EU’s transition to a low-carbon economy is guided by three main objectives: putting energy efficiency first, achieving global leadership in renewable energies and providing a fair deal for consumers. As regards energy efficiency, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU agreed on a target for an improvement in energy efficiency at EU level of at least 32,5% in 2030. The revised Energy Efficiency Directive is one of the eight legislative proposals of the Clean Energy for All Europeans package introduced by the European Commission in November 2016. In line with the EU’s commitments made in the framework of the Energy Union, the Energy Efficiency Directive aims to maintain EU’s leadership role in the fight against climate change and in meeting the goals set by the Paris Agreement. According to Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete, together with the 32% renewable energy target for the EU for 2030, the EU is now equipped to complete the clean energy transition. In addition, the Directive is expected to create growth, employment and investment opportunities for the benefit of European energy consumers. The Directive was endorsed by the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research, Telecoms and Energy (ITRE) in July 2018.
Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: "Europe is by far the largest importer of fossil fuel in the world. Today we put an end to this. This deal is a major push for Europe's energy independence. Much of what we spend on imported fossil fuels will now be invested at home in more efficient buildings, industries and transport. The new target of 32.5% will boost our industrial competitiveness, create jobs, reduce energy bills, help tackle energy poverty and improve air quality. Our path to real energy security and climate protection begins here at home, and this deal shows Europe's determination to build a modern economy that is less dependent on imported energy and with more domestically produced clean energy".
The revised Energy Efficiency Directive tackles existing market, behavioural and regulatory barriers in order to increase security of supply as well as competitiveness of EU industries. It will require member states to put in place national rules on the allocation of the cost of heating, cooling and hot water consumption in multi-apartment and multi-purpose buildings. Moreover, the Directive strengthens rules on individual metering and billing of thermal energy.
The revised Energy Efficiency Directive sets an energy efficiency target for the EU for 2030 of 32.5% at all stages of the energy chain, from generation to final consumption. By doing so the Directive will extend the annual energy saving obligations beyond 2020 and consequently attract private investments and support the emergence of new market actors. The EU energy and climate strategy is built on the “energy efficiency first” principle. It is understood that by using energy more efficiently, the EU can enhance its energy security (being less dependent on external suppliers of energy), Europeans can lower their bills and live in healthy environment. The Energy Efficiency Directive is particularly focused on sectors where the greatest untapped potential for energy efficiency savings, for instance buildings.
Originally proposed indicative target for an improvement in energy efficiency at EU level of at least 27% was endorsed by the European Council in October 2014. In December 2015, the European Parliament called upon the Commission to assess the viability of a 40% energy efficiency target for 2030. In the Clean Energy for All Europeans package, adopted in 2016, the European Commission proposed a 30% energy efficiency target.