Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 120

per year, a relatively limited rate largely due to
low renovation rates.”
Decarbonising research
The fourth element of the Energy Union is
focused on reducing dependency on fossil
fuels and moving towards green energy
sources, objectives which are strongly linked,
Šefcˇ ovicˇ said, with EU climate policy. The vice-
president acknowledged the important role of
research and innovation in order to meet these
aims as the fifth and final cornerstone of the
Energy Union.
“We have to be unambiguous about
decarbonising our economies in Europe;
investors expect this from policy makers. That’s
why a strong Energy Union goes hand in hand
with a strong climate policy. These are two
sides of the same coin.
“In October, we agreed on a binding target of
reducing domestic greenhouse gas emissions
by at least 40% by 2030. Europe became a
‘climate leader’. We will take up this
responsibility and, through proactive climate
diplomacy, convince major global players to
sign up to a binding global agreement in Paris.
“Our commitment to becoming a low carbon
economy also means that we have to step up
our efforts in the field of renewables so that we
can honour the promise made by Jean-Claude
Juncker when he became Commission
To make that happen, we need to bring down the technical and
regulatory barriers among EU member states and strengthen the
regulatory framework.
“This, of course, will not happen overnight. As a first step, we should
build stronger regional co-operation arrangements within a European
framework. What better place to discuss regional co-operation than here
in Latvia, a member of the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan, a
prime example of a successful regional co-operation arrangement.”
Another dimension of the Energy Union is a focus on increasing energy
efficiency. The vice-president set out in telling figures how such an
achievement could bring fundamental benefits to EU citizens, as well as
the European economy, particularly in regards to buildings.
“We need effective legislation in this area to have a level playing field;
we need to make sure that there are enough financial means and that
these projects go where they are most needed, including at the local
level, and, equally important, we have to better explain why energy
efficiency matters.
“Here also, the figures are telling. By using energy efficient products
under the current framework for energy labelling and ecodesign, for
instance, consumers could save €465 on their energy bills per household
per year. There is also a business case. Only by fostering energy
efficiency in products we can deliver €55bn per year extra revenue for
businesses with the knock-on impact on much-needed jobs and wages.
“Energy savings are needed in all sectors of our economy, but let us in
particular look at the buildings sector. I know that there are plenty of
private investors eager to invest in bringing more energy efficiency to
the building sector; I met several of them. At the same time, the needs
are high. Building energy efficiency has been increasing at only 1.4%
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
S O C I E TA L C H A L L E N G E S : E N E R G Y
Increasing energy
efficiency, particularly
in buildings, is a
component of the
Energy Union
©W.L Tarbert
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