The European Institutions – the European Commission and subsequently, but unconsciously, the European Parliament – have started to (intentionally?) consider false numbers in the negotiations with the Member States. These numbers are supposed to illustrate an increase in energy efficiency for the years 2007 – 2020 and next until 2030. Therefore, there is talk of an absolute (expressed in Mtoe of reference fuel) limitation of primary energy. This limitation in the above-mentioned years (which is also expressed in percentages) is supposed to equivalently, in numbers illustrate the apparent efficiency increase.
According to the negotiating politicians, this limitation in numbers is nothing but existing efficiency. Politicians may not fully understand these subtle deliberations, but the EC specialists should not make such obvious mistakes considering the fact that the directive on efficiency includes the correct, though general, definition of energy efficiency.
Already earlier, suspecting the possibility of potential manipulations with numbers, I have addressed the former Energy Commissioner, Günter Oettinger, asking him how the EC understands the notion of energy efficiency. His answer was as follows:
“The terms ‘energy efficiency’ and ‘energy savings’ are, indeed, frequently used interchangeably. However, the directive on the energy end-use efficiency and energy services includes the following definitions: “energy efficiency”: the ratio of output of performance, service, goods or energy, to input of energy; “energy savings”: the amount of saved energy determined by means of measurement or estimation of consumption before and after the implementation of one or several energy efficiency improvement measures with simultaneous ensuring of the normalization of the external conditions affecting energy consumption […]”
As we can see, “energy efficiency” is, of course, a notion which is completely different than “energy savings”, which are the amount of saved energy determined by means of measurement or estimation of consumption, e.g. as a result of an energy efficiency improvement with simultaneous ensuring of the normalization of the conditions affecting energy consumption. To put it in other words, savings are a function of efficiency and not the other way around. So, as we can see, these notions cannot be used interchangeably.
The fact that proves the politicians’ lack of understanding of the difference between efficiency and savings is the statement of MEP Kathleen Van Brempt who, during the plenary session, argued for “ambitious” solution for the necessity for a 40% increase of efficiency within 2030. When I asked her: “If the average efficiency of the EU is about 66.5% in 2020, what will it be if we increase it by 40%?”, she replied that she’s not able to provide an answer as she is not a specialist and she advised me to address this question to the EC.
Efficiency is a measure of better utilisation of primary energy, and not of limiting energy consumption. It is present in the whole energy flow chain – starting from primary energy and ending at the consumer. Limiting its consumption in the consumer market – as foreseen by the EC – forced by annual delivery limitations – is another misunderstanding. After all, such a solution will not force energy providers to adequately modernise their energy production systems and to start delivering energy in the spirit of conversion and transfer efficiency increase, while these are exactly the links in the energy flow chain that have huge efficiency increase potential and reserves.
The consumer market includes two energy components: electrical energy (the ennobled one) and energy, which is necessary for heating (or cooling). While calculating this into primary energy, one can conclude that roughly 60% of this energy is transformed into electrical energy while the remaining 40% is used for heating or cooling. How is it, therefore, possible to enhance actions aimed at pro-efficiency, designed for the needs of housing and public buildings? The answer is simple: it is necessary to increase the resistance to the heat stream flow towards outside premises in winter and – increase the resistance to heat permeation to interiors in summer.
How can this be expressed in terms of energy efficiency? In conditions of thermal balance, this is the ratio of the thermal energy stream which, in accordance with standards, is necessary for heating buildings (which, naturally, underwent prior adequate thermo-modernization), e.g. expressed in square meters, to the stream of delivered thermal energy. This ratio multiplied by 100 shall indicate an appropriate percentage result.
This is, undoubtedly, related to the huge thermo-modernisation potential of buildings. Therefore, on one hand, the complete utilization of this potential will significantly reduce the amount of final energy delivered to consumers in the form of fossil fuels, electrical energy, and even renewable energy for heating purposes.
On the other hand, there will be an increase of utilization of the energy, which, as has been mentioned, is nobler than heat – i.e. electrical energy, along with the planned, mass development of electro-mobility. Both the thermo-modernization of buildings and electro-mobility in the nearest future are big question marks, as a result of which the amount of final energy is difficult to plan and assess. Thus, such an amount should not be imposed in advance.
In accordance with the arrangements of the sixth trialogue negotiations (between the EP, EC and the Council) on EED as a very important part of the EU Winter Package “Clean Energy for All Europeans”, in 2030 the consumption of primary energy in the EU is supposed to amount to 1273 Mtoe of reference fuel, which means 32.5% savings of this energy and/or savings of final energy at a level of 956 Mtoe of this fuel.
What will the general energy efficiency of the EU be at that time? If we divide the final energy by the primary one and multiply the result by 100, we get the average energy efficiency of the EU equal 75%. That is quite a lot; nevertheless, the increase of efficiency in reference to that planned for 2020 (however not achieved yet) will only amount to about 1.5%.
By proposing the interchangeable use of the notions of “energy efficiency” and “energy savings” the European Commission has led the issues related to energy efficiency to a dead-end because such an approach is not favourable for efficiency trends in the whole energy flow chain.
The PEF (Primary Energy Factor) systems proposed by me, as the author of the draft report, which is based on real numerical values and allow for corrections from the side of the Member States, gave such possibilities. The solely one, unreal PEF value proposed by the EC, will not be stimulating enough to undertake pro-efficiency actions for either producer of electrical energy or for building users in terms of heating.
The evidence of the incomprehensible fear of applying pro-efficiency PEF values which is present among the so-called “progressive” EP groups is their extraordinary mobilization during the voting held at ITRE on November 28 last year. Their intention was to reject my proposals gathered in two annexes to the directive project and the spiritus movens of this destructive action was my French colleague from the S&D fraction, Edouard Martin.
Was his action actually a result of lack of understanding? I doubt it, considering the French energetic specificity and the surprisingly low total energy efficiency of France. However, what I find positive is the fact that in this issue, I was supported by all the MEPs from Poland, regardless of their political groups.
To sum up, I find that the EC has made a significant mistake by interchangeably using the notions of “energy efficiency” and “energy savings”, or actually by replacing efficiency with savings. This bears interpretation confusion. It does not strengthen efficiency trends, especially in the states of East-Central Europe, the energetic solutions of which are strongly based on coal. I have already mentioned other mistakes of the Commission earlier in NEW EUROPE.