Energy efficiency: Getting the full picture

By District Energy posted 04-18-2018 11:50

  

Europe falls short of meeting the EU Energy Efficiency target, showing a 2% gap for final energy consumption but a 4% gap for primary energy consumption, says Hans Korteweg. [BASF - We create chemistry / Flickr]

Summary

The Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), adopted in 2012 and currently under review, has been a key milestone to help deliver energy savings in Europe. But the reality is that we are not there yet in terms of primary energy savings, writes Hans Korteweg.

Hans Korteweg is Managing Director of COGEN Europe, the European association representing the simultaneous generation of electricity and heat (cogeneration).

Energy efficiency is a key objective of the Clean Energy Package. This is, however, not reflected in the policy debate. There is no definitive agreement on its importance and benefits. There is a risk that the Efficiency First principle will remain a political “slogan” if it is not applied consistently in EU and national legislation.

Energy efficiency should be applied across the entire energy system, from generation through transmission and distribution to consumption. We notice, however, that the debate in Europe has mainly concentrated on buildings. The enormous potential of energy efficiency in all segments before consumption has been broadly ignored.

The EU project Heat Roadmap Europe estimates that there is more heat wasted during electricity generation in Europe than is required to heat all buildings on our continent. Reducing energy demand in buildings will help us save energy to a certain extent.

Yet, we should not overlook other ways of making our energy system more efficient. Therefore, EU Member States should focus on the most cost-effective way of implementing energy efficiency measures and not only on building insulation. This is why we call on energy ministers to ensure the Efficiency First principle is applied across the entire Clean Energy Package. This will give Member States the possibility to maximise their energy efficiency potential in accordance with their renewable energy strategy.

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