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Energy Efficiency

with Maria
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In this video, I’m going to discuss energy efficiency. Energy efficiency practically means to use less amount of any kind of energy in order to perform the same task or to deliver the same service and as such to eliminate energy waste. The EU gives growing importance in reducing energy consumption and energy waste due to a very important reason and this is its high dependency on importing energy sources that are not produced in the EU territory. In these slides we can see in details the volumes we are talking about. The EU imports more than half of its energy needs, a fact that comes with a very high bill of 266 billion per year.
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Most of these energy volumes represent fossil fuels mainly imported by Russia and Norway. This high proportion of energy imports that are concentrated among relatively few external partners threatens the stability of the EU energy supply and also the smooth operation of the EU economy. We see that patterns also vary among different EU Member States. For instance, petroleum products represent more than 80% of the total energy imports in Greece, Cyprus and Malta, whereas in Hungary, Italy and Austria the natural gas imports represent more than a third of their total energy imports. Given those conditions, the EU made energy efficiency a strategic priority first as a means to secure a sustainable energy supply and to lower the import bills.
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In that way, the overall cost that the household or the industry consumers have to pay in order to cover their energy needs will also be reduced. Second, as a means to cut down greenhouse gas emissions based on a lower energy consumption. A fact that we have to pay special attention to is the so-called “rebound” effect. This effect occurs when efforts of decreasing energy consumption and the associated CO2 emissions by improving energy efficiency lead to lower energy costs. These will in turn allow consumers to save money and enable them actually to consume more energy. Based on studies, various factors can create “rebound” effects.
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Among them would we can list the change on fuel prices, the household income, the shifts in lifestyle or even environmental awareness. This also showcases that the consumers’ behaviour can have a significant impact on energy consumption. The EU Energy Efficiency policy framework consists of a set of targets, rules and directives that are currently under revision with the “Fit for 55” legislative proposal. Let’s have a look at the targets that have been already agreed. As part of the 2020 Climate and Energy package and the respective set of laws that are in force since 2009, there is a provision of 20% increase in energy efficiency by 2020. However, this target is set at EU level and not allocated per Member State.
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The Member States were only required to set indicative national efficiency targets to ensure that the EU as a whole will be able to reach the headline target. They were also set free to make these minimum requirements as stringent as they decided as they strive to save energy at the national level. Their progress, however, had to be reported in 3-year national energy efficiency action plans. The Clean Energy for All Europeans legislative package that came in 2018 introduces a new target of energy consumption cut by at least 32.5% by 2050. This target again is set at EU level and not allocated per Member State.
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This time, however, the EU Member States have a stricter obligation to make publicly known the energy efficiency target contribution as part of their 10-year integrated energy and climate plans. Having reviewed the target, let us dive into the directives and the rules that are already in place in order to enforce and achieve energy efficiency. The Energy Efficiency Directive entered into force in 2012 and has been reviewed in 2018. This directive sets an energy savings obligation allocated to the EU Member States final energy consumption that amounts to 0.8 each year. It also requires the Member States to communicate publicly the national rules they apply when allocating the cost of heating, cooling and hot water consumption.
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Lastly, this directive sets obligation schemes for energy companies. The energy companies need to achieve yearly energy savings that amount to 1.5% of their annual sales to to final consumers. The “Fit for 55” legislative package includes a recast of the Energy Efficiency Directive in order to align its provisions to the new emissions reduction target. This recast would require the Member States to almost double their annual energy-saving obligations though various measures and as such the Member States will be able to deliver 9% more energy savings than those foreseen under the existing Directive. This graph depicts how those measures impact the energy consumption rates at the EU level.
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In more details, the solid dark blue line shows the development of the primary energy consumption and primary energy consumption measures the total energy demand of a Country or a Region. The solid light blue line shows the final energy consumption, meaning the total energy that has been consumed by end-users such as households, industry and agriculture without including the energy used by the energy sector itself. Those lines cover the period between 2005, that corresponds to a peak in energy consumption in the EU, and 2017.
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The dotted lines show the linear trajectories until 2030 and the indicative energy efficiency target of 32.5 of energy consumption reduction, and further to 2050 that corresponds to the overarching goal of climate neutrality as set by the European Green Deal. Vehicle design and energy labelling regulations have been very recently revised. Those regulations provide consistent EU-wide rules for improving the environmental performance of household and commercial appliances.
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Those directives set out minimum mandatory requirements for the energy efficiency of these products, while the current energy classes from A to D will gradually be replaced with a simpler scale from A, meaning the most efficient appliances, to D [Transcriber’s note: it’s G in the slide] signifying the least efficient appliances.

In this video, Maria Kottari introduces a main pillar of the EU’s energy policy: reducing the consumption of energy through energy efficiency measures.

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