Energy Efficiency Plan 2011

eceee's views

  • eceee is concerned that the measures outlined in the EEP 2011 will fail to close the gap gap between projected savings and the 2020 savings target.
  • eceee welcomes the Plan’s proposals for energy supplier obligations and targets for renovation of 3 per cent of public buildings every year.
  • eceee is more cautious, however, on the Plan’s ideas for improving the energy efficiency of the generation of electricity and heat.  eceee is fully supportive of the greater use of cogeneration. While this is of fundamental importance, the great challenge is still on the end-use demand side.
  • eceee believes that a common methodology for understandable and measurable targets, must be developed over the next two years.
  • eceee hopes that the Energy Efficiency Plan will provide the guidance and leadership needed to effectively and efficiently meet the 2020 targets for energy efficiency.
  • Energy Efficiency First must the top priority.

eceee documents

  • “New concrete measures needed to meet the 2020 savings target” (Press release 8 March 2011)
  • “Energy efficiency first approach” is needed in the Energy Strategy for Europe 2011–2020 (eceee views 2 July 2010)
  • "Europe must provide leadership in energy efficiency" (eceee views 22 September 2010)
  • "Beyond energy efficiency" : eceee input paper for the new EU Energy Efficiency Action Plan, following a member consultation (eceee views 1 September 2009).

Associated links

Commission’s EEP 2011: DG ENER

Views of other organisations


Cogen Europe
Friends of the Earth Europe

Parliament groups


News articles

Experts question viability of 'timid' EU energy plan (EurActiv 9 Mar 11)
Too much or too little? (ENDS 9 Mar 11 @ eceee news)
EU energy efficiency plan targets public buildings (ENDS 9 Mar 11 @ eceee news)


On March 8, 2011 the Commission published its long awaited Energy Efficiency Plan [COM (2011) 109 final]. An action plan has been in the preparation stage since the autumn of 2009 when an earlier draft version was withdrawn following widespread criticism of lack of ambition. The action plan was then expected in late 2010 or early 2011. Now the Action Plan has transformed into a Plan. The 2011 Plan is intended to replace the Action Plan from 2006.

The Plan is designed to contribute towards the European Union meeting its indicative energy savings target of 20% by 2020. Commission estimates that the EU is on course to achieve only half of the objective. The Plan puts forward proposals to close that gap.

The Plan covers all sectors except transport, which will be dealt with in an upcoming White Paper (expected March 23, 2011). The Plan is not just for demand-side energy efficiency but also considers the generation of heat and electricity as well as electricity and gas networks.

Some highlights

Targets: It proposes a two step approach to target setting: first allow MS to set their own indicative targets via the Europe 2020 National Reform Programme process. The Commission will review progress in 2013 and propose binding targets for all MSs if it appears the 20% target will not be achieved.

Public Sector: The Plan proposes the Public Sector to set an example, since it owns or occupies 12% by area of the entire EU building stock. It wants the renovation rate to be doubled to at least 3 % per year and the refurbishment should bring buildings up to the level of the best 10% of the national building stock. The Commission is also proposing energy efficiency standards to be incorporated more fully into public procurement.

Buildings: The Commission calls for Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) to play a more important role in both the private and public sectors. There will be legislative proposals to increase their role. This is the second time the Commission has had legislation to promote energy performance contracting. The first time was in 1993. It is however unclear how the role of ESCOs, acting in competitive markets, can be strengthened with further legislation. The Plan also supports improving training for architects, engineers, auditors and others because energy efficient building solutions are often technically demanding.

Energy Supply Obligations: All MSs will be required to establish some form of energy savings obligations (also known as White Certificates in some MSs) on energy supply companies, appropriate for national circumstances.

Co-generation – Efficient generation of heat and electricity: The Commission will consider requiring new and existing installations meet best available technology (BAT); greater promotion of combined heat and power (CHP) including priority grid access; grid regulators should take into account energy efficiency, including prioritising energy efficiency in regulations, tariffs and codes.

Industry: The Plan stresses that obstacles to investment are most acute for small and medium sized enterprises and the Plan encourages MS to undertake specific initiatives. The Commission will propose that regular energy audits be made mandatory for large companies. Furthermore, it will investigate whether Ecodesign requirements would be suitable for standard industrial equipment.

The Plan also goes into financing issues, promoting smart meters and smart grids, expanding the National Energy Efficiency Action Plans to cover the entire energy chain and not just energy demand. Furthermore it states that the existing Energy Services and Combined Heat and Power Directoives will be revised.

Relation to EU legislation and policies

The EEP 2011 is not a legislative proposal in itself. It relates to a number of other EU Directives and Commission initiatives such as the Energy Services Directive (up for recast in 2011/12), the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) and the ecodesign and labelling Directives.

The same day as the EEP 2011 was published, the Commission also presented a roadmap to a low-carbon economy where a 25% carbon reduction was proposed for 2020. Together with the White Paper on Transport and the Energy Efficiency Plan, the roadmap is a key deliverable under the Resource Efficiency Flagship. The Roadmap presents possible action up to 2050, which could enable the EU to deliver greenhouse gas reductions in line with the agreed 80 to 95% target. (See Connie Hedegaard wins battle for 25% carbon emissions cut.)

What was said about the EEP 2001

eceee commented on the Energy Efficiency Plan. (See “New concrete measures needed to meet the 2020 savings target”.) Essentially, while eceee welcomes the publication of the Plan, eceee is concerned that the measures outlined in this Plan will fail to deliver the necessary savings. There are a number of areas such as improving implementation, and including capacity concerns at the Member State level that the Plan fails to address, eceee believes (see bullet list and link to full comment in the right-hand side box at the top of the page).

The links to press releases from a number of organisations have been published on this site as well.

energy efficiency policy

Increasingly ambitious EU policies

Europe has had increasingly more ambitious energy efficiency policies since the oil crises of the 1970s. Particularly since 2000, the pace of change has picked up significantly as the priority for energy efficiency gains ground.  The most significant indication of the policy direction in the EU has been through the energy efficiency (action) plans. An energy efficiency action plan came out April 26, 2000.  This was followed by another in 2006 and then most recently, an energy efficiency plan (EEP) in March 2011.

The Energy Efficiency Plan covered targets, public sector measures, buildings, energy supply obligations, cogeneration and industry. The Plan also went into financing issues, promoting smart meters and smart grids, expanding the National Energy Efficiency Action Plans to cover the entire energy chain and not just energy demand.