On Wednesday night EU policymakers thrashed out the final details of the first-ever EU energy efficiency law. It was subsequently rubber-stamped by member state representatives on Thursday night. EU energy ministers meeting in Brussels on Friday are expected to do the same and the European Parliament should follow in July.
The feeling in Brussel is overwhelmingly one of relief – the possibility of a deal only really appeared last week (see our previous blog entry of 11 June below).
What does the new law do? In a nutshell, it will ensure the EU delivers a 15% energy saving compared to business-as-usual in 2020. This isn’t “closing the gap” to the 20% voluntary savings target European leaders signed up to in 2007, but it’s more than the 9% current policies are on track to do.
European Commission sources on Thursday said tougher emission standards for cars and vans – a debate that’s brewing in Brussels for later this year – and new eco-design standards (notably for boilers, many say) could make up the difference.
Compared to the Commission’s original proposal last summer, the new law delivers about two-thirds of what it set out to do. The core of the deal remains a compromise over energy saving obligations for energy suppliers, hammered out last week. Member states agreed to bundle together a list of “flexibility measures” (i.e. ways of softening the energy saving obligation) and to have these cover up to 25% of the 1.5% annual energy saving obligation to be imposed on energy suppliers. The flexibility measures include for example credits for early action in previous years.