In 2008, the European Union set itself a target of improving energy efficiency by 20% by 2020. Having achieved this target six years early the Europe Union has shown greater ambition in its 2030 framework, which has now been agreed between the Council of the EU and the European Parliament.

New target

The headline target for energy efficiency savings in the EU has now been set at 32.5% by 2030, but as with the renewable energy target, an upward revision clause has been included in case the political will exists to increase ambition in 2023. The goal is indicative however and not binding on member states. Many energy efficiency stakeholders had hoped for a higher energy efficiency target of 40% to unlock the maximum benefits for citizens, business and the environment.

Enforcement challenge

As the target is not legally binding, enforcement mechanisms will be key. With this in mind, the EU also agreed on a Governance Regulation to hold member states accountable for delivering the EU energy targets.

Intermediate milestones have been agreed upon for 2022, 2025 and 2027 to keep savings on track. If a member state is not keeping up, the Commission can ask for extra action to be taken at national level. These could include additional measures in the heating and cooling and transport sectors, or measures to improve the energy efficiency of products or buildings.

Good news for consumers

New rules aim to help EU citizens better understand and control their heating and cooling bills. Consumers – especially those in multi-apartment buildings with collective heating systems – will receive more information on their energy consumption, thanks to changes to individual metering and billing practices.

Market certainty

The agreement was reached after a long and fractious negotiation period. The announcement of the 32.5% target has finally given some certainty to markets and policy makers about the direction of travel regarding energy savings in the EU. According to The Coalition for Energy Saving, the new target will create over 800,000 additional jobs across the EU.

Read more about the EU’s work on energy efficiency here.