EU agrees to improve energy efficiency 30% by 2030.

Guardian: “European Union member states will have to improve their energy efficiency by nearly a third in the next 15 years, under new proposals unveiled on Wednesday by the European commission.”
“The target – to improve efficiency by 30% by 2030 – had been the subject of dispute, as some industries wanted to avoid setting a firm goal and instead rely on the market and the EU’s carbon price to provide an economic incentive to cut energy waste. But others had been pushing for a tougher target, of 40% energy savings by 2030, and were disappointed.
….Currently, the EU spends more than €400bn (£315bn) a year on imports of fossil fuels, a large proportion of which come from Russia through gas pipelines. The commission has calculated that for every 1% in energy savings, EU gas imports could be expected to fall by 2.6%.
….However, it is not clear whether the new target will be translated into individual legally binding targets for each member state. The 2030 renewable energy target, after pressure from the UK government, is an EU-wide target and is not to be broken down into targets for member states, an omission which many green campaigners have said will render it much less effective.
Energy efficiency experts and green campaigners were critical of the new efficiency target, which some said was inadequate to the challenge of tackling climate change and saving on imports.
….Frederic Thoma, energy policy adviser at Greenpeace, was scathing of the deal, and also invoked the EU’s reliance on Russian gas. “In its dying days, the outgoing commission has tabled another gutless plan on energy that is a gift to the oligarchs of this world. An ambitious efficiency target would drastically cut the need for expensive imports of fossil fuels from Russia and elsewhere and help Europe stand up to bullies like Putin.
“The commission’s own research shows efficiency could also create three-and-a-half million jobs, while helping tackle climate change. It’s a no-brainer that EU leaders cannot ignore. They must put Europe’s energy policy back on track.”
Separately, the commission also said it would not challenge the UK’s move to create a “capacity market” for electricity, which is a key plank of the coalition government’s electricity market reforms.
The news was greeted with dismay by some green campaigners, who argued that the capacity market – which rewards electricity generators for keeping their power stations open, in order to protect the grid against surges in demand – would end up giving excess profits to coal-fired and other fossil fuel power plants. Coal-fired power stations could receive special payments until 2033 under the scheme.
Jenny Banks, energy and climate change specialist at WWF-UK, said: “The capacity market risks pushing up bills and holding up progress towards a decarbonised power sector by throwing money at the UK’s old, dirty coal plants. It’s hard to believe that a country which has just reaffirmed its commitment to tackling climate change by choosing not to amend the fourth carbon budget is about to introduce a policy which could lock in vast payments to its oldest and dirtiest power stations until the 2030s.”
She said the capacity market was “skewed in favour of large existing generators while sidelining valuable sources of flexible capacity such as interconnection, demand reduction and response and electricity storage. Allowing these technologies to compete on a level playing field could push down prices and help integrate renewables into the UK electricity mix.”