New Energy Efficiency Plan – Wind of change or just a breeze?

March 23, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Posted in Legislative Outreach | 1 Comment
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The European Commission recently published its long awaited Energy Efficiency Plan. The document is revealing EU’s proposed strategy in the next years for achieving the 20% savings of primary energy consumption by 2020, target included in the Energy and Climate Change Package (also known as the 20/20/20 package  20 – CO2 emission cuts-/20 – increase in share of renewable- /20 – energy savings).

What  measures from the plan have an impact on the building industry and should be of interest for the RoGBC members?

  • public authorities will be required to refurbish at least 3% of their buildings each year at the level of the best 10% from the national building stock (mandatory in the Plan, but legal framework  to enforce will be the recast Energy Efficiency and Service Directive – in discussion at the Commission this year)
  • inclusion of energy efficiency criteria in public procurement of goods, services or works (optional,  implementation at the Member State level  will be highly dependent on the current green public procurement practices in each country)
  • Member States to come with measures (especially directed to reducing heat consumption)  for encouraging the building renovation, adoption of efficient appliances  for private sector buildings (optional)
  • energy performance contracting as a model for developing public building renovation projects or other type of public procurement (ex. street lighting) (optional for the moment – to be addressed in the upcoming recast of the Energy Efficiency and Savings Directive)
  • encourage the development of  ESCO’s  or clear out the existing  legal obstacles for their development (in Romania that would be a complicated and unclear legal system for developing public-private partnerships and lack of a model contract for ESCO’s) (optional for the moment – to be adressed in the Energy Efficiency and Savings Directive)
  • setting stricter consumption standards for heating boilers, water heaters, computers, tumble driers, pumps, vacuum cleaners, further types of lighting (to be developed at the EU level – in dialogue with industry – under the EcoDesign Directive)
  • plans for rolling out Smart grids, meters and appliances  – in this context, buildings  and appliances will have to be “smart grid ready”  – capable of being integrated in a smart grid (European Commission to come with a specific legislative framework in this regard)

The big expectation from this document was to set binding targets for achieving the 20% energy saving set objective (or at least come with strong mandatory measures that would support the achievement of the objective) , since energy saving is the only target from the Energy and Climate Change package that is not binding in the moment. For the moment the European Commission is relying a lot on Member States’ willingness to implement the measures without mandatory targets. Even if the Commission evaluation of existing efforts (up until 2009)  at the Member States level suggests that EU is on its way to achieve only half of the 20% objective,  it decided to wait for 2013 to make another evaluation and if then the results are poor, binding targets will be back in discussion. However we know from now that only a strong set of measures will be able to deliver the predicted benefits of energy efficiency policy – transformation of daily life and household savings from the energy bill, job creation, CO2 cuts etc. What “strong” means in this context?  Less proposals, suggestions and encouragements and more leadership and commitment.

The plan by itself has no legislative power, but some of the measures suggested could and will be captured in future legislative initiatives of the European Commission (either recasts of existing Directives or proposals of new legislative framework). Two major Directives that are  to be recast this year and that will probably incorporate many of the suggested measures (the ones for buildings) are Energy Services and Combined Heat and Power Directive that will be transformed into Energy Efficiency and Savings Directive.

Updates to come…

Anca Bieru

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  1. […] Directive was supposed to capture some of the provisions from the Energy Efficiency Plan  and also review  the general energy efficiency targets for 2020.  For the building industry the […]


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