Energy Efficiency

The Energy Efficiency Directive (EDD, 2012/27/EU) established binding measures to help the EU reach its target of a 20% gain in energy efficiency by 2020 compared to projected energy use. But it is now due for review amid the 2030 climate and energy policy, which could result in more ambitious targets. At the October 2014 European Council, Member States agreed to an energy efficiency target of at least 27% by 2030 compared to projections and asked the Commission to review the target by 2020 “having in mind an EU level of 30%”. Accordingly, in November 2016, the European Commission (EC) adopted a proposal revising Directive 2012/27/EU as part of a comprehensive “Energy Winter Package” comprising of initiatives focusing also on: energy performance of buildings; renewable energy post-2020; bioenergy sustainability; energy market design; energy governance. The proposal sets out a regulatory framework for energy efficiency until 2030 by establishing a binding 30% energy efficiency target at EU level.

FuelsEurope supports the goal of energy efficiency. However, the Directive’s key contribution has been in sectors that previously had no economic driver or signals to boost energy efficiency. Indeed, so far Member States could choose between achieving energy savings through obligated parties (art. 7a), alternative measures (art 7b) or a combination of the two mentioned options. It should be kept in mind that for transport, an obligation scheme is not the best way to address efficiency: vehicle efficiency standards, labelling, taxation of road fuels, and measures to improve infrastructure are all used extensively and more effective means of tackling this complex area (see FE contribution on EEOS below). It is also important to keep flexibilities for Member States, allowing them to adopt the most suitable measures for the national situation, while focusing on least burdensome solutions.

Energy represents 60% of the overall costs of EU refiners, so any gain in efficiency reduces the industry’s bills. EU refiners have increased their efficiency by 10% over the past 20 years, despite greater product and emissions requirements that require more intensive processing.  Climate and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete has recognised that EU refining “has some of the most energy efficient and innovative refineries in the world”.

The proposal follows the ordinary legislative procedure (former co-decision). ITRE Committee vote is expected on 28 November 2017 whereas the Council concluded a General Approach in June 2017.

FuelsEurope contributed the following opinions:

Energy Efficiency Targets

It must be underlined that energy efficiency (reduction in energy used per unit of production) is not the same as reducing absolute energy use.

FuelsEurope wants the EU to adopt a single, cost-effective, long‐term trajectory for carbon abatement. The Commission should seek to avoid overlaps with existing legislation, as these interfere with efforts to find cost-effective, market-driven solutions.

Energy Efficiency Obligation Schemes (EEOS)

Transport should be excluded from mandatory EEOS. There are many successful examples of such schemes for traditional energy utilities in the EU and other parts of the world. But these depend on factors that do not apply to transport. Some are successful because they address energy suppliers via distributors, retailers or service companies that have strong relationships with their customers. These relationships are then used to offer services, incentives or projects that improve efficiency. Other schemes apply to utility electricity and gas suppliers that have “hard” piped or wired connections to customers. This means that they supply energy in a continuous manner, making consumption easy to measure. Some successful schemes include oil, but these must be carefully tailored to the particular supply process. Such a strong customer relationship does not exist in general for transport fuel supplies.

Next Steps

Fuelseurope will present some voting recommendations ahead of the vote in ITRE committee on November 28 (recalling the issues already presented in our amendments before the summer), and will monitor the trilogue in the upcoming months. An agreement is expected in the second part of 2018.