On the 14th of July, the European Commission published the “Fit for 55” package, which includes a proposal to recast the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED).
Energy efficiency is essential to bring down both emissions and energy costs for consumers, therefore the recast proposal amends current provisions to ensure that the EED can fully contribute to the new EU goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 in a way that is economically attractive and fair for consumers. Following, the publication of the proposal, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU are starting to adopt their position in first reading.
2030 energy efficiency target
In the EED recast proposal, the Commission sets a binding target for the EU but maintains indicative national contributions. However, Member States will need to use a formula to calculate their contributions. Also, more power is granted to the Commission to ensure Member States increase their effort when needed. The level of the target is also raised from 32.5% to 36% for final energy and to 39% for primary energy (based on the PRIMES 2007 reference scenario), which corresponds to a 9% increase for both final and primary energy (based on the new PRIMES 2020 reference scenario).
Energy savings obligation (Article 8)
The EED recast increases the annual rate of energy savings from 0.8% to 1.5% starting in 2024 up to 2030. The proposal also requires that a share of energy savings is achieved with measures targeting energy poverty and vulnerable consumers, so to help them benefitting from the transition. The proposal also clarifies what energy savings can be counted towards the annual objective. For example, savings resulting from the set up of a new Emission Trading System for transport and buildings and savings resulting from the direct combustion of fossil fuels shall be excluded.
Exemplary role of public buildings (Article 6)
The EED recast proposal extends the scope of the renovation requirement to all buildings owned by public bodies (but not occupied) and requires that all renovations achieve nearly-zero energy levels. This provision is part of the new chapter “Exemplary role of public sector”, which also introduces a new objective for all public bodies to reduce their combined final energy consumption by 1,7% each year.
Energy Efficiency First principle (Article 3)
The proposal includes a new article to grant a legal basis to the EE1st principle and support its application. The new article requires Member States to ensure that energy efficiency solutions are considered in planning, policy and investment decisions both in energy and non-energy sectors, to take into account the multiple benefits of energy efficiency in cost-benefit analysis and to appoint an entity that supervises the application of the principle.
Other articles of the EED are also central for the delivery of energy savings and have been modified in the recast proposal, as Article 11 on energy audits, Article 21 on awareness-raising programmes, Articles 23 and 24 on heating & cooling, Article 27 on energy services and a new Article (article 22) to empower vulnerable consumers and alleviate energy poverty.