Politics

It’s now or by no means for vitality conservation – EURACTIV.com


EU international locations are scrambling for brand new sources of fuel to part out Russian fossil fuels and punish Moscow for its brutal battle in Ukraine. But within the rush to diversify, Europe as soon as once more dangers overlooking a no-regret answer: vitality conservation.

In its REPowerEU plan outlined final month, the European Commission estimated that 10 billion cubic meters (bcm) of fuel might be saved by subsequent winter if all households turned down their thermostats by 1°C. Frontloading deployment of rooftop photo voltaic panels and warmth pumps may shave off an additional 2.5 and 1.5 bcm respectively by the top of this 12 months, the EU govt mentioned.

These efforts are laudable however they pale compared to the 155 bcm of fuel that the EU imported from Russia final 12 months. And various provides of liquified pure fuel from the US or Qatar won’t be enough to plug the hole.

If Russian fuel goes lacking subsequent winter, Europeans will subsequently have to arrange for rationing.

Gas rationing will hit folks the place it hurts most: proper of their very houses. Gas is the dominant supply of vitality for households (32.1%) with the residential sector – largely heating – accounting for many EU fuel demand (40%), adopted by trade and fuel use for energy technology, based on the EU company for the cooperation of vitality regulators (ACER).

The discount of fuel consumption in buildings should subsequently grow to be an pressing political precedence. And but, effectivity continues to be the uncared for little one of EU vitality coverage. Energy-saving targets have to date by no means been imposed as a authorized obligation on EU member states, and have persistently been missed consequently.

The limitations are well-known: insulating thousands and thousands of particular person houses scattered throughout dozens of European international locations and switching them to renewable heating programs takes time and is fraught with sensible issues. Support for householders and monetary incentives usually are not sufficient to spur renovation on the pace and scale required. These are colossal efforts which might be greatest deliberate over many years, not months.

Yet the financial case for saving vitality has by no means been stronger. The newest analysis by Fraunhofer, a German public institute, reveals that vitality financial savings have grow to be extra engaging economically as vitality costs rise. Gas costs have multiplied sixfold within the first quarter of 2022 in comparison with one 12 months earlier, so assuming a doubling of vitality costs till 2030 appears believable, if not conservative. This means the EU may goal for vitality financial savings of 23% by 2030 as a substitute of the 9% proposed within the European Commission’s revised vitality effectivity directive tabled final 12 months, the German researchers discovered.

“The EU can and must increase its energy-saving ambition. It will keep our energy bills in check and accelerate the phase-out of Russian oil and gas,” mentioned Stefan Scheuer, a advisor who reviewed the analysis.

There are many issues folks can do to decrease their vitality consumption, which come at zero value: Over the years, folks have grow to be accustomed to heating their houses at a mean of twenty-two°C, as a substitute of 18°C, Scheuer says. Hot water utilization may additionally simply be diminished if promoted in nationwide campaigns to restrict the time folks spend below the bathe. In Germany and different EU international locations, stress is constructing on governments to implement new pace limits on motorways in an effort to save petrol.

The financial savings potential doesn’t solely reside on the demand facet. By capturing fuel that’s vented or flared in North Africa, Europe may substitute as much as 15% of Russian fuel inside one or two years, based on analysis revealed final month. Globally, venting or flaring represents some 260 bcm of fuel yearly – or 1.7 instances the quantity Europe imports from Russia yearly, the research discovered.

The European Commission acknowledges that the ‘energy efficiency first’ precept needs to be prioritised, saying it’s “more relevant than ever” to lower reliance on Russian fuel. In reality, the EU govt is already reconsidering the fundamental financial assumptions behind its proposed vitality effectivity goal in view of the skyrocketting vitality costs fuelled by Russia’s battle in Ukraine.

But politicians at each the EU and nationwide degree should hurry up and make a constructive case for vitality financial savings now – alongside rolling out large subsidies to speed up constructing renovation, clear heating options and photo voltaic panels.

Otherwise, vitality conservation measures must be imposed on the inhabitants, and voters won’t miss the chance to punish governments subsequent time they go to the polls.

– Frédéric Simon


After a one-week interruption for Easter, we’re again to provide you a round-up of vitality and environment-related information from the center of the EU. The temper in Brussels hasn’t modified basically whereas we have been away. The focus continues to be very a lot on the Ukraine battle and Europe’s efforts to desert its habit to Russian fossil fuels. Read our information digest beneath to search out out concerning the newest.


More tales:


COPENHAGEN. Danish PM: Become greener to weaken Putin. Denmark will cease reliance on pure fuel by 2030 regardless that this implies manufacturing will improve within the short-term, the Danish authorities introduced on Tuesday (19 April).

“When we become greener, we weaken Putin. And when we become greener, we slow down the climate change that is destroying our planet,” mentioned Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. Read extra.

ATHENS. Greeks pay the best electrical energy value within the EU. Greece has had the best electrical energy value within the EU for 2 consecutive days, based on the EU Day-Ahead Market Prices. The authorities vows to take additional measures to sort out an escalating vitality disaster, whereas the opposition urges motion towards the “energy cartel”. Read extra.

ROME. Italy seems to be to Congo and Angola in mission to chop fuel dependency on Moscow. Prime Minister Mario Draghi and the Republic of Congo President Dénis Sassou N’Guesso agreed on the “wide potential of the bilateral partnership, particularly in the energy sector”, Palazzo Chigi, Italy’s Council of State seat, mentioned in a be aware on Tuesday. Read extra.

LISBON. Economy minister: ‘Windfall tax’ off desk for now. Portugal’s authorities is at the moment not contemplating rising tax on corporations making extraordinary income in a bid to help these which might be struggling from the results of the battle in Ukraine, Portugal’s Economy Minister Antonio Costa Silva mentioned on Tuesday. Read extra.

BERLIN. Social Democrats again Nord Stream 2 advocate. Social Democrats within the Bundestag have come to the defence of occasion elder Manuela Schwesig, the regional chief of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and, till not too long ago, a number one advocate for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline after she was requested to step down. Read extra.

BRATISLAVA. Slovaks help measures lowering vitality consumption. Slovaks largely help particular person measures lowering oil and fuel consumption so long as they obtain reductions in return, a brand new survey performed by the MNFORCE company in cooperation with the Slovak Academy of Sciences has discovered. Read extra.

ROME. Draghi to skip ‘gas tour’ in Africa after testing constructive for COVID-19. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi won’t be able to take part in a mission to Angola and Congo scheduled for 20-21 April after he examined constructive for COVID-19 however stays asymptomatic, his workplace mentioned on Monday. The mission’s goal is to achieve new vitality agreements to chop the nation’s reliance on Russian fuel following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. 

The delegation representing the Italian authorities within the missions to Angola and the Republic of Congo might be headed by Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio and Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani. (Margherita Montanari | EURACTIV.it)

TIRANA. Albania might be fuel hub of the Balkans with new US deal. Albania might be a key participant in Europe’s fuel sector as US firm Excelerate Energy Inc plans to make use of it as a option to ship pure fuel and pure fuel merchandise to the remainder of the area, because the nation additionally seems to be at rising interconnectors amid the worldwide vitality disaster.

But the plan may not sit nicely with environmental organisations who not too long ago known as on the European Commission and regional governments to keep away from fuel, and spend money on renewable vitality comparable to photo voltaic and wind. Read extra.

BUCHAREST. Romanian authorities makes offshore regulation extra investor-friendly. The governing coalition agreed to undertake adjustments to the present offshore regulation, making it extra beneficial to traders and permitting it to assist unblock the exploitation of fuel reserves within the Black Sea. Read extra.

ROME. Italy’s centre-left slams authorities cooperation on fuel with Egypt. The attainable settlement for a fuel provide with the el-Sisi authorities in Egypt “leaves many doubts” contemplating the developments of the Regeni case, Democratic Party Secretary Enrico Letta instructed Radio Rai Uno on Thursday. Read extra.

EU. Europe prepares to reside with out Russian vitality. As a ban on Russian oil and fuel imports is more and more on the horizon, member states are making ready their plans and techniques for all times with out them. Read extra.

BELGRADE. Serbian firm NIS sees potential takeover by Azerbaijani SOCAR Company. The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) is keen on shopping for out a controlling stake in oil and fuel firm Naftna Industrija Srbije (NIS) and has been in touch with NIS’ majority proprietor, Russian state firm Gazprom Neft, and the Serbian authorities, the Demostat.rs web site has reported. Read extra.

CENTRAL EUROPE. Central Europeans to spice up hydrogen grid. Gas transmission system operators (TSOs) from Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, and Poland agreed to a strategic partnership to develop the area’s hydrogen grid. According to the partnership settlement, the businesses can even cooperate on decarbonisation, creating inexperienced gases, and exploring CO2’s potentialities. Read extra.

ZAGREB. EIB to help Croatian renewable vitality storage capability tasks. The EU Investment Bank will finance and help tasks to assemble storage amenities for renewable vitality, the Global Relationship Manager in Croatia, Olga Pascenco, mentioned on Tuesday. Read extra.

ZAGREB. Request for allocation of latest capability of LNG terminal on Krk. The LNG Croatia firm acknowledged on Monday that current and potential shoppers may submit proposals to allocate new free capacities for the regasification of liquefied pure fuel (LNG) at this facility at Omišalj on the Croatian island of Krk. Read extra.

Italy, Algeria signal fuel provide deal. Italy and Algeria agreed to spice up fuel provide to Italy to chop reliance on Russian fuel after Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi met with Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune in Algiers on Monday. Read extra.

LISBON. Portugal to help any EU sanction on Russian oil. Portugal will help the EU’s proposal to incorporate oil within the sanctions towards Russia, Foreign Minister João Gomes Cravinho mentioned in Luxembourg on Monday. Read extra.

ATHENS. Bulgaria and Greece advance nuclear challenge talks. Bulgaria and Greece have progressed of their talks about establishing a nuclear energy plant, however the legal responsibility situation in case of an accident stays unresolved, based on EURACTIV’s companions in Sofia and Athens. Read extra.

BERLIN. Bavaria desires to rethink fracking amidst surging fuel costs. Bavarian Minister-President Markus Söder mentioned on Sunday that the utilization of the controversial fracking know-how to provide liquified pure fuel (LNG) needs to be evaluated to spice up the European try and part out Russian fuel imports. Read extra.


EU carbon market reform vote in Parliament. On 20 April, the European Parliament’s vitality and trade committee (ITRE) will vote on its proposed amendments to the EU’s revised carbon market, the Emissions Trading Scheme. While the Parliament’s surroundings committee (ENVI) has the principle accountability for the ETS revision, ITRE has joint accountability in terms of one key situation: free emissions allowances.

Energy-intensive industries like cement, metal and chemical substances at the moment obtain a lot of the ETS allowances free of charge, a system meant to stop them from relocating overseas however which additionally removes incentives to decarbonise. With 16 different NGOs, WWF has despatched a letter to ITRE MEPs, calling free of charge allocation of ETS allowances to be scrapped as quickly as attainable.

“While other sectors are now having to do their bit for the climate, these industries are stuck in a polluting time warp. And if nothing changes, a whopping 94% of their carbon emissions will still be covered by free allowances up to 2030. It’s time for the EU to take this crazy out-dated system in hand and ensure that all polluters must pay, and that ETS allowances are used to finance the green transition,” mentioned Camille Maury from the WWF’s European Policy Office.

The Parliament’s surroundings committee will vote on the ETS revision on 16-17 May. A plenary vote anticipated in June. (Frédéric Simon | EURACTIV.com)

Greece to hurry up fuel exploration, optimistic of serious reserves – PM says. Greece will pace up fuel exploration tasks in live performance with non-public traders, its prime minister mentioned on Tuesday (12 April), because it seeks to grow to be an vitality hub in Europe. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis mentioned that the nation goals to have a transparent thought by 2023 on whether or not it has fuel reserves it may use and that it has indications of potential fuel reserves which makes the federal government “optimistic”.

“If we have significant gas reserves, we will replace our imports with our national wealth,” he mentioned in a gathering with the nation’s hydrocarbons fee and vitality trade executives. (EURACTIV.com with Reuters)



26 APRIL. CBAM – How can we be certain that we lower emissions – not transfer them? Join this EURACTIV Virtual Conference to debate the challenges confronted by the CBAM to make sure EU Green Deal ambitions can really keep away from carbon leakage. Speakers embrace Pasquale De Micco from DG TAXUD and Maria Spyraki MEP. Full programme and registration right here. (Supported by Yara)

27 APRIL. EU ETS: How to mitigate instability? Join this EURACTIV Virtual Conference to debate the attainable impacts of extreme hypothesis on the functioning of the EU ETS market. What measures might be taken to mitigate the chance of extreme hypothesis, and extra broadly to stabilise allowances costs and enhance the EU ETS market functioning? Speakers embrace Jytte Guteland MEP and Fabrizio Planta from ESMA. Full programme and registration right here. (Supported by PGE).

28 APRIL. Carbon removals – how greatest to implement and validate? Join this EURACTIV digital occasion to debate the regulatory framework that will foster belief in carbon removals. Independent measurement and verification are important to make sure that carbon removals have been correctly performed and that the carbon is successfully and completely faraway from the ambiance. Speakers embrace Lukas Visek from the cupboard of EC vice-president Timmermans and Norbert Lins MEP. Programme and registration right here. (Supported by TIC Council)

29 APRIL. Circularity of bottles: contributing to the Green Deal. Join this EURACTIV Virtual Conference to debate what’s one of the best recipe for assembly round economic system and local weather goals and whether or not deposit return schemes are an environment friendly option to meet assortment and recycling targets for EU pure mineral and spring water producers. Speakers embrace Martin Hojsík from the European Parliament’s surroundings committee and extra. Programme and registration right here. (Supported by Natural Mineral Waters Europe)

29 APRIL. Media Partnership: Initiatives for a sustainable trade in Brazil. This webinar will cowl examples of sustainability within the Brazilian trade. ORGANISED BY: The Embassy of Brazil in Berlin and ApexBrasil. Programme and registration right here.

10 MAY. Due diligence and sustainable sourcing: can a standard strategy for all sectors work? Join this EURACTIV Virtual Conference to debate accountable sourcing and due diligence. How can corporations greatest develop instruments and requirements that match the upcoming European laws? And how can the European Commission guarantee there’s a coherent strategy for all actors concerned? Speakers to be introduced quickly. (Supported by the Nickel Institute).

17 MAY. Sustainable and wholesome buildings – reaching the objectives of the EU Green Deal. Join this EURACTIV Virtual Conference to debate how the revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) can help a wholesome indoor local weather whereas accelerating a lower of vitality prices and decarbonising our buildings. Speakers to be introduced quickly. Programme and registration right here. (Supported by Velux).

17 MAY. A revised EPBD – sooner decarbonisation of the EU’s constructing inventory? Join this EURACTIV Hybrid Conference to debate what may be accomplished to enhance the present regulatory framework to help an efficient decarbonisation course of within the constructing sector. Speakers to be introduced quickly. Programme and registration right here. (Supported by EdEn – Equilibre des Energies).


18 MAY. European Commission to current RePowerEU plan to interrupt away from Russian fossil fuels. Combines with new “international partnerships and energy package” consisting of:

  • New technique on worldwide vitality engagement
  • Joint Communication on a partnership with the Gulf

25-27 MAY. G7 assembly of local weather and vitality ministers

7 JUNE. Joint Communication on worldwide ocean governance

15 JUNE. 2022 Strategic Foresight Report

22 JUNE. Nature safety bundle: Revision of guidelines round sustainable use of pesticides and nature restoration targets.

27 JUNE. Energy Council.

28 JUNE. Environment Council.

5 JULY. New design necessities and client rights for electronics tbc

20 JULY. Circular Economy Package 2:

  • Policy framework for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics
  • Review of the Packaging and packaging waste directive to bolster the important necessities for packaging and set up EU degree packaging waste prevention measures and targets
  • Review of the Urban Wastewater Treatment directive 




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