Members' Research Service By / September 29, 2022

Energy saving and demand reduction

Problems with the EU’s energy supply started multiplying with the economic rebound following the pandemic and Russia’s manipulation of EU energy markets, which it achieved by keeping gas supply volumes lower than usual in 2021.

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Written by Agnieszka Widuto.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Europe has found itself in an energy crisis. Skyrocketing gas and electricity prices, coupled with energy supply concerns, have obliged the European Union (EU) to take action to mitigate the situation.

Reducing energy consumption is seen as one of the key measures the EU Member States can take to reduce energy bills and tackle supply issues. It can help them reduce their energy import dependency and prepare for a winter of possible gas supply disruptions. It can also help the EU reach its climate goals in line with the European Green Deal.

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The EU has taken a number of steps both to align its policies with more ambitious climate goals and to boost energy independence. In terms of long-term measures, the Energy Efficiency Directive is currently being revised to increase the EU-wide targets for the reduction of energy consumption by 2030. Similarly, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive is also under revision to further improve the energy efficiency of buildings. One of the ways to achieve this would be through an enhanced energy performance certification system, boosting renovation rates and popularising solar panels.

Further EU measures aimed at saving energy and reducing demand in the short term include: a plan to reduce gas demand so as to ensure sufficient supplies in the winter; a proposed reduction of electricity demand as part of efforts to combat high energy prices; and an EU energy saving plan under REPowerEU, to cut the EU’s reliance on Russian fossil fuels. Key actions leading to reduced energy consumption include stepping up building renovation, implementing energy efficiency solutions, accelerating the rollout of renewables and promoting behavioural change by means of information campaigns. Reducing energy demand is part of broader ongoing efforts to address the energy crisis, complementing action aimed at diversifying imports, boosting EU energy production and redesigning the EU energy market.

The European Parliament has supported measures to reduce energy demand reduction, improve energy efficiency and increase energy savings in a number of resolutions.

Read the complete briefing on ‘Energy saving and demand reduction‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

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