On 17 January 2018 and after tough negotiations, the Plenum of the European Parliament adopted the reports on the Energy Efficiency Directive, the Renewable Energy Directive and the Governance Regulation. Hence, the green light for the trilogue negotiations concerning these three dossiers with Council and Commission has been given. However, exactly the ambitious targets for energy efficiency, as they were demanded for energy by a majority in the competent ITRE Committee of the European Parliament last November, did not withstand the vote in the Plenum.
At the end of last year, the members of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) had still come out in favour of higher savings targets with regard to energy efficiency. In concrete terms the demand was an energy efficiency target of 40 % by 2030. However, this high target is no longer supported in Parliament; instead the majority of MEPs agreed a target value of 35 %. This value is still significantly higher than the 30 %, the EU Council had decided on shortly before Christmas 2017. The initial value of the Commission in the draft of autumn 2016 was also 30 %.
From the point of view of the Chamber of Labour there is no question that increasing energy efficiency is the key requirement for achieving the climate and energy-policy targets. However, energy efficiency is also playing a supporting role for targets, such as combating energy poverty, improving the industry's competitiveness and supply reliability. That is why these ambitious target values have to be welcomed.
Which energy efficiency target the European Union will adopt in the end, will now be decided in the following trilogue negotiations between Parliament, Council and Commission. One can only hope that the representatives of Parliament will be able to maintain their clear position on the ambitious targets towards the other EU institutions.
It is also regrettable that Parliament does not demand any binding efficiency targets at national level. The energy efficiency target of 30 or 35 % is the general target on EU-level without direct target to Member States. Binding national targets would have been important to ensure that Member States in any case had to increase their efforts to make a clearly defined contribution to achieve the energy transition.
The negotiations on the Internal Energy Market Directive, which from consumers’ point of view is of particular importance within the scope of the Energy Winter Package, have not yet been finalized in the ITRE Committee of the European Parliament. The vote will take place at the end of February at the earliest, before the decisive vote will take place in the Plenum. From the point of view of the Chamber of Labour it must also be embedded in this Directive that Member States have to take binding measures to combat energy poverty, and that apart from dynamic energy tariffs, suppliers must continue to offer time-independent tariffs. In contrast to bulk consumers, the opportunity for end customers to control their energy consumption at their convenience during the day and to adjust to current tariffs is extremely limited. Hence, for many customers, dynamic tariffs do not represent any added value, but bear within the risk of higher energy costs.