Climate Action

Biggest companies in EU call for binding energy saving targets

General Electric, Kingspan, Philips, Schneider Electric and Siemens among companies calling on EU to embrace energy efficiency as part of 2030 strategy

  • 19 March 2014
  • William Brittlebank

A group of some of world's biggest companies has called for the European Union to make energy efficiency a focal point of its new climate and energy strategy for 2030.

Leaders from EU member states will meet to discuss the proposed strategy on Thursday and the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) has written to the European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who holds the EU presidency, urging them to deliver a binding target for improvements on energy efficiency.

Senior representatives from 31 companies, including General Electric, Kingspan, Philips, Schneider Electric and Siemens, have signed the letter which argues that significant improvements in energy efficiency would represent one of the most effective ways of reducing carbon emissions, financial costs, and enhancing energy security.

The letter states: "By improving energy efficiency Europe can drive forward its competiveness, energy security and climate change objectives."

It outlines how cost-effective energy efficiency measures could save the EU between €1 trillion and €2 trillion during the 2020s by reducing energy costs and imports.

The European Council of member states has been divided on whether to include binding targets covering energy efficiency and renewables as part of the new 2030 agreement. Some member states argue that the focus should be on delivering a binding emissions reduction target of 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030, but others have argued that binding targets for renewables and energy efficiency will provide greater policy certainty and will help drive investment in clean technology.

The EU-ASE is demanding a clearly defined role for energy efficiency in the new framework, and has called on EU leaders to acknowledge that "energy efficiency is fundamental to European competitiveness and must be the foundation of future energy and climate policy".