EU's 2030 policy framework

November 30, 2016, the European Commission presented a package of policy initiatives that impact energy efficiency policies to 2030.  The Commission proposes a binding EU-wide target of 30% for energy efficiency by 2030, emphasising the EU's commitment to put energy efficiency first.

The Commission is launching new and innovative energy efficiency measures. These measures focus on:

  1. Setting the framework for improving energy efficiency in general;
  2. Improving energy efficiency in buildings;
  3. Improving the energy performance of products (Ecodesign) and informing consumers (energy labelling);
  4. Financing for energy efficiency with the smart finance for smart buildings proposal.

The Commission proposes to update the 2012 Energy Efficiency Directive by:

  • aligning energy efficiency targets with the EU 2030 climate and energy framework;
  • extending beyond 2020 the energy saving obligation requiring energy suppliers and distributors to save 1.5% of energy each year from 2021 to 2030 with a view to attracting private investment and supporting the emergence of new market actors; to enable tailor-made policies that take account of national specificities, Member States can also meet this requirement through alternative measures having the same effect, such as energy efficiency support schemes;
  • improving metering and billing of energy consumption for heating and cooling consumers.

The Commission also proposes changes to the 2010 Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, which is set to be:

  • Smart, by encouraging the use of ICT and modern technologies, including building automation and charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, to ensure buildings operate efficiently;
  • Simple, by streamlining or deleting provisions that have not delivered the expected output;
  • Supportive of building renovation, by strengthening the links between achieving higher renovation rates, funding and energy performance certificates as well as by reinforcing provisions on national long-term building renovation strategies, with a view to decarbonising the building stock by mid-century.

In addition, the Commission is launching a smart finance for smart buildings initiative to unlock private financing for energy efficiency and renewables in buildings at a greater scale.

The approval process will now start in the European Parliament and the European Council to agree on changes to the directives and policy objectives.


EU countries agreed on a new 2030 Framework for climate and energy, including EU-wide targets and policy objectives for the period between 2020 and 2030.  The target relating to energy efficiency is at least 27% energy savings compared with the business-as-usual scenario.

The framework includes three targets for 2030:

  • at least 27% energy savings
  • a 40% cut in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 levels
  • at least a 27% share of renewable energy consumption

eceee analysis (Dec 14): More ambitious energy efficiency targets good for climate, jobs, energy security and the economy. Download (pdf).

    The European Commission’s proposal for a policy framework for climate and energy in the period from 2020 to 2030 was presented 22 January 2014. The EC only proposed an overall target for green-house gases and an EU-wide renewables target, but stopped short of proposing a target for energy efficiency. The Commission further came out with a Communication [COM(2014) 520 final] together with an impact assessment in July 2014 to assess whether the 2020 target would be met and to discuss how energy efficiency could help address energy security. Nevertheless, on October 24th, the European Council agreed to a non-binding target for an energy efficiency increase of at least 27%, to be reviewed by 2020. This followed an impact assessment that looked into a number of different savings targets as well as GHG targets.

    In December 2014, the eceee published an analysis showing the benefits of a more ambitious target.

    See also:

    • The EU green paper on 2030 energy policy.
    • EU scales down 2030 climate and energy goals (news)
    • EU sets out ‘walk now, sprint later’ 2030 clean energy vision (news)
    • Plans to reach annual 1.5% energy savings fall short of credibility (eceee press)
    • Buildings efficiency ‘absolutely central’ to 2030 climate package (news)
    • European parliament votes for stronger climate targets (news)
    • Brussels puts 30% energy savings target on the table for 2030 (news)

        A discussion paper on sustainable energy demand targets

        In order to provide input to the 2030 policy framework and the discussion about energy demand targets, eceee published a discussion paper entitled A binding target for sustainable energy demand: Why and how? (published 16 May 2014). The paper takes a thorough look into the following issues:

        • what targets are, and their main pros & cons.
        • why a binding target for sustainable energy demand is needed.
        • the various options to set and monitor this target.

          The eceee discussion paper uses the term “target for sustainable energy demand”, which is meant to encompass the different possibilities of targets expressed in terms of energy efficiency improvements, energy savings or maximum level of energy consumption. The term “sustainable” is used to highlight that the EU roadmap towards 2050 means that the objectives of drastically reducing the GHG emissions cannot be achieved in a sustainable way without reducing the energy demand. The 2050 roadmap mentions a level of consumption 30% lower than 2005.

          The conclusions from the 5th Assessment of the IPCC have confirmed that energy efficiency should be the core of any climate & energy strategy

          The paper argues that a framework based on a single target for GHG emissions only would be misleading. Having a single GHG target will not in itself solve the lack of integration between policies for energy efficiency, RES and GHG emissions, the paper argues.  The impact assessment’s results show that the issue is not to oppose the types of targets, but to choose an appropriate level of ambition (but further analysis shows that a single GHG target would lead to extra costs overall for 2020-2050).

          The paper also sets out to answer the question whether a target for sustainable energy demand would reduce the flexibility for Member States, and concludes that:

          • a lower energy demand means a lower pressure on the energy system, hence higher flexibility
          • energy efficiency improvements can be achieved in all sectors (various strategies possible)

          The question of whether a single GHG target would be a sufficient signal to stimulate the most cost-effective energy efficiency investments is also discussed. Here, the paper concludes that:

          • a single GHG target would tend to favour fuel switching, meaning increased energy imports and dependency
          • the high uncertainties about the carbon price would not create the conditions for a clear level playing field or stable investment environment
          • with a single GHG target, options on the supply-side would be  preferred to options on the demand-side, because they are easier to implement, despite being more costly overall and less beneficial to the whole society

          A draft version of the paper was presented at an eceee policy workshop with various stakeholders in early April 2014. See the presentation from the workshop.

          Public consultation on the 2020 progress and a 2030 energy efficiency policy framework

          eceee provided views on the public consultation that closed 28 April 2014. See eceee views page.

          eceee response to the 2030 Green Paper stakeholder consultation

          eceee provided a response to the stakeholder consultation on the Green Paper on 2030 Climate and Energy Policy in July 2013. Among other things, eceee commented that a greenhouse gas target alone is not enough to achieve the goals. Read about eceee's response in the eceee views section.

          eceee resources

            New infographic on discount rates (18 April 2018)

            Columnist Hans Nilsson: Hello Edison – the European Energy Union may save your original business model!

              ”More ambitious energy efficiency targets good for climate, jobs, energy security and the economy”. (Dec 14)  See press release. Download report.

                  New eceee analysis: More ambitious energy efficiency targets good for climate, jobs, energy security and the economy.
                  See press release I Download report

                  Columnist Peter Bach: Why not share more of the big European opportunity?

                  eceee discussion paper. A binding target for sustainable energy demand: Why and how? 
                  Download (pdf).

                  EU Resources

                    DG Energy page on the Energy Union

                    Press release 25 February 2015

                    EU documents