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  • Germany backs binding energy efficiency target

    Germany is arguing for the EU to tighten its target to cut energy consumption, in a bid to ease dependence on Russian gas. According to documents quoted by the Financial Times newspaper, Germany has called on the EU to set a binding target for energy efficiency to offer the ‘right impetus’ to overhaul Europe’s energy infrastructure.

    The FT says Denmark and Germany are pushing for an energy savings target that would mean using 30-35% less energy in 2030 compared with predictions for 2030 made in 2007. According to the Commission’s own estimates, a 35% energy-saving target would cut Europe’s gas imports by a third by 2030.
    Countries from central and eastern Europe still struggling with energy-intensive Soviet-era infrastructure are likely to oppose the move. But the effect of the Ukraine crisis on gas imports to the EU is thought to have increased the political willingness to adopt strict energy-saving measures and, as it is the EU’s biggest economy, Germany’s support for stricter targets is significant.
    Around 40 per cent of the 400 billion cubic metres of gas consumed in the EU each year comes from Russia’s state-owned Gazprom. Six member states – Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Slovakia – import 100 per cent of their gas needs from Russia.
    Environment and energy ministers from Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg and Portugal have called on the Commission to propose a binding energy savings target next month, a move seen as a result of the Ukraine crisis.
    ‘A target is essential to highlight the importance of energy efficiency, and a strong political commitment is crucial,’ the ministers said in a joint letter to Commission President José Manuel Barroso. ‘The current situation in Ukraine emphasises the importance of reducing dependence on imported oil and natural gas.’