The European Union Delegation to Egypt

Remarks of EU Head of Cooperation during the Sustainable Built Environment Conference SBE 16

Cairo, 30/11/2016 - 14:09, UNIQUE ID: 161130_11
Remarks

The need to increase our energy efficiency is not, or not only,a matter of political preferences or agenda; it is pure common sense: our traditional energy sources are expensive, pollutant, finite, and not always reliable. We are investing greatly in finding new energy sources and in switching to renewables. But the energy we won't consume is by definition the cheapest, most secure and most sustainable source we will ever find.

Speaking Remarks of EU Head of Cooperation during the Sustainable Built Environment Conference SBE 16

Sustainable Built Environment Conference

 

Excellencies, Distinguished Panelists, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to join tonight the Sustainable Built Environment Conference. Indeed, this Forum is an opportunity to share best practices, discuss cooperation between our institutions and support the creation of an energy efficiency community. Moreover it also gives us the opportunity to officially close the MED ENEC, an EU funded regional Project that has closely cooperated with all of you.

  •  Let me first of all thank the Arab-German chamber of Commerce, for their hard work, seriousness, and innovation in promoting energy efficiency, which inspire all of us in our endeavor to opt for energy efficient solutions.

 

  • I would like also to thank all our Egyptian focal points and partners for cooperating with MED ENEC. I would like also to thank the Lebanese Center of for Energy Conservation for accepting the European Union's invitation to participate in this event and in our plenary session this Thursday.

 

  • Special thanks should also go to the Arab League for closely cooperating with MED-ENEC and – among others - disseminating respective Energy Efficiency related issues to other Arab countries.

 

  • The need to increase our energy efficiency is not, or not only,a matter of political preferences or agenda; it is pure common sense: our traditional energy sources are expensive, pollutant, finite, and not always reliable. We are investing greatly in finding new energy sources and in switching to renewables. But the energy we won't consume is by definition the cheapest, most secure and most sustainable source we will ever find.
  • Our event today should provide an opportunity to share best practices, discuss cooperation across the region, and in short to insist on the importance to sustain a regional energy efficiency community.

 

In the field of energy efficiency, the different countries including Egypt have in common:

  • The tremendous potential to increase energy efficiency in various sectors in particular in buildings;
  • The need to address energy poverty; nobody should have to choose between heating, cooling and eating;
  • The ambition to make this topic a priority is manifested in today's event

I would like to pay particular attention to the buildings sector which is currently part of the problem. It accounts, for instance, for 40% of the energy consumption in the EU. But it can and should also become part of the solution. With the right policies in place it can help:

  • improve citizens' quality of living by allowing them healthier physical environments and  reducing spending on their energy bills;
  • respect our commitment to the environment and climate, by significantly reducing our CO2 emissions;
  • Reduce our dependency on natural resources. As you know, in Europe for every 1% improvement in energy efficiency, gas imports fall by 2.6%.
  • Creating high-quality jobs. Advancing energy efficiency would create a substantial number of jobs, thus contributing to the improvement of economic performance.

In recent events we have heard some experts calling energy efficiency 'the Sleeping Beauty of the past'. Some others confirmed that Energy Efficiency was lately politically upgraded worldwide from 'Cinderella of all energy areas' to the 'first fuel'".

These eloquent analogies are showing us the trend: the huge potential which is currently awakening, which is finally being discovered. But energy efficiency is definitely no fairy tale! As example, Europe has set up the 'energy efficiency first' principle, already back in the Energy Union Strategy: First reducing demand, and only then can additional supplies and more grids be requested.

What does it mean in practice?

Well, it means updating legislation: I mean energy labelling legislation, and Energy Performance of Building rules among others.

Europe is progressing towards its 2020 energy efficiency goals, largely because it has put in place the world's leading regulatory framework. The upcoming review of the Energy Efficiency Directive will ensure Europe is still on track on its 2030 energy efficiency targets focusing on:

  • the optimal level of energy savings;
  • the energy efficiency obligation schemes (and alternative measures);
  • provisions on metering and billing which is normally addressed also in close connection with the Electricity Market Design Initiative.

Let me assure you that the private sector is keen to invest. Investment funds are interested in climate-friendly long-term investment. What they need is a stable regulatory framework, sound Energy Efficiency Governance without which energy efficiency policies can fail, a confirmed business case, and means to decrease their perceived risk of investing in energy efficiency across the region.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Technologies are here, expertise is here, and the need is definitely here. Let's build on those encouraging national and regional projects such as MED ENEC; let's see what has worked in for instance in Tunisia, Lebanon or Morocco and can serve as a model to other parts of the region.

I assure you that from the he Commission side, we will continue to give energy efficiency - primary consideration in all Energy projects

The closing of the MED ENC project is not an end but should certainly be considered as a potential start for another undertaking that could help us in advancing towards a better managed demand, and a more energy efficient and sustainable environment.

Thank you very much and wish all of you successful meetings over the coming days.

 

Diego Escalona Patuerl

Head of Coopertion

European Union Delegation to Egypt

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