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ENERGY POLICY : PROGRESSING SLOWLY, PARIS EYEING ENERGY EFFICIENCY ACTIONS.

"Average performer" states like France mull over reasons for their underperformance in energy saving projects

As the 21 March European Council will discuss the Commission's 2030 energy-climate strategy, including measures to improve energy efficiency, France is studying the reasons for its own energy savings performance.

The French environment agency ADEME has recently published a report about "effective energy efficiency measures implemented outside of France". Citing data from 2012, it details 53 measures in the residential sector, as well as in services, transport, industry and agriculture.

The top five measures in terms of public spending include best practices from across Europe. The first two places are taken by combined transport in Germany and a sustainable mobility programme in Austria. Next features industry measures in Switzerland - experience-sharing within and across sectors and tax breaks for big companies applying energy efficiency plans. The fifth features the Finnish contracts between public and private actors in the services sector.

France does have reasons to worry. According to a 2012 report by Energy Efficiency Watch (EEW), a Europe-wide expert project to evaluate progress across the EU, France is an average performer. "France is among the member states that have made comparatively medium progress in energy efficiency policies" since 2007, the report says. Its country progress indicator is ten out of 27. Experts are concerned about the ambitious targets for building renovation and see stronger political support for renewables than for efficiency.

The opposition to energy efficiency surfaced in particular during France's energy transition debate. At the end of the debate, last July, environmental activists requested that national energy consumption be reduced by 50% by 2050. The corporate association MEDEF, which brings together several energy companies, vetoed the proposal, judging it unrealistic.

But President Francois Hollande seeks leverage abroad to improve energy efficiency at home. He launched cooperation in energy transition with German Chancellor Angela Merkel last February in Paris. The summit communique says that the French bank Caisse des depots and the German public investment bank KfW will "present proposals by summer 2014 on support for energy transition, in particular for energy efficiency".

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Comment:ENERGY POLICY : PROGRESSING SLOWLY, PARIS EYEING ENERGY EFFICIENCY ACTIONS.
Publication:Europe Energy
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Mar 26, 2014
Words:347
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