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EU offers bloc-wide provision to improve energy efficiency

European countries' and the flag of Europe fly in front of the Louise Weiss Building, seat of the European Parliament, in Strasbourg, France. EU members backed a provision on energy efficiency as part of a broader bloc-wide agreement File photo by Patrick Seeger/EPA-EFE
1 of 2 | European countries' and the flag of Europe fly in front of the Louise Weiss Building, seat of the European Parliament, in Strasbourg, France. EU members backed a provision on energy efficiency as part of a broader bloc-wide agreement File photo by Patrick Seeger/EPA-EFE

March 10 (UPI) -- Members of the European Union on Friday agreed on provisions to trim bloc-wide energy consumption by more than 10% by 2030, a measure that supports net-zero climate ambitions and energy security.

As part of the so-called Fit for 55 package of climate objectives, the EU agreed to a provision to trim energy consumption for member states by at least 11.7% by 2030.

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"A stronger EU framework on energy efficiency will help us stay the course to reach our 2030 energy and climate goals," Kadri Simson, the EU's energy commissioner, said.

Efforts across the 27 member states are geared toward a net-zero economy by 2050. Part of that strategy rests on an emissions reduction target of at least 55% by 2030, relative to a 1990 benchmark.

EU members already last year agreed to a voluntary 10% reduction in gross electricity consumption on top of a mandatory 5% reduction during peak hours to curb demand.

Companies with a presence in Europe "will be encouraged" to pursue energy efficiency objectives under the terms of the EU's measure. Should enterprises in the EU exceed more than 85 terrajoules a year, they would be obligated to enact an energy management system or face an audit.

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The EU averaged 129 terrajoules per capita in 2020. Emissions in 2021, meanwhile, were 6% higher than the previous year, with a dense manufacturing base in Germany accounting for much of the increase.

But apart from climate targets, Simson said improving energy efficiency would address dependency issues that in the past exposed the bloc to Russia's whims. Russia was a primary oil and natural gas exporter to Europe before the 2022 invasion of Ukraine prompted a swift pursuit for alternative resources.

"Energy efficiency is key for achieving the full decarbonization of the EU's economy and independence from Russian fossil fuels," the commissioner said.

The provisional agreement needs formal approval from the European Parliament and the European Council, part of the executive arm, before its adopted bloc-wide.

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