Causes Energy Efficiency: less red tape, more flexibility

Energy and Climate | 28-02-2012

The European Parliament has presented a compromise package for the hotly-debated EU Energy Efficiency Directive. The Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE) voted today in favour of binding targets for Member States and flexible implementing measures (see amendments adopted here).

The MEPs approach is that if Member States agree on joint binding targets, (burden sharing) they will be allowed to deviate from the fixed EU targets for energy consumption reduction or the renovation of existing buildings. If they do not accept burden sharing with binding national targets the reduction and renovation quota proposed by the European Commission ought to become mandatory. And for the latter ITRE managed to lock up bureaucracy.

As proposed by the EPP Group, local governments should be allowed alternative energy-consumption reduction measures, such as new heating installations, instead of fixed yearly quotas. The yearly energy savings would have to equal that of a 2,5 per-cent renovation of existing buildings.

Maria da Graça Carvalho also agrees on an alternative to the Commission proposal of making a 1,5 per-cent yearly decrease in the national utilities' energy turnover mandatory. Instead, ongoing renovations of existing buildings ought to qualify for being taken on board. It is time to tell Member States how how to save energy an not only how much energy they will have to save. Smaller local utilities may be exempt from the directive if their existence is in danger. Besides, Member States may accept the energy consumption per product unit instead of absolute savings.

More information here

ITRE results on the Energy Efficiency Directive 

  • Energy saving targets (Art. 3): If Member States collectively agree on binding national energy saving targets which altogether correspond to 368 Mtoe primary energy savings, they may deviate from the minimum values required by Art. 4 (2,5% annual renovation target for public buildings) and Art. 6 (1,5% annual energy saving obligation). If there are no binding national targets, the minimum values in Art. 4&6 shall apply.
  • Financing Facilities (Art. 2a): Member States shall have in place financing facilities to aggregate multiple streams of financing to support energy efficiency measures. These should include European funds as well as other contributions (such as penalties for the non-fulfilment of the energy saving obligation) 
  • Building renovation (Art. 3&4): Member States are required to establish policies targeted to substantially reduce the energy consumption of their building stock, preferably by promoting deep and staged deep renovation of buildings and with a view to achieve an overall energy consumption reduction of 80% in their building stock by 2050. Fur buildings owned by public bodies a mandatory (deep or staged deep) renovation quota of 2,5% per year has been adopted. Alternatively, public bodies can opt to achieve equivalent savings by other measures (such as behaviour change, replacement of buildings parts or systems, etc); Public bodies are encouraged to take a specific approach to improve the energy performance of historic buildings without changing their autheticity. 
  • Public procurement (Art. 5): Public bodies have to apply high energy efficiency standards and specifications when purchasing or renting buildings, products and services. The EPP succeeded during the votes with the position that public bodies should be able to take the cost-effectiveness of such purchasing decisions into account based on a life-cycle analysis. 
  • Energy saving obligation (Art. 6): Member States shall establish national end-use saving schemes in order to require energy (distribution and/or retail) companies to realise 1,5% energy savings each year among final customers; up to 10% of these can be short-term savings (such as information campaigns, energy audits, etc), the rest has to be achieved by long-term measures (efficient household appliances, boilers, building renovation, etc). Member States can opt not to oblige energy companies to implement the end-use saving scheme (or to implement it only to a lower extent) if Member States can demonstrate to achieve equivalent end-use savings by alternative/complementary means (such as through ESCO support programmes, building renovation, etc). Complicated energy saving calculation formulas as suggested by the rapporteur have been rejected by a majority in ITRE. Member States can decide to exempt small energy distributors from this obligation. 
  • Energy audits & billing information (Art. 7 & 8): For large companies, regular mandatory energy audits are required every four years. Audits may be conducted by in-house experts. A new Annex Va lays down guiding principles for the quality criteria for such audits. The ITRE text lays down a series of requirements on energy companies regarding metering and billing information (no requirement for monthly billing but monthly billing information). 
  • Cogeneration (Art. 10): Member States shall adopt national heating and cooling roadmaps to develop the potential for high-efficiency cogeneration and efficient district heating and cooling. They shall furthermore implement authorisation criteria that ensure that installations are located in sites close to heat demand points where a cost-benefit analysis proves positive. All new electricity generation installations and existing installations that are substantially refurbished should be equipped with high-efficiency CHP units, if cost-effective. 
  • Energy transformation (Art. 11)
  • Transmission and distribution (Art. 12): Art. 12 now includes concrete provisions to promote demand response activities and the establishment of forward capacity markets; priority access/dispatch shall be ensured for high-efficiency CHP as long as the priority access/dispatch for renewable energy sources is not hampered. 
  • Review and monitoring incl. ETS measures (Art. 19): Art. 19 allows Member States (without prejudice to the national saving targets) to set separate efficiency/intensity targets for their industries, in particulat the energy intensive industries. The Commission shall monitor the impact of this directive on carbon leakage sectors and take appropriate measures, if this directive creates an impediment to the development of such industries. The Commission shall also assess the impact of this directive on the ETS and the incentives to invest in low-carbon technologies. If the assessment proves need for action, the Commission shall amend the ETS in order to implement appropriate measures. This may include withholding a necessary amount of allowances (set-aside). 
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