European business leaders have urged the Danish Government to take the lead and push for more ambition on energy savings in the EU Energy and Climate framework for 2030. At the meeting between the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE1) and the Danish Minister for Climate, Energy and Building, Rasmus Helveg Petersen, senior representatives from some of Europe’s leading corporations including Danfoss, Kingspan, Knauf Insulation, Philips and Schneider Electric, encouraged the Danish government to continue their efforts to unite progressive EU Member States and secure a deal that makes sense for the climate, for business and for the future of European citizens at the October European Council meeting.
On 17 June 2014, as part of an initiative led by the Danish Government, Ministers from seven EU countries – Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg and Portugal - urged the Commission to propose a binding and ambitious energy savings target as part of the package which is due to be finalized at the European Council in late October 2014.
Speaking on behalf of EU-ASE, a grouping of prominent business leaders, politicians and campaigners, the President, Monica Frassoni said: “Recent events in Ukraine have shown the EU just how vulnerable we are to events happening beyond our control in other parts of the world. The quickest and most cost-effective way to ensure an energy secure future is to use less. We are looking to Denmark to lead the way and help ensure that the European Council looks at the Climate and Energy Package through this optic and adopts a binding energy savings target for 2030”.
The European Commission presented its proposals for a 30% European target for energy savings for 2030 on 23 July 2014, but has left the nature of the target, binding or not at EU level, to the Member States to agree at the European Council on 23 and 24 October 2014. Members of EU-ASE argue that a binding 40% energy savings target would be cost-effective and would support employment, boost competitiveness and growth and significantly reduce energy imports, while contributing to drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
As stated in a recent report by the British Institute for Public Policy Research, by adopting a binding EU‑wide target for energy efficiency of 35% by 2030, Europe will cut gas imports by a third – equivalent to a high proportion of the EU’s gas demand currently met by Russia. The EU is the biggest importer of energy in the world. In Europe average electricity prices have increased >30% in the past 10 years. Similarly, gas prices have increased >40%. European policy-makers must realize that Europe will never lead on cheapest energy and must lead on least consumed energy.
In addition, up to 2.59 million jobs could be created in the EU buildings sector alone by 2030 with an ambitious target according to an analysis by the European Trade Union Confederation.
Niels B. Christiansen, Chief Executive Officer, Danfoss, said: “If EU agrees on an ambitious binding target, it will increase demand for energy-efficient solutions, create jobs and increase EU’s overall competitiveness. To be competitive in Europe we continuously need to improve our energy productivity and thereby keep our overall energy cost at bay and at the same time reduce our dependence on imported energy. Denmark is a good example of how high economic growth and energy efficiency can go hand in hand”.