This proposal for this new directive brings forward measures to step up Member States' efforts to use energy more efficiently at all stages of the energy chain – from the transformation of energy and its distribution to its final consumption.
"Our proposal aims at making the way we use energy in our daily life more efficient and at helping citizens, public authorities and the industry to better manage their energy consumption, which should also lead to a reduced energy bill. It also creates an important potential for new jobs throughout the EU", said Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner responsible for Energy.
In a nutshell, the Commission proposes the following simple yet ambitious measures:
- A legal obligation to establish energy saving schemes in all Member States: energy distributors or retail energy sales companies would be obliged to save 1.5 % annually on their energy sales, by volume, through the implementation of energy efficiency measures such as improving the efficiency of heating systems, installing double glazed windows or insulating roofs of final energy customers. Alternatively, Member States would also have the possibility to propose other energy savings mechanisms, for example, funding programmes or voluntary agreements that lead to equivalent results but are not based on obligations on energy companies.
- Public sector to lead by example: public bodies would push for market uptake of energy efficient products and services through a legal obligation to purchase energy efficient buildings, products and services. They would have to progressively reduce the energy consumed on their own premises through annual renovation works covering at least 3% of their total floor area.
- Major energy savings for consumers: easy and free-of-charge access to real-time and historical energy consumption data through accurate individual metering would empower consumers to better manage their energy consumption. Billing should be based on the actual consumption, reflecting data from the metering.
- Industry: Incentives for SMEs to undergo energy audits and disseminate best practices while larger companies would be obliged to audit their energy consumption in order to identify potential for reduced energy consumption.
- Efficiency in energy generation: monitoring efficiency levels of new energy generation capacities, establishment of national heat and cooling plans as a basis for a sound planning of efficient heating and cooling infrastructures, including recovery of waste heat.
- Energy transmission and distribution: achieving efficiency gains by ensuring that national energy regulators take energy efficiency criteria into account in their decisions, in particular when approving network tariffs.
This Commission proposal follows the latest calls for action by the European Council (4th February 2011), Energy Council (10th June 2011) and European Parliament to achieve the objective to reduce the EU's anticipated energy consumption by 20% by 2020. Latest estimates made by the Commission, taking into account the national energy efficiency targets for 2020 that Member States have set for themselves in the context of the Europe 2020 strategy, show that the EU is still a long way from being able to achieve its objective.
To meet this challenge, the European Commission has already first put forward, on 8 March 2011, a new Energy Efficiency Plan proposing a range of energy efficiency measures to be implemented throughout all economic sectors to achieve further energy savings. This plan has been warmly welcomed by the Energy Council and the European Parliament.
Today, the Commission presents the legislative proposal for a Directive on energy efficiency that aims to create binding measures out of the key actions proposed in this Energy Efficiency Plan. It builds upon the existing Directives for Cogeneration and Energy Services1and merges them into one comprehensive legal instrument addressing energy efficiency in energy supply and in final energy consumption.
The Directive also foresees that in 2014 the Commission will make an assessment of the progress made towards the EU's 20% energy efficiency objective for 2020 and, if necessary, bring forward a further legislative proposal to set mandatory national energy efficiency targets.
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