European Energy Efficiency Action Plan (EEAP)

The European Commission adopted on 8 March 2011 a European Energy Efficiency Action Plan (EEAP).

The EEAP will succeed to the 2006 Energy Efficiency Action Plan which will expire in 2012 and contains a set of mesures aimed at strengthening energy efficiency in the EU by 2020.

  • Challenges

→ Reaching a target of saving 20% of primary energy consumption by 2020 at EU level

The EEAP is designed to fill in the loopholes in the 2006 Action Plan and to propose new orientations and measures to reach a target of saving 20% of primary energy consumption by 2020, as provided by the 2008 Climate Change Package. According to the Commission’s projections, based on current trends, the EU would reach a saving of only 10% by 2020. The measures proposed by the EEAP have the potential to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by 740 million tons over the period 2013-2020.

→ Supporting the development of the green economy and greens jobs

Beyond its energy and environmental dimension, the EEAP could have a strong economic and social impact : it has the potential to generate financial savings of up to 1000 euros per household every year and to create up to 2 million jobs in the EU.

→ Taking into account the whole energy chain

The EEAP proposes a new approach covering the whole energy chain from generation to end-use, including transmission and distribution.

→ Promoting an approach based on energy efficency in key sectors

-          Industry : improvement to the efficiency of power and heat generation ; mandatory energy audits for large companies ; measures to introduce energy management systems ; additional ecodesign measures on industrial products.

-          Energy efficiency services : introduction of national energy saving obligation schemes ; better information on energy services ; increase of the transparency of the ESCO market through lists of accredited energy service providers and model contracts ; better access of providers to financial resources.

-          Public sector : high energy efficiency standards in public spending ; annual 3% refurbishment in public buildings ; clarification of the energy performance contracting legal framework.

-          Buildings : introduction of measures to address the « split of incentives » issue between owners and tenants.

→ Implementing horizontal measures to support energy efficiency

-          Consumers : improved information to consumers ; support to the deployment of smart grids and smart meters ; support to energy and resource efficient appliances ; support to energy labels.

-          Financing : support to private investments through new financing tools.

-          Training : support to Member States in assessing training needs for the construction sector ; development of strategies to foster effective training schemes.

-          Supporting SMEs : incentives to invest in energy efficiency technologies ; support of the exchange of best practices and benchmarking tools.

-          Supporting energy efficiency on the ground

  • Key points of the debate

The main open question concerns the proposal of legally binding national targets for energy efficiency combined with monitoring mecanisms like the one set up for the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources.

The three EU institutions (Commission, Council of Ministers and European Parliament) have divergent positions on this matter. In its initiative report adopted on 15 December 2010, the European Parliament supports the definition of binding energy efficiency targets of at least 20% by 2020 ; for the EP, binding targets are the only way to reach significant progress in this field. On the contrary, the Council of Ministers reaffirmed in February 2011 that it was opposed to the introduction of any national or sectoral binding objective.

At this stage, the EEPA does not set binding objectives ; however, based on an assessment of progress made in the frame of the national energy efficiciency programmes set by the Member States, the European Commission will propose in 2013, if deemed necessary, legally binding national targets for 2020. In such a case, several criteria should be taken into account to define the objectives of each Member State: the different starting points; the economic performance ; the existence of national provisions in this field. In this regards, France has set up the « Réglementation Thermique 2012 (RT2012) » which aims at limiting the primary energy consumption in new residential and commercial buildings.

  • Next steps

The EEAP adopted on 8 March 2011 by the European Commission was transmitted to the European Parliament and to the Council for consideration. Member States should adopt conclusions on the Communication during the Transport, Telecoms and Energy Council of Ministers’ meeting of 10 June 2011.

The European Commission will adopt on 22 June 2011 a legislative proposal revising and merging Directive 2006/32/EC on energy end-use efficiency and energy services and Directive 2004/8/EC on the promotion of cogeneration based on useful heat demand in the internal energy market. New eco-design and labelling measures will be proposed in 2011 and 2012 ; innovative financing mecanisms aimed at strengthening energy efficiency will also be presented in the next months.

  • Useful Links

Website of Directorate-General for Energy (European Commission)

Download the International Review about Regulations in Electrical Efficiency of june 2011

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