MEPs call for more ambitious and consumer-focused energy targets beyond 2020 

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The EU's renewable energy target - 20% of total consumption by 2020 - has already been hit by many EU member states. But others lag behind and must do more, MEPs urge in a resolution, voted on Thursday, on the EU Commission's “renewables progress report." To achieve the EU's energy efficiency target - a 20% gain by 2020 – member states need to implement EU legislation faster, and in full, says a second resolution, also voted on Thursday.

"Our concern is that we deal with a lot of overlapping EU legislation and obstacles due to national energy policies. As a result, more and more burdens fall heavily on energy consumers. Therefore, we need a much better coordination within the European Commission and with national energy policies. We ask the Commission to ensure that European and national renewable development objectives do not hinder each other", said rapporteur Markus Pieper (EPP, DE).

"The EU must stay at the forefront of renewables development. This means that member states must step up their efforts towards 2020, and that we must take 30% renewables consumption as the minimum goal for 2030, also at national level", said rapporteur for renewable energy Paloma López Bermejo (GUE/NGL, ES).

Increasing renewable energy share beyond 2020

Using all existing funding schemes effectively, to ensure access to capital, is crucial to achieving the current 20% renewables target by 2020, say MEPs in their non-legislative resolution. The text also reiterates Parliament's call for binding targets to ensure that renewables account for at least 30% of total energy consumption by 2030.

Implementing energy efficiency legislation

On the other hand, the overall 20% efficiency improvement target is at risk if member states do not implement existing EU legislation in full, says Parliament's assessment of member states' progress in improving energy efficiency.

MEPs reiterated their previous calls "for a 40% energy efficiency target for 2030", considering that "binding requirements are vital in order to achieve a maximum degree of ambition and effort" from the member states.

MEPs want a better deal for consumers

Self-generation and self-consumption are "basic rights", and the upcoming review of the Renewable Energy Directive should foresee measures to promote and encourage investments in these areas, say MEPs, stressing that a more integrated market is essential to the development of renewables and to reducing energy costs.

MEPs call on the EU to invest more in information and support programmes in the member states that could help to raise participation in current local energy efficiency schemes, and to promote new technical developments in areas such as refrigerants, lighting, insulation, etc.

Consumers should play a more decisive role in achieving energy efficiency targets, e.g. by refurbishing buildings and through district heating and cooling schemes, say MEPs, noting that energy-efficient renovation of existing buildings should be a priority to help energy-poor residents. They advocate setting specific energy efficiency targets for residential buildings.

The resolution on energy efficiency was passed by 253 votes to 193, with 4 abstentions, whereas that on renewable energy was passed by 444 votes to 103, with 23 abstentions.

Next steps

These recommendations will feed into upcoming legislative proposals on the EU energy union.

Procedure:  non-legislative resolution

  • In 2013, renewable energy use in the EU prevented emissions of about 388 million gross tonnes of CO2, and fossil fuel demand was reduced by 116 million tonnes oil equivalent  
  • Buildings account for 40% of energy use in the EU and 50% of this is used for heating and cooling