Solidarity and resilience: An action plan to save energy now!

The Ukrainian tragedy requires reactions on many fronts & humanitarian rescue efforts must be priority. But beyond immediate efforts, Europe needs to take strategic actions to reduce our dependency on energy imports from Russia and other non-EU countries. The actions must avoid quick fixes which might pose similar future risks.

The question is which short-term alternatives does the EU have at this point in time? Switching energy suppliers is an ad hoc measure but continues the risk of energy import dependency and locks in the continuation and even growth of fossil fuel infrastructure, including its negative impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Finding alternative energy supply might be necessary and acceptable with a short time perspective but cannot be proposed as a lasting solution.

A longer-term and strategic perspective would speed up the transformation to domestic renewable energy supply, but investments in energy infrastructure are by nature long-term investments requiring significant lead time. While Europe will have to introduce a new dynamic in its renewable energy growth, it is not possible to put up new wind turbines and other necessary infrastructure overnight. This leave us with one other measure which should be boosted immediately: harnessing Europe’s energy saving potential.

To decrease energy import dependency, European governments, businesses and citizens have the opportunity to reduce energy demand very quickly. With this paper, BPIE is presenting suggestions to reduce energy consumption in buildings with measures which have a short-term effect. Behaviour changes such as lowering the room temperature by a degree or two, switching off appliances which are not urgently needed and leaving the car in the garage are ad hoc contributions available to almost everyone and are an immediate signal of solidarity with the victims of Putin’s aggression. In the long term, individual actions must be replaced by a clever far-sighted EU plan to structurally reduce energy demand.

Our list of suggestions are divided into different categories (projects/campaigns, financing, regulation) and three time horizons – actions that can be rolled out in the next 6 months, in 3 years, and in 5 years. All these types of measures are needed if the EU is to decrease its energy import dependency in the long run and boost its resilience.

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BPIE supports evidence-based policy making by providing data and knowledge through its reports, as well as partnering in several European projects.


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