On the 14th of July 2021, 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 while improving the EU’s energy independence. 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.
2030 energy efficiency target
In the EED recast proposal, the Commission sets a binding primary and final energy 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 efforts 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).
Following the Russian aggression of Ukraine, the Commission published the REPowerEU plan on the 18th of May, which aims at phasing out fossil fuel imports from Russia. The plan contained a revision of the Commission’s original 2030 energy efficiency target which increased it from 9% to 13% (based on the new PRIMES 2020 reference scenario). For more information read our guide to the energy efficiency target.
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 which 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 are 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.
Latest legislative developments
Following the publication of the proposal, the Council of the EU adopted its general approach on the file on the 27th of June 2022, weakening many of the Commission’s provisions. The European Parliament adopted its position on the EED recast on the 14th of September. Following the adoption of co-legislators’ positions on the file, trilogue negotiations on the EED recast have started.
The Coalition for Energy Savings has drafted a policy briefing that provides a summary of the key points at stake during trilogue negotiations and the Coalition’s recommendations to ensure an ambitious recast of the EED.
The Coalition for Energy Savings recommends…
- An increase of the proposed 2030 energy efficiency target to at least 14.5% (PRIMES 2020) which is the bare minimum that EU institutions should agree on given that the EU cost-effective energy savings potential stands at least at 19%.
- A binding EU energy efficiency target for both primary and final energy supported by stable, well distributed and binding national contributions.
- An Energy Savings Obligation aligned with higher 2030 ambition (2% annual rate from 2024 onwards) and supporting the most vulnerable.
- Ensuring a systematic application of the Energy Efficiency First principle to all energy and non-energy related decisions.
- An exemplary highly efficient public sector decreasing its final energy consumption and renovating its public buildings to the highest standard.