prominently in its foyer? Why do larger buildings when renovated have to be energy upgraded at the same time?

The answer to all those questions is: European Directive number 2002/91‐ known as the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. But even as it was agreed in 2002 by all the European governments, everybody knew it was just a first step.

Last October, the European Commission made the first move towards creating that second step. It published a proposed recasting of the original text. EPBD2 sticks to the original concepts but builds on them, in a number of important ways. Among the key changes are:

  • smaller public buildings to display their energy ratings;
  • in all European countries (not just some, as at present) private buildings with regular public access, to display their energy ratings.

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Buildings,European Union

If we can’t count the buildings, how can we plan cuts in emissions?

ImageThere is a paucity of information about the energy consumption of Europe’s 190m buildings. Could an independent ‘centre of excellence’ clarify where energy goes?

There are 190 million buildings in the European Union. Approximately. Between them, they consume some 40% of Europe’s fuel. Or it could be 45%. There are several million people employed each year in improving the energy performance of these buildings. Or so it is estimated.

Energy policy has long been supply-oriented. We know precisely how many millions of barrels of oil are sold; how many gigawatt hours of electricity are generated; how many therms of gas are distributed. This is because the number of entities directly involved in supplying fuel is known, and have long been used to furnishing detailed output statistics to the authorities.

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European Union,SAVE

SAVE Behaviour study

SAVE Behaviour study

(funded by the European Commission)

This data collection work was carried out as part of an EC-wide study into influencing energy efficiency behaviour. ACE was responsible for gathering a wide range of data on energy efficiency behaviour influencing programmes in the UK.
A final report of the findings from this study was produced. The report puts together a set of best practice guidelines from the lessons learned across Europe, suggesting techniques that policy decision makers could follow to produce effective schemes to begin to influence energy efficiency behaviour in the domestic sector.

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