23 July 2014, Brussels – The European Commission has released its Energy Efficiency Communication, proposing a reduction in energy consumption of 30% by 2030. Member States will discuss the proposal and make a decision by October.
The Commission had been considering a 40% reduction until earlier in the year, and may have lowered its ambition in the face of resistance from Member States. Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger is hoping that the compromise will ensure that States will make the target legally binding, unlike the 2020 target, which is not going to be reached, according the Commission’s analysis.
The European Parliament is expected to push for a higher target, and energy efficiency campaigners have been unimpressed by a lack of ambition. Green MEP Claude Turmes pointed out that the target is “at odds with the Commission’s own research”, which showed a 40% target could have extremely substantial benefits for job creation and economic growth, and save energy imports of €505 billion per year.
Environmental groups were more explicate in their reactions, with Greenpeace labelling the 30% target as ‘gutless’, E3G describing the proposal a ‘mess’ and the European Environmental Bureau describing it as ‘downright irresponsible’.