Energy efficiency and governance: Council and Parliament agree on new EU directives

EU legislators agreed on the reform of the Energy Efficiency Directive on 19 June.

The main points:

The energy efficiency target for the EU as a whole is 32.5% by 2030 and remains indicative (non-binding). In 2023, the European Commission is to assess whether an increase in targets is appropriate due to falling costs for efficiency measures.

  • The member states define their own national contribution to the EU target. This contribution can take the form of a primary and/or final energy target.
  • The “effective” annual final energy saving obligation for the member states (Art. 7) amounts to 0.8 % of the total final energy consumption. It will continue after 2030, unless the Commission concludes in a 2027 assessment that this is no longer necessary (unlikely).
  • The amount of the final energy saving obligation is calculated taking into account energy sales in the transport sector. In return, it was reduced from 1.5% to 0.8%. Only measures provided for in Annex V may be taken into account in order to achieve 0.8%. Early measures can be taken into account if they lead to individual efficiency measures after 2020. The use of renewable energy on and in buildings is also creditable.
  • Member States wishing to make use of the flexibility options currently available in Article 7 must always ensure that the 0.8% quota is nevertheless achieved. In this case, they may exclude final energy sales in the transport sector in whole or in part when calculating their individual final energy saving obligation.
  • The use of smaller renewable energy systems in and on buildings should be allowed to be counted towards meeting the savings obligation in accordance with Annex V if it leads to measurable and verifiable energy savings.
  • As in the past, energy sales in the transport sector can be disregarded when calculating the final energy saving obligation.
  • The deadline for transposition into national law will be 18 months, with the exception of the measurement and billing rules (22 months).

An informal agreement was also reached on the new “governance regulation”. The aim is to better coordinate the energy and climate policies of the member states. In addition, the achievement of European objectives is to be ensured.

The main points:

  • The goal for the EU states was defined to achieve greenhouse gas neutrality as soon as possible. Parliament was unable to assert its demand for a time horizon “until 2050”. The European Commission is presenting a long-term strategy for the entire EU by 1 April 2019, in which, according to the governance regulation, a CO2 budget in accordance with the Paris climate agreement is to be included.
  • By the end of December 2018, states have to submit draft integrated energy and climate plans. One year later, the final plans and a strategy with a time horizon of 2050 must be available. The plans describe objectives and measures in various areas of energy policy (including energy efficiency and renewable energy, but also security of supply, the internal electricity market and research and development) for a period of ten years (2021 – 2030). They are to be presented every ten years. Updates are planned every five years. The Council and Parliament assess progress annually. The Commission shall submit the first detailed progress report by March 2023.
  • The EU’s energy efficiency and renewable energy targets for 2030 must be gradually achieved. This is to prevent states from acting too late.
  • In concrete terms, progress will be assessed on three dates (2022, 2025 and 2027). In the field of renewable energies, for example 18% of the target by 2022, 43% by 2025 and 65% by 2027. If the EU does not achieve these milestones, the European Commission can make recommendations to governments to fill the “gap”. In the area of energy efficiency, the Commission can propose a tightening of European requirements (such as EcoDesign) if there are signs that a target is missed.

Both legislative texts have yet to be formally adopted by the Council and the Parliament. The vote in the Parliament’s plenary could take place in October.

Source: DIHK – ECOPOST/ Neues rund um Umwelt, Energie, Klima und Rohstoffe, July 2018