S&Ds lead the EU’s transition to a clean energy model ensuring no one is left behind

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Energy
Climate & Environment

Press release

Strasbourg, 17 January 2018

Socialists and Democrats are leading the European transition towards a clean and sustainable economic and social model in which energy plays a central role. This is why, today, the S&D Group pushed for ambitious goals in the three energy reports that passed through in plenary: on energy efficiency, on renewables and on energy governance.

 
The S&D rapporteurs on efficiency and on renewables, Miroslav Poche and José Blanco respectively, managed to improve the Commission’s proposal and secure support for a minimum 35% binding target to increase energy efficiency and a 35% binding target for renewables in the energy mix by 2030.
 
Furthermore, the S&Ds also introduced specific measures to fight energy poverty. S&Ds regret, however, that the conservative majority in the Parliament voted against measures to ensure a just transition for workers in heavy, carbon-intensive industries as requested by the S&D, where workers would have been provided with the skills and training necessary to access jobs in the clean energy economy.

S&D vice-president for sustainability, Kathleen Van Brempt MEP, said:
 
 “The EU currently imports more than half of the energy it consumes, and we pay 1 billion euros every day to countries outside of the EU. In the meantime, we are wasting much of our own energetic resources. Where the increase of labour productivity was the driver of economic growth over the past century, the ‘energy productivity revolution’ must become the driver of economic progress and prosperity in the 21st century.
 
 “By reducing the energy we waste and increasing our use of renewable energy we can expect that in the near future we can reach a carbon-free economy. By investing in clean technologies and in the renovation of energy wasting buildings into near zero-energy buildings, we will create millions of jobs and we will keep the cash flow within the EU. That is much better than losing the same amount of money on fossil imports from unstable regions outside the EU.

 “For the first time we put in place a consistent strategy, avoiding false solutions like using palm oil. We blocked investments in new production of food crop-based biofuels. We must push for the advanced biofuels, leaving aside food and instead using forest residues, agricultural waste and manure from livestock. All this will contribute to a zero-waste model, which is also more ethical.
 
 "We also propose that member states equip their fuel stations along the European highways with faster charging points, helping drivers to opt for electric vehicles rather than fuel, thus getting rid of their anxiety of being stranded with an empty battery during their holidays."

The rapporteur for renewable energy, S&D MEP José Blanco, said:
 
 “The European Commission was too timid in its proposal of only 27% of renewable energy by 2030, and these times require more ambition. If Europe wants to fulfil its Paris commitments, to fight climate change and to lead the energy transition, we need to do more. The Parliament was able to achieve a broad consensus for a significantly higher 2030 target raising it to 35%.
 
 “We also managed to reinforce self-consumption as a right, to bring security and certainty to investors, to raise the ambition for decarbonising the transport sector, as well as the heating and cooling sectors. Decarbonisation is not a drag on economic growth; on the contrary, it is the driver of competitiveness, economic activity and employment.
 
 “In December, the Council missed the opportunity to join efforts to boost renewable energies. However, we hope that it will be up to the task during the inter-institutional negotiations. Europe’s credibility is at stake.”

The rapporteur for energy efficiency, S&D MEP Miroslav Poche, said:
 
 “The energy efficiency first approach has been adopted as one of the key dimensions of the EU’s energy union strategy. An ambitious policy in this area will contribute to achieving both our climate and energy goals as well as to increasing our competitiveness. It is also one of the best ways to fight energy poverty in Europe.
 
 “The European Parliament has substantially increased the ambition for energy savings. We have also managed to close most of the loopholes that slowed down the progress under the existing legislation, such as including the transport sector and pushing member states to replace those measures that do not deliver savings.
 
 “Moreover, we believe that we can also convince the Council, which has shown a lack of ambition so far, that to boost energy efficiency will trigger additional economic growth, create local jobs and improve our competitiveness.”