Realising Europe's "Efficiency Pipeline"
Europe currently imports 66 percent of its natural gas, mainly for end-use in buildings. As the European power markets evolve, the value of natural gas for generating electricity is on the rise. Yet this development could have serious repercussions down the road. Gas is comparatively expensive in Europe, harmful to the environment, and it gets weak marks for energy security, with 60 percent of all gas used in buildings coming from Russia. In a presentation to the European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (eceee), Richard Cowart explored how to reduce Europe’s reliance on natural gas imports through end-use energy efficiency.Energy efficiency can deliver reliable, cost-effective services, just like a natural gas pipeline delivers the fuel service for heat and hot water. Effective market design, in turn, can ensure that this “efficiency pipeline” competes on a level playing field with conventional supply resources in planning and regulation. Deploying energy efficiency and demand response before committing to substantial investments in supply-side resources—the principle of “Efficiency First”—is a key step toward helping Europe meet its energy security needs with the most cost-effective mix of resources and reducing reliance on imports. Mr. Cowart draws on the RAP paper “Realising Europe’s Efficiency Pipeline” to demonstrate how existing laws and regulations could be expanded to integrate the Efficiency First principle into EU legislation.