22 March 2012

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Practical information


Smart Energy and Sustainable ICT Conference will take place on 3-4 May in Brussels

The European Commission is organising a conference on sustainable ICT, smart grids and smart cities. The two-day conference will be opened by Commissioners Günther Oettinger and Neelie Kroes. It will bring together policy makers and stakeholders such as telecom companies, energy providers, regulators and consumer organisations. It will provide a platform for discussions on the challenges faced in deploying smart grids, be they technical, regulatory, financial or linked to public acceptance. The conference will investigate how ICT can make our cities greener by an exchange of best practices. It will also touch upon the important issue of how to deliver transparent metrics around the positive contribution of ICT to solving our energy and climate problems. Registration is free of charge, but obligatory and will open at the end of March.


More information: Conference website Top


Renewable energy: Finnish, Greek and Polish legislation still not in line with EU rules

Brussels, 22 March 2012 - Increasing the renewable energy share to at least 20% by 2020 in the EU overall energy consumption is an important precondition for a more sustainable and competitive Europe. Reaching this goal relies on the commitment of Member States to fully implement the requirements of the EU legislation.

The Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC) had to be implemented by Member States by 5 December 2010. The timely transposition of EU legislation is a priority for the Commission, especially since unnecessary delays in implementing may jeopardize the achievement of the EU renewable energy objective. However, Finland, Greece, and Poland have not yet informed the Commission of the full transposition of the Directive into their national legislation.

Therefore, the Commission has today decided to send Reasoned Opinions to these Member States. If the Member States do not comply with their legal obligation within two months, the Commission may decide to refer them to the Court of Justice.


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Energy Labelling: Commission urges Czech Republic and Poland to adopt consumer-friendly legislation

Brussels, 22 March 2012 - The Energy labelling directive is a key instrument to promote energy efficiency and raising consumers' awareness. By giving consumers comparative information on the energy consumption of the products they buy, the energy label aims at triggering more cost-effective and energy saving decisions from consumers. In addition, it encourages manufacturers to develop products with a good energy efficiency rating. Moreover, defining common EU thresholds related to energy efficiency (B, A, A+ etc.) provides Member States with a clear framework when it comes to purchase requirements. This framework is useful also for other stakeholders such as private companies in their advertising activities.

The EU legislation aims at giving these possibilities in all countries. Despite letters of formal notice sent on 18 July 2011, Czech Republic and Poland have not yet informed the Commission of the full transposition of the Directive into their national legislation.

Therefore the Commission has today decided to send reasoned opinions to these Member States. If they do not comply with their legal obligations within two months, the Commission may refer them to the Court of Justice.


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Energy: Commission paves the way for massive roll-out of smart metering systems

When consumers can follow their energy consumption in real time they can better control their energy bills. Smart metering systems will make this possible. Today only 10% of EU households have some sort of smart meter installed. Where economically worthwhile, 80% of all electricity meters in the EU have to be replaced by smart meters by 2020. To facilitate the take-up of this new technology the European Commission has published today a Recommendation to prepare the roll-out of smart-metering systems. It provides step-by-step guidelines for Member States on how to conduct cost-benefit analysis by 3 September 2012. It also sets common minimum functionalities of smart metering systems and addresses data protection and security issues.

A common methodology for cost benefit analysis, proposed by this Recommendation, will ensure that the Member States' analyses are comparable and based on comprehensive deployment plans. Economic assessment of long-term costs and benefits of smart meters will be tailored to local conditions taking into account, where possible, real-life experience gathered from pilot projects.

The costs of deployment will also depend on the functionalities provided by the smart meter. The Commission therefore set up common minimum functionalities for smart metering systems which should be able to deliver accurate measures of actual consumption and bi- directional communication with the consumer, enable dynamic pricing and improve management of the grid. Member States are encouraged to assess smart metering roll out scenarios with smart meters that go beyond the minimum set of requirements.

In particular, the minimum key functionalities will include:
- frequent updates of the readings provided directly to the consumer. Being able to follow their actual electricity consumption in real time gives consumers strong incentives to save energy and money.
- storage of data. The customers should be able to retrieve information on their past consumption patterns to help them better understand their actual energy consumption and make decisions on future energy use.
- remote reading of meters by the operator that are frequent enough to help network planning.
- enabling advanced tariff structures and remote tariff control This will allow consumers respond to the variation of prices in real time.

The effective use of smart metering systems requires processing of personal data. Therefore care must be taken to protect personal data and security. The EU Directive on the protection of personal data (95/46/EC) and the e-privacy Directive (2002/58/EC) set very clear requirements on who has access to different categories of such information and how it is processed. This also covers the specific aspects of smart grids, In this line, the aim of the Commission's Recommendation is to ensure the highest level of protection of personal data and security for individuals and grid operators. The Commission is recommending a "security and data protection by design" approach whereby data protection and security features are built into smart metering systems before they are rolled out.. Data collection should be limited to the minimum necessary and as much as possible, data should be rendered anonymous so that the individual is no longer identifiable. Finally, the Commission plans to develop a data protection impact assessment template and present it by the end of the year at the London Forum.

More information: DG ENER website on smart gridsTop

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