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I was delighted to hear, last week in Paris, that Vice-President Maros Sefcovic of the European Commission confirmed Europe’s call for “an Airbus for batteries”. Delighted because just like for batteries, we need an Airbus model to renovate Europe and unleash the 4th industrial revolution in the construction sector.
My initial research question, for the International Refurbishment Symposium, was about an ex-ante evaluation of the impacts on the renovation market of the European Commission's proposed Smart Finance for Smart Buildings (SFSB) initiative. To illustrate my theoretical evaluation; I decided to assess how the SFSB would impact the French energy renovation market.
Europe's proposed 30% energy savings objective means less savings in the period 2020-2030 than in 2010-2020 and are in direct contradiction with the spirit of the Paris Agreement
The flagship energy proposal by the European Commission, the “Clean Energy Package for All Europeans”, to be discussed at the upcoming Energy Council meeting, calls for a 30% binding energy savings target.
The myth about the negative impact of high-efficiency ambition on the competitiveness of EU member states is dismantled by the European Commission's modelling results.
The Commission's November 2016 clean energy package is going through a gruelling approval process where practically every comma is being challenged. Yet, this approval process is ignoring (or unaware of) some important evidence.
The Clean Energy for All Europeans package projects buildings to play a pivotal role in the EU energy transition. The Commission sees the non-legislative initiative “Smart Finance for Smart Buildings (SFSB) as a major driver in the transformation of the emerging energy renovation market from a market of shallow renovation financed by grants towards a self-sustained market delivering zero energy buildings.
Could this be a wishful thinking?
I am not sure if this is good news – or scary news! Here we have two Directives related to buildings under revision in the EU, and their messages are confusing at best. Let's take a closer look at them.
The impact assessment, accompanying the proposal amending the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) -included in the “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package- projects the building sector to lead the transition of energy demand in Europe.
The above-mentioned impact assessment includes six scenarios:
Russia’s warning of a looming gas crisis in Europe challenges the claimed ambition of the “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package. In fact, the Commission’s proposal, released on November 30th, falls short in securing Europe’s energy future with energy savings and renewables -the only two clean energy sources available in Europe and at an affordable price.
The 1st industrial revolution was fuelled with coal, the 2nd with mainly oil, gas and to some extent nuclear energy while the 3rd one experienced a shy introduction of renewables in the energy mix. The 4th industrial revolution might well be fuelled first with energy savings if countries from all over the world implement the Paris Climate Agreement.
Ahead of the annual review of Ecodesign and Labelling measures by the college of Commissioners, the executive was asked by political leaders and NGOs to unfreeze the Ecodesign and Labelling process, stalled for over a year, and to expand the scope of regulated products.
It was impossible to imagine a year ago. It’s hard to believe today, but the world might well move on the post-Paris Climate Agreement without Europe!
For once, the European Commission cannot be blamed for this “ridiculous” situation as President Juncker described the slow ratification by the EU of the climate deal. It could even be the opposite: we may well have to applaud the European Commission if its proposed fast-track ratification succeeds in giving EU leaders a seat at the table of the post-Paris climate decisions.