European energy efficiency directive aims to meet 2020 20% target


Günther Oettinger,
EC Energy
Brussels, Belgium — (METERING.COM) — July 6, 2011 – The European Commission last week released an Energy Efficiency Directive aiming to achieve the 2020 target of a 20 percent energy saving, with smart metering and billing set to play a key role.

The Directive, which presents the legislative framework for putting into place binding measures on energy efficiency, expects that major energy savings for consumers will result from easy and free-of-charge access to data on real-time and historical energy consumption through more accurate individual metering and billing, which will empower consumers to better manage their energy consumption.

To achieve this member states must ensure that final customers for electricity, gas, district heating or cooling, and district-supplied domestic hot water are provided with individual meters that make available actual consumption and provide information on time of use. Further, when putting in place their smart meter rollouts, member states must ensure the objectives of energy efficiency and final customer benefits are fully taken into account when establishing the minimum functionalities of the meters.

Other measures in the Directive include an obligation to establish energy saving schemes in all member states, and that the public sector will lead by example. In particular energy distributors or retail energy sales companies will be obliged to save 1.5 percent of their energy sales by volume annually through the implementation of measures such as improving the efficiency of heating systems, installing double glazed windows or insulating roofs among customers. Alternatively, member states may propose other energy savings mechanisms, such as funding programs or voluntary agreements, which lead to the same results but are not based on obligation on energy companies.

Public sector bodies will be required to purchase energy efficient buildings, products and services. They will also have to reduce their energy consumption by carrying out renovation works covering at least 3 percent of their total floor area annually, while businesses will be required to be provided with incentives to undergo energy audits.

Efficiency measures will also be introduced in energy generation, transmission and distribution, through monitoring and regulatory activities.

“Our proposal aims at making the way we use energy in our daily life more efficient and at helping citizens, public authorities and the industry to better manage their energy consumption, which should also lead to a reduced energy bill,” Energy commissioner Günther Oettinger.

Under the Directive, the Commission will make an assessment of progress towards the 2020 target in 2014, and if necessary will bring forward a further legislative proposal to set mandatory national energy efficiency targets.

At the current rate of progress, the EU is expected to achieve only half of the 2020 savings target.