The production and use of energy across economic sectors account for more than 75 percent of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions. A rapid reduction in these emissions is necessary for the EU to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 and a 55 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
Energy efficiency is a key priority, together with the accelerated deployment of renewables.
Copper has a significant role to play in enabling the clean energy transition. Thanks to its excellent electrical and thermal conductivity, copper is used across the electricity system and in renewables – in windmills, power grids, solar panels, electric vehicles, charging infrastructure, building automation, energy storage, solar thermal, wastewater heat recovery, heat pumps and batteries.
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ECI Position on the Amendment of the Renewable Energy Directive
ECI supports the EU’s climate ambitions for 2030 and 2050 and welcomes the proposed revision of the Renewable Energy......
Energy Efficiency in the EU
Energy efficiency is one of the key pillars for meeting the EU’s climate objectives. The “energy efficiency first principle” enshrined in EU law means taking utmost account of cost-efficient energy efficiency measures in shaping energy policy.
The Energy Efficiency Directive currently establishes a headline EU energy efficiency target of at least 32.5 percent for 2030. However, in July 2021, the Commission proposed raising the energy efficiency targets to achieve a reduction of 36 percent of final and 39 percent of primary energy consumption by 2030.
EU measures to promote energy efficiency also touch on buildings and energy consuming products. The EU legislative framework on Ecodesign sets mandatory minimum standards for the energy efficiency of products such as electric motors, power transformers and certain household appliances.
How does copper improve energy efficiency?
Copper has the highest electrical and heat conductivity of all non-precious metals. It is the conductor of choice for wires, cables and electrical equipment, making them more energy efficient.
All other things being equal, higher electrical conductivity means higher energy efficiency, or for the same efficiency, it means more compact designs. The compactness of copper conductors saves on other materials. Without copper, for the same efficiency, electrical equipment such as motors, transformers and cables would use 20 percent more materials.
Copper’s role in improving energy efficiency also extends beyond individual products. Through energy management and controls systems, copper wires and cables provide energy savings from installations and systems that are often orders of magnitude larger than savings at the product level.
Renewables in the EU
The increased deployment of renewable energy sources is key to achieving climate neutrality. This requires the development of a power sector that is mostly based on renewable energy sources.
The EU’s current target of achieving at least 32 percent renewable energy by 2030, as enshrined in the Renewable Energy Directive, is not enough to reach a 55 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. This is why, in July 2021, the European Commission proposed to increase the EU’s renewable energy target to 40 percent by 2030.
The Renewable Energy Directive is the EU’s main legislative instrument to promote the deployment of renewables. It establishes common principles and rules to remove barriers, stimulate investments and drive cost reductions in renewable energy technologies.
The increasing deployment of offshore wind has been identified as a priority area where more needs to be done to ramp up deployment in Europe, while leveraging the EU’s leadership in this sector. In the strategy on Offshore renewable energy the European Commission sets ambitious targets for the growth of the offshore renewable energy sector in the EU, including the target of at least 60GW of installed capacity of offshore wind by 2030.
Increasing sector integration both between various energy carriers and with end-use sectors, such as buildings, transport or industry, is also required to decarbonise in the most efficient way. This will allow optimising the energy system as a whole, rather than making separate improvements in energy efficiency and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in each sector.
How does copper contribute to renewable energy systems?
Copper is used in renewable energy systems to generate power from solar, hydro, thermal and wind energy across the world. In many renewable energy systems, there is 12 times more copper than in traditional systems.