EU energy policy package: wrong focus regarding energy efficiency

Absolute savings targets can slow down growth

30. November 2016 | Pressemitteilung

Long version of this document

Like the EU Commission, the German Chemical Industry Association VCI speaks for more energy efficiency in Europe. But energy efficiency needs to be defined correctly. Instead of absolute savings, relative energy savings should be the goal: namely, to produce the same amount of product with less energy. In Europe, the instrument of emission trading already contributes to this aim. Moreover, the Commission did not take the opportunity to launch a genuine single market for the promotion of renewable energies.

VCI: The EU’s „winter package“ on energy policy places a wrong focus regarding energy efficiency. Absolute energy savings targets could lead to plant closures in Europe. - Photo: © Zakhar Marunov - Fotolia.com
VCI: The EU’s „winter package“ on energy policy places a wrong focus regarding energy efficiency. Absolute energy savings targets could lead to plant closures in Europe. - Photo: © Zakhar Marunov - Fotolia.com

The German chemical industry association Verband der Chemischen Industrie (VCI) speaks for more energy efficiency in Europe. But according to VCI director-general Utz Tillmann, the European Commission gives a wrong definition of energy efficiency in its energy policy package. The Commission is planning to raise the EU energy efficiency target to 30 percent to 2030 and to make this target binding, at least on the European level. Tillmann comments: “The Commission maintains its interpretation of energy efficiency as an absolute savings target. But energy efficiency should be understood in relative terms, namely to produce the same amount of product with less energy. The Commission should replace absolute requirements by relative ones.” Tillmann sees an absolute understanding of energy efficiency as a potential brake to growth, particularly for energy-intensive industries – even though in the future their products will be needed more than ever before to help other sectors reduce their energy consumption.

Tillmann thinks that absolute energy savings targets can have major impacts on industry, with politicians giving very little consideration to such consequences: “Realising its energy savings targets through plant closures in Europe would be a Pyrrhic victory for the Commission. But this is precisely where the energy efficiency directive could lead to.” Tillmann points to emission trading as an existing instrument in Europe that contributes, inter alia, to more energy efficiency. “Further instruments aimed at emission trading sectors have no extra effect, they only cause extra costs. These sectors include the energy-intensive basic materials industry and electricity supply,” so Tillmann, calling to exempt them from the scope of the directive.

Regarding the Renewable Energy Directive, which is also part of the “winter package”, Tillmann wants more Europe: “The Commission did not take the opportunity to launch a genuine single market for the promotion of renewables. 27 national systems want to drive forward renewable energies; this is a hardly a good blueprint for climate protection in Europe. We need the single market to make European climate protection as efficient as possible, at the most favourable cost.” In Tillmann’s assessment, the energy policy package includes some relevant starting points which, however, do not go far enough.

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The VCI represents the politico-economic interests of over 1,650 German chemical companies and German subsidiaries of foreign businesses. For this purpose, the VCI is in contact with politicians, public authorities, other industries, science and media.The VCI stands for over 90 percent of the chemical industry in Germany. In 2015 the German chemical industry realised sales of around 189 billion euros and employed 446,000 staff.

Contact: VCI Press Dept., Phone: +49 69 2556-1496, E-Mail: presse@vci.de

Please note: VCI news about the chemical industry is also available via Twitter: http://twitter.com/chemieverband

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Rohstoffe, Energie, Chemistry4Climate, Klimaschutz