Europe on track for 2020 energy efficiency goal

The European Union is almost on track to reach its goal of improving energy savings by a fifth by 2020 and may consider a significantly higher target for the next decade.

Energy efficiency has risen up the agenda in Europe as member states seek ways to reduce dependency on imported fossil fuels in the context of the Russia-Ukraine crisis. EU heads of state and government will debate efficiency and energy security next week

Looking to a set of 2030 energy targets, expected to be agreed provisionally by member states later this year and turned into a formal legislative proposal early next year, the Commission document said that an energy savings goal of 30 percent in 2030 is required to maintain momentum.

Those reluctant to push for more ambitious goals object to the upfront cost of efficiency measures, but the European Parliament earlier this year backed a 40 percent goal, which is also supported by environment campaigners and the building insulation industry.

Friends of the Earth Europe cites modeling carried out by the Commission, which shows a 40 percent efficiency target could reduce the amount of imported gas from nations such as Russia by 40 percent. At the lower end of the range, an efficiency target of 27 percent would reduce gas imports by 16 percent compared with 2010 levels.