Impact of a higher energy efficiency target on the renewable energy target

The 2030 energy and climate framework agreed on by the European Council in 2014 includes two key energy-related targets for 2030: an EU target of at least 27% renewable energy (RES) consumed in the EU, and an indicative energy efficiency (EE) target of at least 27%, relative to projections of future energy consumption. As different levels of the EE target are being assessed, it is important to realise that the decision on the EE target may strongly impact the effects of a given RES target in 2030.

This effect is very substantial: if the minimum target of a 27% RES share in 2030 is combined with an EE target of 40% in 2030, the EU RES target will result in almost no additional RES capacity to be installed after 2020. This brief report explores this issue further and identifies options to ensure continued renewable energy growth in the EU independent of energy efficiency improvements.