EU strikes deal to curb energy use by 2030
BRUSSELS, March 10 (Reuters) - The European Union struck a deal on Friday to cut final energy consumption across the bloc by 11.7% by 2030, a goal lawmakers said would help fight climate change and curb Europe's use of Russian fossil fuels.
The deal was agreed after all-night talks between negotiators from EU countries and the European Parliament.
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Hitting the targets will require countries to renovate millions of draughty buildings to waste less energy. Constructing and using buildings produces a third of EU greenhouse gas emissions, and with most European buildings heated by fossil fuels, the goal is crucial to the EU's efforts to combat climate change.
"This will mean real change for the benefit of the climate and disadvantage of Putin," said Niels Fuglsang, Parliament's lead negotiator.
Negotiators agreed that energy consumed by end-users in the bloc such as households and factories in 2030 should be 11.7% lower than expected use by that date.
The EU had initially proposed in 2021 that the target be a 9% saving, but hiked that to 13% last May in a bid to quit Russian fuels faster after Russia, previously Europe's top gas supplier, invaded Ukraine.
The 11.7% goal was a compromise between the EU Parliament, which had wanted a far higher goal of 14%, and some EU countries who wanted to stick to the original 9% aim.
The target will be legally binding. Countries will set their own non-binding national goals - but if they do not add up to the 11.7% goal, the European Commission will correct them.
From 2024 to 2030, countries will have to save an average of 1.49% of final energy consumption per year.
Countries will have to speed up their renovations of public buildings, renovating at least 3% of the total floor area of publicly-owned buildings each year.
The deal will now go to the European Parliament and EU countries for a final vote - which is usually a formality that approves the law with no changes. (Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten, Charlotte Van Campenhout, Kate Abnett; Editing by Toby Chopra)