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MEPs vote to kick-start negotiations on Energy Efficiency Directive

Energy efficiency news – by GreenWise staff
28th February 2012
Legally binding energy efficiency targets across European Union member states moved a step closer to reality today as MEPs voted to kick-start negotiations on a proposed energy efficiency bill.
The draft Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) was approved by the Energy Committee in the European Parliament despite differences between political parties. The committee said the directive would not only save energy but reduce CO2 emissions and drive up demand for carbon allowances under the EU Emissions Trading scheme.

The Energy Committee voted 31 to 22 to start negotiations with the EU Council on the final legislation. It follows months of work on the draft directive, which has already been amended 1,800 times. Key to the proposed legislation is a binding target for the EU to reduce primary energy demand by 20 per cent by 2020. At the moment the 20 per cent target is only an objective and, according to estimates by the European Commission (EC), the EU is currently on track to achieve only half of this, unless additional measures are imposed. 

"This vote is a major sign that Parliament, with a majority including most political parties, takes rising energy costs and energy poverty seriously," said Claude Turmes the Luxembourg MEP who crafted the directive. "Energy efficiency offers possibilities for job creation – notably in the building sector. Now governments have a choice: protect citizens against energy poverty and create many job opportunities or allow big energy companies to make ever-increasing profits."
Negotiating text
According to the text that will now enter negotiations, European countries will have to set themselves legally binding national energy efficiency targets but will have flexibility over the measures they adopt. 

Meanwhile, EU countries would have to set out roadmaps by 2015 for achieving energy savings of 80 per cent in the buildings sector by 2050 and would have to achieve 2.5 per cent of energy savings through building renovations by 2014. Buildings account for 40 per cent of the EU's energy consumption and 36 per cent of its CO2 emissions. 

MEPs also agreed today that energy companies would have to achieve 1.5 per cent energy savings through helping their customers become more energy efficient with a priority to help households in fuel poverty. 

Commenting on today’s vote, Brook Riley, energy campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, said: "MEPs could have gone further but this is a good result. The Parliament knows the benefits of energy savings, such as savings in fuel bills and CO2 emission cuts, won’t happen without legally binding targets. MEPs now have the negotiating mandate to make a good deal with the European Council."

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