Strong Impetus to Energy Savings and Energy Efficiency

The count 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.

A new set of measures for increased Energy Efficiency has recently been proposed by the European Commission to fill the gap and put the EU back 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,” says Gunther 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, by 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 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.

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