Policy & Legislation
Action Plan for Energy Efficiency: Realising the Potential - COM(2006)545 final
This Action Plan outlines a framework of policies and measures aiming to intensify the process of realising the over 20% estimated savings potential in EU annual primary energy consumption by 2020. The Plan lists a range of cost-effective measures, proposing priority actions to be initiated immediately, and others to be initiated gradually over the Plan's six-year period. Further action will subsequently be required to reach the full potential by 2020.
Action Plan for Energy Efficiency: Realising the Potential
The European Union is facing unprecedented energy challenges resulting from increased import dependency, concerns over supplies of fossil fuels worldwide and a clearly discernable climate change. In spite of this, Europe continues to waste at least 20% of its energy due to inefficiency. The EU can and must lead the way in reducing energy inefficiency, using all available policy tools at all different levels of government and society.
The direct cost of our inability to use energy efficiently amounts to more than 100 billion euros annually by 2020. Realising our savings potential in a sustainable manner is a key element in Community energy policy. It is by far the most effective way concurrently to improve security of energy supply, reduce carbon emissions, foster competitiveness and stimulate the development of a large leading-edge market for energy-efficient technologies and products. This remains equally true when the investment costs required to achieve this savings potential are taken into account.
Realising this potential will require a significant shift in our approach to energy consumption. Europe will need to more than double the rate of improvement in energy efficiency compared to recent years. A paradigm shift is required to change the behavioural patterns of our societies, so that we use less energy while enjoying the same quality of life. Producers will have to be encouraged to develop more energy-efficient technologies and products, and consumers will need stronger incentives to buy such products and use them rationally. Using best available technology will be of key importance. While the objective of this Action Plan can be achieved using existing technology, it is however evident that the uptake of innovative technologies emerging during the lifetime of the Action Plan should equally be encouraged.
Realising the 20% potential 2020, equivalent to some 390 Mtoe, will result in large energy and environmental benefits. CO2 emissions should be reduced by 780 Mt CO2 with respect to the baseline scenario, more than twice the EU reductions needed under the Kyoto Protocol by 2012. Additional investment expenditure in more efficient and innovative technologies will be more than compensated by the more than € 100 billions annual fuel savings.
The present document sets forth such an Action Plan with a view to realising our potential and maintaining Europe’s position as one of the most energy-efficient regions in the world. The policies and measures in the Plan are based on consultations on the Green Paper on Energy Efficiency. Most of these have been specifically supported by stakeholders participating in the consultation process. The main points raised in the analysis and the responses to the questions of the Green Paper on Energy Efficiency referred to the need to improve the availability and quality of information on energy consumption and on available energy- efficient technologies and techniques. Energy efficiency in the building sector was identified as a top priority. Improving energy efficiency in the transport sector was considered of special importance, since this sector consumes the bulk of oil products and has the fastest growing emission profile. In industry, a significant potential to reduce energy demand and CO2 emissions was highlighted. Responses called as well for the use of a wide range of policy instruments at national, regional and local levels (i.a. wider use of targeted and coherent tax measures, internalising external costs, full support of Member States through National Energy Efficiency Action Plans, non-binding guidelines, labels and targets, and public-sector leadership in procurement). Binding minimum efficiency requirements for automobiles were also called for.
In addition, the European Parliament’s Opinion on the Green Paper sets forth over 100 recommendations. These, too, are very much in line with proposals in the Action Plan. Contributions and support for EU's energy saving potentials of 20% by 2020 were received from a High Level Group on competitiveness, energy and the environment set up by the Commission and bringing together relevant stakeholders.
This Action Plan outlines a framework of policies and measures with a view to intensify the process of realising the over 20% estimated savings potential in EU annual primary energy consumption by 2020. The Plan lists a range of cost-effective measures, proposing priority actions to be initiated immediately, and others to be initiated gradually over the Plan's six-year period. Further action will subsequently be required to reach the full potential by 2020.
The Action Plan is intended to mobilise the general public and policy-makers at all levels of government, together with market actors, and to transform the internal energy market in a way that provides EU citizens with the globally most energy-efficient infrastructure, buildings, appliances, processes, transport means and energy systems. Given the importance of the human factor in reducing energy consumption, this action plan also encourages citizens to use energy in the most rational manner possible. Energy efficiency is about informed choice by individuals, not just about legislation.
Also see: Evaluation and Revision of the Action Plan for Energy Efficiency - Report on the Public Consultation June–August 2009
Related Information on the Regions 202020 Website:
- Sustainable Energy Theme(s): Education and Training : Energy Efficiency in Industry : Energy Efficient Products : Energy monitoring : Energy services (ESCOs, Building Performance Contracts, etc) : Renewable energy sources (RES) : Sustainable / Energy Efficient Buildings : Sustainable transport and mobility management
- Country(ies): Austria : Belgium : Bulgaria : Cyprus : Czech Republic : Germany : Denmark : Estonia : Spain : Finland : France : Greece : Croatia : Hungary : Ireland : Italy : Lithuania : Luxembourg : Latvia : Malta : Netherlands : Poland : Portugal : Romania : Sweden : Slovenia : Slovakia : United Kingdom
Last updated: 05/03/2012 1:46pm - Contact: Katy HALL - Email