“The EU looks set to agree on a first-ever energy efficiency law in Brussels this week.“
They still don’t seem to have learned they need to work on availability, reliability and affordability. Dumb bastards.
This news – which will be welcomed by many – comes after months of deadlock during which member states and the European Parliament – which together must decide on the law – often seemed too far apart for a compromise. The Danish EU Presidency, which comes to an end this month, has said an energy efficiency deal is one of its main priorities. Nevertheless, success is not yet 100% guaranteed – a minority of member states still opposes the proposals that are now on the table.
The new law was proposed by the European Commission last summer to fill most of the gap to a 20% energy efficiency target (a saving of 368 million tonnes of oil equivalent) in 2020. Current EU policy is on track to deliver just 9%. The Commission proposal aimed to lift this to 17%, with new transport and eco-design initiatives to make up the remainder. Meeting the target has been put forward as a winning formula for the European economy, jobs, energy security, competitiveness, climate change and ultimately, energy bills.
But member states and the parliament clashed over the Commission’s plans. Member states weakened the original proposal so it would deliver just 12% by 2020, while MEPs strengthened it to deliver over 20% (see 1 March blog entry). The prospects for a deal seemed bleak.
Yet there are factors that are making a last-minute compromise likely. The Danish EU presidency has pinned the success or failure of its term on this issue. The European Parliament is aware that picking up the dossier afresh under the incoming Cypriot and then Irish presidencies means momentum will be lost. And member states in their turn would like to close this troubling file.