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The Council today adopted1 the energy efficiency directive (PE-CONS 35/12, 13917/12 ADD1 REV3), with the Finnish delegation abstaining and the Spanish and Portuguese delegations voting against. This follows a first-reading agreement with the European Parliament.
The directive establishes a common framework of measures for the promotion of energy efficiency within the Union in order to achieve its 2020 20 % headline target on energy efficiency and to pave the way for further energy efficiency improvements beyond that date.
Each member state will be obliged to set an indicative national energy efficiency target, based on either primary or final energy consumption, primary or final energy savings or energy intensity. By 30 June 2014, the Commission will assess the progress achieved and whether the Union is likely to achieve energy consumption of no more than 1474 Mtoe of primary energy and/or no more than 1078 Mtoe of final energy in 2020.
Public bodies will need to play an exemplary role, as member states will have to ensure that as from 1 January 2014, 3 % of the total floor area of heated and/or cooled buildings owned by their central government is renovated each year. The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission agreed a comparable voluntary undertaking subject to budgetary and procurement rules. In addition, member states will establish a long-term strategy for mobilising investment in the renovation of the national stock of residential and commercial buildings.
Furthermore, each member state will set up an energy efficiency obligation scheme ensuring that energy distributors and/or retail energy sales companies will achieve by the end of 2020 a cumulative end-use energy savings target of 1.5 % of the annual energy sales to final consumers. However, to achieve this target, member states will have the option to use a bundle of flexibility measures as well as equivalent alternative measures such as: the possibility to achieve 1.5 % target in three stages, reaching the 1.5 % in 2018; excluding energy sales from ETS-covered industries; the counting of energy savings in the energy transformation, distribution sectors and counting early actions as from 31 December 2008. The use of these flexibility measures should not lead to a reduction of more than 25 % of the amount of the energy savings target.
The directive also contains provisions on energy audits and energy management systems, metering, billing information, and promotion of efficiency in heating and cooling, energy transformation, transmission and distribution and energy services.
All in all the directive should result in a 17 % improvement in energy efficiency by 2020 compared to the 20 % target, to which other measures will also contribute.
Member states will have to comply with the provisions of this directive within 18 months from its entry into force (tentatively Spring 2014).
The decision was taken, without discussion, at the meeting of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council.