Last weekend, the European Parliament and the Council presidency reached a provisional political agreement to reduce final energy consumption at EU level by 11.7% in 2030 compared to the forecast consumption.

The EU Council said member states will benefit from flexibility in reaching the target. In line with the provisional agreement, the EU would collectively see its final energy consumption drop by at least 11.7% in 2030, as against with the energy consumption forecasts for 2030 made in 2020.

The consequence of this is that the EU’s final energy consumption would have an upper limit of 763 million tons of oil equivalent and primary consumption of 993 million tons of oil equivalent.

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“The consumption limit for final consumption will be binding for member states collectively, whereas the primary energy consumption target will be indicative,” the Council said.

All EU member states will contribute to the efforts to reduce energy consumption by indicative national targets, which are expected to be updated and unveiled this year and next.

The agreement reached on Friday needs to be approved by committees at the European Parliament and Council and to be formally adopted to come into effect.

As part of its ambition to become a net-zero bloc by 2050, the EU aims to reduce its energy consumption and accelerate the rollout of renewable energy in order to cut dependence on fossil fuels. Limiting reliance on fossil fuel imports became especially important for the EU after the Russian invasion of Ukraine prompted Europe to ban seaborne imports of Russian oil and work to ditch imports of Russian gas.\

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Eurostat data last month showed that the the EU managed to beat its target for cutting gas demand this winter. According to the data, the EU’s winter demand had so far dropped by 19.3% compared to the five-year average, beating the 15% goal it set for itself to help it survive the winter.

Natural gas consumption in OECD Europe fell by an estimated 13% in 2022, its steepest decline in absolute terms in history, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its quarterly gas report last week.

By Bosco Agba

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