In Portcullis House, next to the House of the Commons, on Tuesday 28 February 2012, Monica Frassoni of EU-ASE in a debate on the EU Energy Efficiency Directive talked about three important measures that were agreed on in Brussels earlier in the day.
- Renovating 2.5% of buildings owned by public bodies by January 2014
- A commitment to ensure that public bodies’ purchasing will be more energy efficient
- Ensuring that public bodies use suppliers which meet certain energy efficient criteria
She commented: “Across Europe it looks like we will reach less than 9% of the Energy Efficiency target by 2020. However, we see that the 20% figure is on track to be achieved in reducing emissions and increasing renewable energy sources. The key difference is that the renewable energy target is mandatory; the energy efficiency target is not. The only way to make progress with energy efficiency is for such targets to be binding.”
Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MP for Brighton said that if the EU increases its target to 30%, which is looking likely, the UK will have to be more ambitious in its energy efficiency targets. We will have to do nothing but support the EU directive at a national level.
Alan Whitehead Labour MP for Southampton said that energy efficiency is a no brainer, but the current irony is that the most efficient power station is the one that doesn’t get built. That has to change as we are currently losing 50-60% of energy ‘up the chimney’.
Tony Robson chair of EU-ASE concurred that the directive was a good idea and it’s essential to impose legislation to achieve the imperative of Energy Efficiency. He also commented that there is an ever-widening gap between our commitments to reduce CO2 and reality. “We need to continue a fight against imported energy dependency. Energy efficiency must come first, and we should force energy companies to recycle money into energy efficiency measures. The UK can lead here and build on existing legislation.”
Sumir Karayi, CEO, 1E believes that the opportunity is about creating an environment which fuels energy efficiency innovation and creates jobs in the high-tech sector. “The high tech industry attracts people with exceptional skills, who we would lose to the US and other countries as we have done with many scientific and engineering disciplines.”
Looking at IT is the ‘low-hanging fruit’ in terms of reducing our environmental impact. European policy makers are missing a fundamental opportunity. Data from independent research shows that nearly $4bn can be saved across data centres every year and a further 200 million personal computers can be targeted with additional savings.”
The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey is committed to Energy Efficiency. He believes engagement with other member states can make a difference in shifting opinion in order to get a successful conclusion for the Directive. However we have to recognize that one size doesn’t fit all so it’s important to share best practice and respect that member countries have a different energy landscape. He also acknowledges that nothing we agree can undermine the EU Emissions trading scheme. In the past month the Davey has opened an Energy Efficiency Deployment Office; a 50-strong dedicated team within the Department of Energy & Climate Change which will be working to deliver the UK’s policy objective.
When asked whether IT will feature on the UK’s efficiency measures, Davey commented that he liked to get granular, chase the big numbers and get into the details. He concluded that the DECC would be fighting for positive change and didn’t rule out the possibility of an incentive structure to make it work.