Canete says Paris objectives could be threatened by efficiency ‘flexibilities’

canete bendtsen

The EU’s Energy and Climate Commissioner has said that “flexibilities” in the European Parliament’s revised energy efficiency laws could threaten the roll-out of building renovations, which will be key to delivering the EU’s Paris commitments.

Speaking at Renovate Europe Day 2017 in the European Parliament, Miguel Arias Canete said that today’s vote on the revised European Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) was “essential” for Member States. But the [European Council’s] level of ambition falls considerably short of the European Commission on a number of points”.

He continued “Buildings will unquestionably play a major role in delivering on our Paris commitments, and ultimately achieving a carbon neutral economy [but] we will not achieve our objectives without renovating our building stock.”

The vote in Parliament’s Industry Committee could allow houses powered by solar panels or wind turbines to be classified as more energy efficient than others, even if they are unrenovated, badly insulated, and leak heat.  That would defeat the whole purpose of the renovations directive though, according to energy efficiency experts.

MEP Bendt Bendtsen, Rapporteur on the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, said We all agree that boosting renovations is the main ambition with the revision. To achieve this, we agree – across the political board in Parliament – that Member States must prove they will deliver on their responsibilities.  Bendtsen added “We find this a reasonable expectation to have of Member States, if they are serious about enabling renovations and thereby assisting a better performing building stock to emerge”.

After today’s vote, two trilogues between the Parliament, Council and Commission have been scheduled to negotiate the final revised directive on November 7 and December 5.

Where the energy efficiency directive is concerned, loopholes in the annual 1.5% energy savings requirement would directly affect the EU’s ability to deliver on its climate promises, according to Canete, the EU’s lead representative at next month’s COP23 climate summit in Bonn.

The obligation was “a core provision, as we achieve half of the directive’s savings this way,” Canete said. “This is the engine behind the much needed increase in building renovation.”

But the flexibility that Member States have insisted on means that this energy savings figure will be half in practice. Here again, we need the European Parliament to maintain the level of ambition, not just in terms of climate numbers but also in terms of the flexibility provided.”

Read Commissioner Canete’s speech

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