Energy Efficiency First principle

Guiding energy policy and investment decisions
energy efficiencywhy energy savings

The Energy Efficiency First (EE1st) principle is a guiding principle for energy–related decisions in the European Union. It is enshrined in the Governance Regulation (2018/1999) through a clear definition“‘energy efficiency first’ means taking utmost account in energy planning, and in policy and investment decisions, of alternative cost-efficient energy efficiency measures to make energy demand and energy supply more efficient, in particular by means of cost-effective end-use energy savings, demand response initiatives and more efficient conversion, transmission and distribution of energy, whilst still achieving the objectives of those decisions.” 

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In a nutshell, the EE1st principle aims at removing existing market and regulatory barriers to energy efficiency to ensure that demand side resources can compete on an equal footing with supply side ones; it is also should lays the foundations for good infrastructure planning in support of the energy transition.
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Applying the EE1st principle also means fully taking into account the multiple benefits of energy efficiency. A quantification of multiple benefits in all cost-benefit analysis is crucial to correctly value energy savings and will lead to include demand–side considerations more systematically in policy making and investment decisions.

In addition, the new EED recast proposal published as part of the Fit for 55 package introduces a new article (Article 3) to grant a more precise legal basis to the EE1st principle, which requires Member States to ensure that energy efficiency solutions are considered in planning, policy and investment decisions. To further support the application of the principle, the European Commission has published specific recommendations and guidelines to help with the operationalisation of the principle.

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