20 January 2010: What the EU should do on energy efficiency

The Centre for European Reform has now published my short paper on what the EU should do on energy efficiency (see Centre for European Reform Policy Brief: Delivery energy savings and efficiency). This argues that there should be less emphasis on targets and more on specific policies together with money. The key policies that need to be strengthened are the Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Directive and the Ecodesign Directive, which sets minimum standards for energy-using products. CHP should be made mandatory whenever fuel is burnt to generate electricity, and the minimum standards for products should be progressively increased.

On 4 February 2011, the EU is holding a summit on energy. The Commission is promising that energy efficiency will be high on the agenda and diplomats from member states are certainly talking about it at present (see Euractiv: EU hunkers down for crunch energy summit). However, the discussion is still dominated by the question of whether the 20% reduction in energy use by 2020 – which the EU has adopted as an aspiration – should be made legally binding. The 4 February meeting should move beyond this and focus on delivery.

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