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The European Commission is reviewing and revising (if necessary) the Energy Efficiency Directive in order to enable the achievement of a higher EU climate target for 2030.

As a first step in the review process of the Renewable Energy Directive (2018/2001/EU) and the Energy Efficiency Directive (2012/27/EU and 2018/2002/EU), the European Commission has published roadmaps for the review of both directives to inform stakeholders and citizens of what the goals of this initiative are and which policy options are being considered, and opened a seven-week period (3 August – 21 September) for public feedback on the concept. This will feed in to the Commission’s further preparatory work for these reviews. 

For renewables, the roadmap is in the form of an inception impact assessment. It will assess whether the EU renewable energy target should be raised and whether other parts of the directive would need to be modified, in line with the ongoing assessment underpinning the Climate Target Plan for 2030 and other initiatives already adopted as the Biodiversity Strategy, the Energy System Integration Strategy and the Hydrogen Strategy, as well as Member State national energy and climate plans.

For energy efficiency, a combined evaluation roadmap and inception impact assessment is foreseen. The evaluation will review the adequacy of the directive in view of the existing energy efficiency targets, policies and measures set out in the national energy and climate plans, and taking into account the higher climate target and recent Commission initiatives such as the Energy System Integration Strategy.

You can give feedback here: https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say/initiatives/12553-Revision-of-the-Renewable-Energy-Directive-EU-2018-2001https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say/initiatives/12552-Review-of-Directive-2012-27-EU-on-energy-efficiency

An integrated European energy system is crucial to deliver on the goals laid out in the European Green Deal. To decarbonize all sectors of the economy and achieve climate neutrality by 2050, greenhouse gas emission reductions need to be accelerated by 2030.

Decreasing costs for renewable energy technologies, storage system innovation, electric vehicles, as well as digitalization are leading towards a greater energy system integration in Europe. However, linking various energy carriers (electricity, heat, cold, gas, solid and liquid fuels) with each other and with the end-use sectors, such as buildings, transport or industry allows the optimization of the energy system as a whole.  

The EU Strategy for Energy System Integration presented on 8 July 2020, demonstrates how the deployment of various existing and emerging technologies, processes and business models can accelerate the transition toward a more integrated energy system, while strengthening energy security, protecting health and the environment, and promoting growth, innovation and global industrial leadership.

The Strategy relies on three complementary and mutually reinforcing concepts.

  1. A more ‘circular’ energy system, with energy efficiency at its core, in which the least energy intensive choices are prioritized, unavoidable waste streams are reused for energy purposes, and synergies are exploited across sectors.
  2. Greater direct electrification of end-use sectors. The rapid growth and cost competitiveness of renewable electricity production can service a growing share of energy demand.
  3. Use of renewable and low-carbon fuels, including hydrogen, for end-use applications where direct heating or electrification are not feasible, not efficient or have higher costs.

In addition, the Strategy identifies six pillars that outline coordinated measures to address existing barriers for energy system integration.

In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, a more integrated European energy system is more important than ever. In addition to the acceleration of the economic recovery and mobilizing investment, it also plays a crucial role in achieving climate neutrality by 2050. 

The EU Strategy for Energy System Integration can be downloaded from here.

On 8th of July, the European Commission unveiled the EU`s Hydrogen Strategy, a strategy for a climate-neutral Europe, which addresses how the decarbonisation of industrial processes, power generation, transport sector and building stocks can be supported by hydrogen in an integrated energy system. The strategy demonstrates, how this potential can be realized, by investment, regulation, research and innovation.

Hydrogen has the potential to contribute significantly to the clean energy transition as well as to the achievement of the objectives set out in the European Green Deal. For instance, hydrogen can help to bridge the gap in sectors that are not suitable for electrification, to balance variable renewable energy flows.

To exploit the full potential of hydrogen, its production needs to be fully decarbonized and its use needs to be upscaled. The strategy states that, renewable hydrogen should be produced by using mainly wind and solar energy, although in short and medium terms, other forms of low carbon hydrogen are needed.

The transitions should take place in a phased approach:

  • From 2020 to 2024: Commission supports the installation of at least 6 gigawatts of renewable hydrogen electrolysers in the EU, in order to produce up to 1 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen;
  • From 2025 to 2030:  hydrogen needs to become an intrinsic part of Europe’s integrated energy system, with at least 40 gigawatts of renewable hydrogen electrolysers and the production of up to 10 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen in the EU;
  • From 2030 to 2050: renewable hydrogen technologies should reach maturity and be deployed at large scale across all hard-to-decarbonize sectors.

To implement this phased approach, the Commission launched the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance that aims at the ambitious deployment of hydrogen technologies by 2030, bringing together renewable and low-carbon hydrogen production, demand in industry, mobility and other sectors, and hydrogen transmission and distribution.

The full text of the EU Hydrogen Strategy is available here.

The integration of renewable energy sources into the grid at the lowest cost possible requires new technology solutions. The new study published by the European Commission entitled “Energy Storage Study - Contribution to the security of electricity supply in Europe”, emphasizes the role of energy storage solutions that will play a crucial role in the European Union in ensuring security of supply and reaching the 2050 decarbonisation goals set out by the European Green Deal.

The independent study analyses different energy storage options to utilize the full potential of the large share of variable energy sources in the power system. It provides an overview of the European energy storage environment, in terms of existing facilities and regulatory frameworks, best practices and barriers.

The study set out three objectives:

  1. The first one is to provide an overview of the European energy storage environment (existing facilities and projects); policies and regulatory frameworks to identify barriers and best practices.
  2. The second objective is to explore deployment potentials and actual needs for energy storage, at European and national level in the context of a total decarbonisation of the energy sector by 2050, to design a cost-efficient flexibility portfolio and ensure adequate levels of security of supply for all Member States at the 2030 and 2050 horizons. 
  3. Based on identified barriers and best practices the study proposes a set of recommendations to update the regulatory framework that applies to energy storage technologies. It also emphasises that a set of policy actions needs to be designed to speed up the market penetration of storage technologies, at EU and national level.

The Clean Energy Package also addressed measures that require monitoring at EU level to ensure adequate and timely implementation by Member States. Member States should also ensure that storage is coherently defined across the national legal framework and eliminate the double charging of grid tariffs. The following measures were addressed by the Clean Energy Packageand require further actions at EU and/or MS level:

  • “Member States should assess barriers and develop a policy strategy for storage.
  • Organisations at the EU level and Member States should weigh network investments vs the procurement of flexibility from other resources.
  • EU organisations (especially the Commission, ACER and ENTSOs) as well as Member States should develop non-discriminatory procurement of non-frequency ancillary services.
  • Member States should foster dynamic electricity prices and time-of-use grid tariffs.
  • Member States should phase out net metering
  • There is also an opportunity for improving price signals through network tariffs. The EU could further assess approaches to develop locational grid tariff signals, and weigh the advantages and disadvantages of such signals at transmission and/or distribution level.
  • EU organisations and Member States should guarantee the interoperability of flexibility resources and access to data.”

EU institutions and Member States should increase the energy and GHG-reflectiveness of taxation, and eliminate the double taxation of stored energy. Therefore, upcoming revision of the Energy Taxation Directive is significant to foster low-carbon energy technologies in general.  

The study is available here.

The European Commission has lauched a consultation on the Renovation Wave Initiative.

This initiative builds upon the broader EU energy efficiency policy framework, in particular the Energy Efficiency Directive (2012/27/EU), as amended by Directive 2018/2002/EU (EED), the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (2010/31/EU), as amended by Directive 2018/844/EU (EPBD) and Energy Labelling Regulation ((EU) 2017/1369) and Ecodesign Directive (2009/125/EC). It is also consistent with other recent relevant EU initiatives on climate, circular economy, industrial strategy and the environment.

The European Commission seeks to gather views and input on this initiative on the renovation of public and private buildings from a broad range of stakeholders, ranging from national, regional and local authorities to businesses, unions, civil society organisations, education organisations, consumer groups, research and innovation organisations, as well as individual citizens. This questionnaire is complementary to ongoing consultation and engagement with local, regional and national authorities, and with other stakeholders.

The consultation addresses the following topics:

  • What is building renovation and barriers to building renovation;
  • Assessing the existing mechanisms for mobilising building renovation;
  • Further policies and measures to boost building renovation rates and depth, including accessible and attractive financing; expected impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on building renovation;
  • Key enabling factors for supportive policymaking and implementation to deliver building renovation;
  • How best to target the worst performing buildings;
  • Fostering the role of central, regional and local authorities and new actors;
  • Scaling up the role of the private sector, industries, and decentralised solutions;
  • Most promising approaches and best practices for targeting the residential sector, including affordable housing aspects, energy poverty and social housing;
  • Most promising approaches and best practices for targeting SMEs at large;
  • Best practices for targeting schools and other educational institutions, hospitals and other public buildings;
  • Wider benefits of renovating the EU building stock;
  • Smart technologies for transforming today’s buildings into the buildings of the future.

The consultation is open until 9th of July 2020 (midnight, Brussels time).

More information can be found here.