July 13, 2011
It’s a summer whodunit. The European Commission’s Energy Efficiency Directive has been public since June 22. But why was the headline policy – an obligation on power companies to cut customers’ energy use – so abruptly dropped from the final text?
Commissioner Oettinger and DG Energy had already overruled internal analyses showing that only binding targets for each member state would deliver the 20% by 2020 efficiency target. They had refused to look into the crucial question of financing. The energy company obligation was the only meaningful policy left. Its gutsy concept to convince utilities to invest in efficiency services (smart heating systems, say, or insulation) could have saved customers at least €60 billion a year, slashed CO2 emissions and created over 500,000 new jobs.
Then came the sell out. On June 14 Mr Oettinger announced to an audience of Europe’s leading power company CEOs that he was “sorry that energy efficiency […]