Energy efficiency is increasingly central in the European policy agenda, and the EU is drawing up a new specific directive that could produce significant economic and environmental effects. The new directive was approved at the end of February by the Committee for Industry, research and energy of the European Parliament. Now, in order to be enforced it will have to be approved by the plenary session of Parliament and by the EU Council of Ministers.
The new directive calls for binding targets for State Members and regards several fields, including tariffs (based on actual consumption), financial incentives, efficiency improvements in many sectors and especially for buildings.
Regarding emissions, the European Commission will have to evaluate the impact of the new directive and eventually take adequate measures that will avoid carbon price drops within the ETS system, Europe’s emissions trade market.
Under the proposal electricity companies are committed to help customers save energy, and a 1.5% sales share is set as the minimum threshold for yearly energy saving.
The proposed measures have been viewed favourably by the industrial sector, even if some noteworthy remarks have been made. Specifically, according to Eurelectric, the association that reunites European electricity companies and is chaired by Enel CEO Fulvio Conti, the crucial issue regarding the conversion coefficient of electricity savings into primary energy savings must be discussed. Indeed, the proposal reduces the efficiency of electric appliances compared with that of other devices, especially for heating. This approach could favour the direct use of fossil fuels while also penalizing sectors that are particularly promising for environmental protection like electricity and new technologies.