Europe 2030: energy saving to become “first fuel”
By 2030, more energy will be saved than the amount of energy consumed deriving from oil, according to a JRC analysis. Energy savings can thus be considered as "an energy source in its own right", in line with the European Commission strategy for a resilient energy union. As Europe is likely to miss the intermediary 2020 target of 20% of energy saved, the authors recommend scaling up private investments and introducing a guarantee fund to remove the perceived risk by investors. The report examines the importance of energy efficiency for the EU’s security of energy supply and import dependency in 2030, using projections made by the Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy. It provides scientific evidence that transforming energy efficiency into a mechanism to reduce energy demand will ensure that the EU meets its objectives on security of supply, climate change and competitiveness in a decarbonising economy. Furthermore, the analysis compares scenarios on improved energy efficiency of 27%, 30% and 40% and shows that if a 40% target is adopted, the sum of energy savings and renewables would overtake the sum of energy from imported fossil fuels all together (oil, gas and solid fuels) in 2030. Member States would hence not increase their dependency on fossil fuels imports. The work presented in the report supports the upcoming Commission revision of the EU legislation framework on energy efficiency, foreseen for the autumn, and a new directive on renewables, planned in winter 2016. For the revision round on energy efficiency, JRC scientists recommend including a framework for de-risking energy efficiency investments. The objective is to stimulate and scale-up private investments in energy efficiency projects and to ensure that energy savings compete on equal terms with generation capacity as foreseen by the Energy Union strategy. The report provides evidence that the objective to transform the EU economy from fossil fuels-based to a low-carbon one is possible if energy savings are made the niche fuel for investors, especially when energy prices are low.