LONDON (ICIS)--The EU’s agreement on reforming the EU energy efficiency directive is an “acceptable compromise”, the German chemicals trade group VCI said on Wednesday.
Negotiators from the EU's executive body the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the European Council – the governments from the 28 member countries – earlier this week reached agreement on new rules for improving energy efficiency in the EU.
The new regulatory framework includes an energy efficiency target for the EU for 2030 of 32.5%, with an upwards revision clause by 2023.
Utz Tillmann, director general of Frankfurt-based VCI, said that the 32.5% target was “ambitious”, in particular as it sets an absolute reduction in energy consumption.
“This makes it all the more important that EU member states have the room to be flexible in the implementation of this target”, thus ensuring opportunities for economic growth, he added.
Industries such as chemicals rely on the use of energy to manufacture their products, Tillmann said.
“Energy efficiency plays an important role for the industry, for cost reasons alone,” he said.
He also noted the progress Germany’s chemical industry already achieved in improving its energy efficiency, having in effect doubled its energy efficiency since 1990.
The industry’s absolute energy use fell by one-fifth while its output rose by about two-thirds since 1990, he said.
For the industry to become even more energy efficient “considerable effort and investment is needed”, he said.
He also said that VCI welcomes that the EU intends to give member states, “to a limited extent”, credit for progress already achieved.
However, German environmental group Deutsche Umwelthilfe said that the 32.5% target was “totally insufficient”.
In order to reach the targets under the 2015 Paris climate pact a 40% energy efficiency target was needed, it said.
Furthermore, the new directive did not include sufficient enforcement measures, the group said.
According to the Commission, the new objective shows the EU's high level of ambition and demonstrates “the remarkable pace of change of new technologies and reduced costs through economies of scale.”
Together with the recently agreed 32% renewable energy target for the EU for 2030, Europe would be equipped to complete its clean energy transition and meet the goals set by the Paris climate pact, it said.
The revision of the energy efficiency directive is part of the EU’s commitment to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by at least 40% by 2030.
Following this week’s political agreement, the text of the new directive will have to be formally approved by the European Parliament and the Council.
Once endorsed by both co-legislators in the coming months, the updated energy efficiency directive will be published in the Official Journal of the Union and will enter into force 20 days after publication.
Member states will have to transpose the new elements of the directive into their national law 18 months after its entry into force.
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