Progress has been made on several of these areas via the specific pieces of legislation listed on the left - although not on others, notably taxation. However actions undertaken so far under the 2006 Plan are projected by the European Commission to yield only an 11% reduction in primary energy use compared to business as usual by 2020 - or a 55 reduction on 2005 levels. Clearly, ambition and activity need to be greatly stepped up.
The EU’s Energy Efficiency Action Plan (EEAP) sets out its broad framework for energy conservation. The current EEAP was published in 2006, following a Green Paper entitled “Doing More with Less: Green Paper on Energy Efficiency”- the document in which the possibility of saving 20% of EU energy use was first proposed.
The 2006 EEAP (scope 2007-2012) listed 75 actions in 10 priority areas, aimed at providing EU citizens with "the most energy-efficient buildings, appliances, processes, cars and energy systems" in the world. The measures included:
- New energy performance standards for product groups such as boilers, copiers, TVs and lighting (from 2007);
- New energy standards for buildings and the promotion of low-energy buildings ("passive houses") (2008-9);
- Making power generation and distribution more efficient (2007-8);
- Legislation to limit CO2 emissions from cars to 120g/km by 2012, and strengthened fuel-efficiency labelling;
- Facilitation of bank financing for investments in energy efficiency by SMEs and energy service companies (2007-8);
- Boosting efficiency in new member states;
- Coherent use of taxation with the preparation of a Green Paper on indirect taxation in 2007;
- Awareness and education campaigns;
- Improving energy efficiency in urban areas through a "Covenant of Mayors" which would exchange best practices, and;
- International agreements to foster energy efficiency worldwide.
In order to elevate the level of conviction and action on energy conservation, CAN-Europe believes that the EU needs to put its energy saving target on a par with those on renewable energy and emissions reduction - that is to say, clearly defined, and binding. This would help to provide the political drive and momentum to systematically ensure that every possible source of efficiency or saving is utilised - provided such a target has a clear structure and supportive legislative architecture, including appropriate monitoring and compliance measures.
A revision of the EEAP was due to be carried out in 2009 but has now been postponed until 2010. This revision will be a major focus of CAN-Europe's work over the coming months. A draft Plan
circulated during autumn 2009 had positive elements - including most particularly a binding target, although not clearly specified - but was largely patchy, incomplete and under-prepared. Together with several of its Green10 partners, CAN-Europe sent a letter to Commission President Barroso and then-Commissioner for Energy, Andris Piebalgs, setting out the key points we would like the renewed Plan to cover. These demands will be developed early in 2010, partly on the basis of an academic study we have co-commissioned with several other stakeholders to inform this work.
CAN-Europe will also be paying particular attention to see full coherence between energy conservation policy and other aspects of the EU's climate and energy policy, including developments thereof following the Copenhagen Climate Conference.