Real energy savings require good plans and firm targets

Energy transition

The Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) sets a 1.5% annual energy savings target for each Member State, which will be measured among final consumers until 2020. Member States can put this requirement on their national energy suppliers and/or the distributors by creating an energy efficiency obligation scheme. However, they can also undertake this task or part of it on their own by implementing alternative policies and measures. Delivering on the 1.5% target (under Article 7 of the EED) is crucial, as it is estimated that it will account for around three quarters of the overall savings in the directive. However, new analysis from the Coalition for Energy Savings shows that most of the plans in which Member States describe how they intend to achieve this are lacking credibility.   

At the end of 2013, Member States had to report to the European Commission how much energy they need to save annually until 2020 to achieve the 1.5% target required by the EED. They also had to provide details on how they plan to do this, declaring their intention to use energy efficiency obligations and/or alternative measures.

The Coalition for Energy Savings has assessed these reports and determined that Member States must try harder than what is indicated in their national plans if they are to deliver the required savings. Only 3 national plans (Denmark, Ireland and Croatia), out of the 27 assessed present a comprehensive overview of how the governments will achieve their savings targets, while 13 plans, including Germany, Finland, Sweden and most of the central and eastern EU countries are of poor quality or difficult to assess because they are incomplete. Furthermore, almost all Member States use the maximum allowable exemptions to lower the ambition of their target, which means that the average target in the EU is actually only 0.8% instead of 1,5% [1].

On a positive note, more countries are planning to establish energy efficiency obligations for energy suppliers or/and distributors. This mechanism can provide a source of funding that is separate from government budgets and help shift the current energy model to one in which energy suppliers also provide energy efficiency services.

Member States have different opportunities to improve the weaknesses of their Article 7 reports. This week, they will submit the National Energy Efficiency Plans (NEEAPs), which include all their strategies and progress made towards achieving the goals of the Energy Efficiency Directive. Furthermore, formally they still have until June 5th to transpose the Directive into national laws. Most importantly, Member States need to turn the plans into action and fully implement what they propose, as energy savings are not delivered through promises.

Despite the areas for concern that were identified through this analysis, it has been confirmed that binding targets, such as the 1.5% target, work. They provide direction and set in motion the implementation of energy savings measures. The EU needs to set an overarching binding target of 40% energy savings to show that there will be no backtracking from its energy savings policies and that efforts within a 2030 climate and energy framework will be scaled up in order to increase the uptake of energy efficiency measures. Such a commitment can motivate Member States to integrate a longer-term perspective into their policies and may even lead to more ambition in the implementation of the EED.

[1] The Coalition for Energy Savings, of which CAN Europe is a member, brings together business, professional, local authorities and civil society organisations working toward more meaningful EU policy on energy efficiency and savings. The Coalition’s analysis of the EED Article 7 reports from Member States can be found here:


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