EU policies for energy efficiency, energy security and climate change mitigation

The European Commission regards energy efficiency as one of the key pillars to meet EU's climate objectives, to reduce dependence on fossil fuels from abroad and increase security of supply and the use of renewable energy. 

The “energy efficiency first principle” is an anchor of the EU energy policy with the aim of ensuring a secure, sustainable, competitive and affordable energy supply in the EU.

Since its launch of the Energy Union in 2015, the European Commission has published several packages of measures and regular progress reports, to ensure that the energy union strategy is achieved.  It is embedded in the Regulation on Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action and in the Energy Efficiency Directive

In 2022, as part of its REPowerEU plan, the Commission amended its own Energy Efficiency Directive proposal included in the Fit for 55 Package. In the agreed  revised  Energy Efficiency Directive, the target for 2030 was set to 11.7% reduction in energy use compared with the energy consumption forecasts for 2030 made in 2020.

Overall, EU  reduced its gas consumption by about 19% between August 2022 and January 2023. More efforts will be needed to prepare for the next winter, which is expected be even more difficult from an energy security point of view.