Negotiators from the European Parliament and national governments have reached agreement on a crucial but realistic directive for helping consumers to make ambitious energy savings aiming at a 20 percent energy saving by 2020.
The European Conservatives and Reformists group’s shadow rapporteur on the proposal Vicky Ford MEP – who participated in yesterday’s late-night talks – believes that the deal represents a fair compromise, particularly considering the often rigid approach taken by some MEPs, who expended most of their political capital sniping at national governments which already lead the way in energy efficiency good practice.
Countries have agreed to establish strategies for renovating buildings, with three percent of central government buildings to be renovated each year. Countries will need to set up energy efficiency obligation schemes requiring energy distributors or retail companies to help consumers by saving 1.5 percent of their energy sales each year. This is similar to the UK’s CERT scheme and the proposed Green Deal. Companies will also have improved access to energy audits, which in particular help SMEs to cut the costs of their energy bills.
Mrs Ford said:
“Soaring energy bills are a huge problem for many households. Insulation and other energy saving measures can be a great help. However, it is important that each country can come up with their own tailored schemes to help households and businesses. I have fought hard for national flexibility, not a one-size-fits-all approach.
“If the parliament had offered Member States more flexibility to adapt measures to their own national circumstances and deliver savings in a cost-effective way then a higher level of commitment would probably have been more acceptable to many of them.
“In the run up to the final discussions some MEPs were more willing to score political points than to put in place solid plans for reducing energy consumption. Attacking the UK and Germany, who have already been held up as shining examples of energy efficiency good practice to the rest of Europe served only to polarise positions even further.
“This agreement will provide bankable and market-driven energy savings whilst not loading excessive burdens on cash-strapped public budgets. It focuses on clear actions that can be taken to reduce energy consumption, rather than an arbitrary target that looks good on paper but yet again delivers no actual efficiencies.
“The agreement that we have reached is far better than no agreement and a long delay, which was a real possibility.”
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