The European Union has introduced an energy savings goal of 30 percent by 2030, a goal that goes beyond the EU’s current energy efficiency target of 25 percent by 2030.
Now, EU member countries will decide whether or not the goal will be implemented at a country-wide or EU-wide level. The EU’s new proposed goal of 30 percent energy efficiency by 2030 builds on the union’s current goal of 20 percent by 2020, a goal the EU says can be reached as long as all member countries fully implement agreed-upon climate legislation.
A higher goal by 2030 will save EU consumers money and help wean member countries off fossil fuels, the Commission said in a release. For every 1 percent increase in energy savings, EU gas imports are predicted to fall by 2.6 percent, according to the commission, and energy efficiency policies are expected to create new jobs in construction and manufacturing.
EU Energy Chief Günther Oettinger said in a statement that the 30 percent goal was ambitious but realistic.
“Our aim is to give the right signal to the market and encourage further investments in energy saving technologies to the benefit of businesses, consumers and the environment,” he said.
The goal falls short, however, of the 40 percent energy efficiency target that some environmental groups were pushing for, saying it would result in further reductions of gas imports. Oettinger ruled out the 40 percent goal earlier this month.
The EU’s proposal to up its energy efficiency goal comes as a new report shows the group of nations are already leading the world in terms of energy savings. The report, released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), ranked the world’s 16 largest economies and found that Germany ranked number one in energy efficiency, while Italy was number two and the rest of the EU came in at number three.
The U.S., on the other hand, came in at number 13 on the list, ranking above just Russia, Brazil and Mexico. In 2012, ACEEE ranked the U.S. in ninth place, due largely to its focus on expanding car infrastructure rather than public transportation. Since then, the group says, the U.S. has made little progress in energy efficiency. However, the EPA’s proposed rule on curbing emissions from power plants could help the U.S. rise in rankings by spurring investment in energy efficiency, ACEEE says. Additionally, earlier this year the Obama administration announced that it would invest $2 billion into making federal buildings more energy efficient.
And though the EU does lead the world in energy efficiency, its coal plants are still standing in the way of some of its goals on climate, according to a new report. The report looked at the most heavily-polluting coal plants in the EU and found that Germany and the U.K. each have nine of the dirtiest coal plants in Europe. Despite leading the world in energy efficiency, Germany uses more coal to generate electricity than any other EU country, according to the report.