Europe must abandon its current voluntary approach to energy efficiency if it is to succeed in reducing its heavy energy import reliance whilst also cutting emissions, warns Sumir Karayi, CEO of power management firm 1E and board member of the European Alliance to Save Energy.
Karayi's warning comes as EU leaders prepare to meet in Brussels this week to debate Europe's new energy security strategy and climate goals for 2030.
1E, founded by Karayi in 1997 with £500 in start up funds, pioneered PC power management with the launch of its NightWatchman tool. To date, its technology is said to have prevented 12.4 million tons of CO2 emissions and saved more than $1.4bn in energy costs, for organisations including Arup, Aviva, Kiwi Bank, the US Department of State and Parker.
The UK operation of Lloyds Banking Group alone has saved significant costs by automating the process of shutting down and putting to sleep PCs using the 1E NightWatchman PC power management tool.
Despite these results, 1E finds poor awareness of energy saving among businesses. The EU spends more than €1bn every day on energy imports, according to Karayi, but has only a non-binding efficiency goal for 2020, which it is due to miss by an amount of energy equal to twice the annual consumption of Austria.
Karayi said: "EU companies are failing to invest in making energy savings in the absence of clear leadership from Governments on efficiency. Setting a 40% energy savings target for 2030 would help to stimulate demand and drive investment in the low carbon technologies that will deliver the EU's climate and energy security aims. We have clear evidence that technology can deliver impressive CO2 savings so the potential to remove billions in energy costs from EU businesses is huge."
The call to action from Karayi is supported by E3G, a fellow member of the European Alliance to Save Energy (EUASE).
Nick Mabey, CEO of E3G and vice chairman of EUASE, said: "The EU is searching for answers to its energy security problems and gas import dependency must be cut. A 40% final energy saving target, combined with a new suite of measures to unlock demand, could remove dependency on Russian gas imports entirely in the next decade.
"The EU must create a positive investment climate for innovative companies like 1E who are developing the technologies that offer a fast route to cutting EU energy demand and emissions while also saving businesses money. The European Council must make demand reduction its first priority."