Energy efficiency is a key tool for strengthening Europe's competitiveness and reduces energy dependence, while decreasing the level of emissions. The set of measures proposed aims at creating substantial benefits for households, businesses and public authorities: it should transform our daily lives and generate financial savings of up to €1000 per household every year. It should improve the EU's industrial competitiveness with a potential for the creation of up to 2 million jobs.
Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner responsible for Energy, said: "Despite progress, our estimates show that we need a further decisive and coordinated action on energy efficiency, without which the EU will not meet its objective of 20% energy savings by 2020. It paves the way for the longer term policies needed to achieve a decarbonised and resource-efficient economy by 2050 and to place the EU at the forefront of innovation. "
Recent Commission estimates suggest the EU will achieve only half of the 20% improvement in energy efficiency it aims for by 2020 if it continues business as usual.
Against this background, the Action Plan proposes several new actions:
· It promotes the exemplary role of the public sector and proposes a binding target to accelerate the refurbishment rate of the public sector building stock. Public authorities should be required to refurbish at least 3% of their buildings each year. It also introduces energy efficiency criteria in public procurement.
· It aims to trigger the renovation process in private buildings and to improve the energy performance of appliances.
· It seeks to improve the efficiency of power and heat generation.
· It foresees energy efficiency requirements for industrial equipment, improved information provision for SMEs and energy audits and energy management systems for large companies.
· It focuses on the roll-out of smart grids and smart meters providing consumers with the information and services necessary to optimise their energy consumption and calculate their energy savings.
The Commission will monitor the implementation of the Action Plan and translate these actions into a legislative proposal in the coming months. It will report on progress in spring 2013 in the framework of the new EU 2020 governance. If the review shows that the overall EU target is unlikely to be achieved, the Commission will propose legally binding targets for 2020. For now, the priority is for binding measures to help Member States, companies and citizens alike to achieve their savings objectives and to save on their energy bills.
Energy Efficiency Plan: http://ec.europa.eu/energy/efficiency/action_plan/action_plan_en.htm