Member states fail to meet energy efficiency targets
José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, has warned member states that they are falling well short of their target for improving energy efficiency, set less than four years ago.
Speaking in Brussels yesterday (5 December), Barroso said further legislative measures might be necessary. “I am very unhappy with the progress made on energy efficiency,” he said.
In March 2007, amid growing concern about both climate change and energy security, national leaders agreed to reduce energy consumption by 2020 by 20% compared to forecast levels.
Barroso said that national governments would achieve only a 10% improvement in consumption by 2020 unless they agreed to additional measures to achieve the higher target.
He contrasted the slow progress on energy efficiency with better results in ensuring that the EU will obtain 20% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020. “It is now realistic to think we are going to fulfil our 20% target,” he said, referring to a Commission analysis of renewable-energy plans drawn up by national governments. The objective for energy efficiency is not legally binding, unlike the target for using renewables.
Barroso said he hoped that national leaders would agree additional measures on energy efficiency at their special summit meeting in Brussels on 4 February which will focus on energy and innovation issues.
Barroso urged leaders to give their support at the summit to ensuring Europe was at the “cutting edge of innovation”. Measures being put forward include completing the European Research Area by 2014, launching innovation partnerships and using public procurement to boost innovation. He said governments should set aside funds from existing budgets for public procurement for innovative products and services. This would create a market worth €10 billion a year for innovation that improved public services, he said.