The European Commission has announced a provisional agreement with the European Parliament and the Council to reform and strengthen the EU Energy Efficiency Directive, marking a significant step towards the completion of the ‘Fit for 55′ package. The package aims to deliver the European Green Deal and the REPowerEU Plan, demonstrating the EU’s determination to become climate neutral by 2050.
The agreement establishes an EU energy efficiency target of 11.7% for 2030, exceeding the Commission’s original proposal. EU Member States will be required to collectively ensure an additional reduction of final and primary energy consumption compared to energy consumption forecasts made in 2020.
Under the provisional deal, the annual energy savings obligation will nearly double to ensure continual progress. EU countries will be required to achieve new savings each year of 1.49% of final energy consumption on average, from 2024 to 2030, up from the current level of 0.8%.
The revised rules also give greater responsibility to the public sector to increase energy efficiency. Public bodies will need to systematically take into account energy efficiency requirements in their public procurement of products, services, buildings, and works.
The deal further strengthens provisions on energy efficiency financing to facilitate the mobilisation of investments. Under the new provisions, EU countries will be required to promote innovative financing schemes and green lending products for energy efficiency, ensuring their wide and non-discriminatory offer by financial institutions.
The agreement includes the first-ever EU definition of energy poverty. Member States will now have to implement energy efficiency improvement measures as a priority among people affected by energy poverty, vulnerable customers, low-income households, and where applicable, people living in social housing.
The European Green Deal is the EU’s long-term growth strategy to make Europe climate-neutral by 2050. The revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive is one of the ‘Fit for 55′ proposals presented by the Commission in July 2021 to make the EU’s climate, energy, land use, transport and taxation policies fit for reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.
Once the formal adoption process is completed, the new legislation will be published in the Official Journal of the Union and enter into force.