EU 2020 renewables target well on track, but energy efficiency ones lagging behind

On 1 February 2011, the S&D Group in the European Parliament held an “Alternative Energy Summit” in Brussels and called on heads of state and government to be courageous and give the necessary political impulse to EU's energy policy.

The ambitious plan of the S&D Group for energy includes 5 demands:

  1. Increase the amount of renewable energy in Europe’ s energy mix to at least 95% by 2050 and the legally binding RES target to 30% by 2020.
    Upgrade energy grids into a European super smart grid as a precondition.
  2. Introduce a binding 20% energy saving target: final energy demand should be reduced by at least 20% to 2020 (40% by 2050) compared to today’s demand. Require EU Member States to set annual refurbishment targets to achieve a nearly zero level building stock by 2050.
  3. Introduce a European Carbon Tax, notably to finance investments into renewable energy production and upgrading energy grids.
  4. Ensure a fair transition to a sustainable economy: re-skilling and training must be offered to workers in carbon intensive energy production.
  5. Strengthen consumer protection through a binding European Charter on the Rights of Energy Consumers.

Mr. Schulz, President of the S&D Group in the EP, criticized governments for lying way behind their national targets and called for increased pressure on Member States.

Paul Magnette, Belgian Minister for Climate and Energy Policy, also stressed the need for energy efficiency to be the top priority and Europe to become world leader in this field.

Although EU leaders acknowledge the EU is not on track to meet its 20% energy efficiency goal (but half that amount),in majority, they oppose legally binding energy efficiency targets and plan to review energy efficiency policy in 2013…. with further measures considered only ''if necessary'' (see point 8 of 04/02 Council's conclusions).


In parallel, the European Commission presented its report on Renewables, on 31 January. It indicates that Member States are on the right track but have to step up the pace to meet the 2020 renewable energy policy goals.

Only seven Member States – Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Poland and Portugal – expect to achieve their 2010 targets for renewable energy in electricity generation, according to their national action plans. Member States’ projections then show that renewable energy will grow at a faster pace from 2010 to 2020 (almost half of them planning to exceed their own targets).

As for the heating and cooling sector, the Commission expects greater development and investments in RES following Member States’ planned reforms to their grants, feed in tariff regimes or other instruments (see graph on p.6).

In conclusion, the Commission calls on Member States to double annual capital investments in renewable energy from €35bn per year to €70bn.


The European Heat Pump Association welcomes the fact that heat pumps are identified as an important contributing technology to the use of renewable energy from air, water and ground. The association’s members are convinced that further technology development and wider market penetration will increase the contribution from heat pumps not only to RES but also to energy savings.


Read more: Commission’s Communication "Renewable Energy: Progressing towards the 2020 target"

Background paper on heat pumps' triple dividend