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Strong impetus to energy savings and energy efficiency

European Commission - IP/11/770   22/06/2011

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European Commission - Press release

Strong impetus to energy savings and energy efficiency

Brussels, 22 June 2011 - The cheapest energy is the one we do not consume. The counting down has started to achieve Europe's 20% energy efficiency target for 2020. If nothing changes in the coming years, the EU will achieve only half of the target. This threatens our competitiveness, our fight to reduce CO2 emissions and our security of supply. This is still a high cost for every consumer's bill. A new set of measures for increased Energy Efficiency is proposed today by the European Commission to fill the gap and put back the EU on track. 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 simple but ambitious measures:

  • Legal obligation to establish energy saving schemes in all Member States: energy distributors or retail energy sales companies will be obliged to save every year 1,5 % of their energy sales, by volume, through the implementation of energy efficiency measures such as improving the efficiency of the heating system, installing double glazed windows or insulating roofs, among final energy customers. Alternatively, Member States have also the possibility to propose other energy savings mechanisms, for example, be funding programmes or voluntary agreements that lead to the same results but are not based on obligation on energy companies.

  • Public sector to lead by example: public bodies will push for the market uptake of energy efficient products and services through a legal obligation to purchase energy efficient buildings, products and services. They will further have to progressively reduce the energy consumed on their own premises by carrying out every year the required renovation works covering at least 3% of their total floor area.

  • Major energy savings for consumers:  easy and free-of-charge access to data on real-time and historical energy consumption through more accurate individual metering will now empower consumers to better manage their energy consumption. Billing should be based on the actual consumption well reflecting data from the metering.

  • Industry: Incentives for SMEs to undergo energy audits and disseminate best practices while the large companies will have to make an audit of their energy consumption to help them identify the potential for reduced energy consumption.

  • Efficiency in energy generation: monitoring of 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.

Background

The Commission's 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 by 20% the EU's anticipated energy consumption for 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 far from being able to achieve its objective.

To meet this challenge, the European Commission has 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 which transforms into binding measures many of the key actions proposed in this Energy Efficiency Plan. It builds upon the existing Directives for Cogeneration and Energy Services1 and merges them into one comprehensive legal instrument addressing energy efficiency in energy supply and in final energy consumption.

The Directive also foresees that the Commission will make in 2014 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.

For more information:

The Energy Efficiency Directive:

http://ec.europa.eu/energy/efficiency/eed/eed_en.htm

See also MEMO/11/440.

Contacts :

Marlene Holzner (+32 2 296 01 96)

Nicole Bockstaller (+32 2 295 25 89)

1 :

Directives 2004/8/EC on cogeneration and 2006/32/EC on energy end-use efficiency and energy services


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