The European Commission has published a public consultation in view of the Energy Efficiency Directive review, expected in the second half of 2016. The review will target only some parts of the directive, so the consultation only covers certain articles.
The Energy Efficiency Directive has strengthened certain policy measures that are already in place in the European Member States. The Directive has also raised awareness about the need to renovate buildings.This is important because the biggest cost-effective energy savings potential lies in the existing building stock, which can reduce its energy consumption by 61% in 2030.
However, the Directive has not yet shown to be successful in increasing renovation rates – notably public buildings are currently failing in leading the way. This might be explained by the fact that the directive is still recent and more hindsight is necessary to permit a fair assessment.
The action of the European Union is anyway fundamental to reassure businesses and stimulate investors. The EU should set up ambitious, but still realistic renovation targets to accelerate the current renovation rate.
The experience demonstrates that white certificate mechanisms (already in place in several EU Member States before this directive) are efficient. They contribute to upskilling workers involved in energy efficiency. They can also be a source of private funding for the renovation of residential and commercial buildings.
However, the evolution of the white certificates market and the decreasing price of these certificates are making them less interesting for the obligated parties.
In our opinion, these mechanisms should be further promoted, as they demonstrated to work.
The most important element is a stable long-term financial framework. There are also certain financial mechanisms that have proven to work. For example fiscal measures – such as reduced VAT rate, tax credit and zero-rate/ low interest loans – can have a big role to play.