EU not yet delivering on ‘Efficiency First’ pledge, finds new study

A new paper published today finds that although the European Union’s ‘Winter Package’ of energy legislation takes steps in the right direction to improve energy efficiency, it still has some way to go to deliver on its promise of putting ‘Efficiency First’.

Efficiency First’ is one of the five pillars of the EU’s Energy Union strategy.  Put simply, it means prioritising investment in measures that will save energy (either by improving efficiency or by shifting use away from peak times) ahead of investments to increase supply (such as new power stations and networks).

The researchers, including Jan Rosenow who is based at the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand at the Science Policy Research Unit, analysed five key EU Directives and Regulations to assess the extent to which they followed the ‘Efficiency First’ principle. The research concludes that some of the proposals are going in the right direction and the package ensures Europe will continue to deliver on energy efficiency beyond 2020. The researchers welcome the high-level commitment to Efficiency First but also point out that a lot of work needs to be done to reflect the ambition fully in the Winter Package.

The authors argue that the Energy Efficiency Directive and Energy Performance in Buildings Directive should both be strengthened.  They also call for a new requirement in the Internal Electricity Market Directive and Regulation that capacity mechanisms should allow energy efficiency to compete on an equal footing with supply side resources.  Finally, the paper identifies a striking lack of enforcement tools to pay for and deliver energy savings if Member States do not deliver on their efficiency programmes and calls for greater attention in this area to ensure that cost-effective energy savings are delivered.

Read the full paper here: Assessing the European Union’s Energy Efficiency Policy: Will the Winter Package deliver on ‘Efficiency First’?

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Photo Credit: Holger Bryks ‘Energy’. All Creative Commons.