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EU Deeply Split As Energy Chief Rules Out 40% Energy Savings Goal

Barbara Lewis, Reuters

A 40 percent energy saving target as the EU’s 2030 goal, supported by some, is unrealistic, Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said, adding that the debate continued. The 28 member states are divided over the way forward.

Momentum is building for a binding energy efficiency goal in the European Union. Some members argue it would improve energy security by reducing demand as the bloc seeks to wean itself off dependency on Russian gas and other imported fossil fuel.

Germany has said it would support a binding efficiency target, but has not specified the level.

Already the Commission, the EU executive, has outlined two 2030 green energy goals – one to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent compared with 1990 levels and one to increase the share of renewable energy to 27 percent.

A 2030 efficiency goal has yet to be put forward, pending a review of progress on the existing 2020 target to increase energy savings to 20 percent. That review is expected to be published over the coming weeks.

Earlier this year, the European Parliament said it backed an efficiency target of 40 percent. Oettinger told reporters late on Wednesday the number was still open to debate but 40 percent was “not realistic”.

The Commission was analysing scenarios, he said, of anywhere between 25 percent and 40 percent, with a view to getting agreement from member states in October this year and producing a firm legislative proposal early next year.

The 2030 goals will replace 2020 targets to increase the share of renewables used to 20 percent, cut greenhouse gases by 20 percent versus 1990 levels, as well as increasing energy savings to 20 percent.

Of the 2020 goals, the energy efficiency target – in contrast to the other two – was not mandatory and progress towards meeting it has only accelerated after a piece of law was agreed in 2012 to reinforce it.

The 28 member states are divided over the way forward, with some demanding another set of three goals, while others say one carbon emissions cutting goal would be enough.

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