The review of the European Directive on energy efficiency (EED) officially entered into force in December 2018 after a legislative procedure of about two years. In this article we highlight the main changes.

Download the revised Energy Efficiency Directive (EED)

The EPBD Directive lies at the basis of the national energy efficiency actions plans (NEEAP) and partly the national energy- and climate plans (NECP). With the revision of the Directive the obligation for member states to develop a long-term renovation strategy has been moved to the Directive on the energy performance of buildings (EPBD). Possibilities for the introduction of energy saving measures to realise the national objectives have been expanded. The revised EED is the third approved legislative proposal from a package of measures, which was presented by the European Commission as the 'Clean Energy Package' at the end of 2016. This package serves to create a stable legislative framework for the realization of a clean energy transition. Other guidelines included in this package are the revisions of the Directives on Renewable Energy (RES) and Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD).

Please click here for more information on the revision of the EPBD.

What is the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED)?

The Directive aims to promote energy efficiency measures within the European Union, which should result in the realisation of the national share of the energy efficiency objectives of 20% in 2020 and 32,5% in 2030. The EED requires member states to set their national contribution to the European targets and specify which measures they are planning to take. They have to describe this in the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP), which has to be submitted to the European Commission every 3 years. The first NEEAP had to be submitted on the April 30, 2014. From the Regulation on the Governance of the Energy Union (2018/1999/EU), which entered into force on the December 24, 2018, member states also have to draft a National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) and a long-term strategy. The EED includes a number of requirements for the NECP. With the revised EED a number of measures from the NECP can now also be introduced as measures to realise the national energy efficiency objectives. The first draft of the NECP had to be submitted by members states before December 31, 2018. They will have to submit the final plan by the end of 2019 upon feedback of the European Commission.

The introduction of the EED in 2012 meant among others the merger and replacement of two Directives, which had largely described the energy efficiency requirements till then; the Regulation on the promotion of co-generation (2004/8/EG) and the Regulation on energy efficiency for end-use and energy services (2006/32/EG). The revision in 2018 focused more on updating the energy efficiency objectives and finetuning or clarifying a number of requirements to meet the objectives. The revision of 2018 is an amendment of the EED of 2012; both documents are thus currently in force.

Please find here the link to the Belgian NECP.

Please find the most recent NEEAP of Belgium (2017) and annual report (2018) here.


Figure 1: Schematic interpretation of the EED (2012) with a selection of the 2018 changes marked in red (Source: Agoria)

Why an evaluation?

The evaluation of the EED is meant to see to what extent the Directive is capable of realising the energy efficiency objectives of 2020 and 2030 and whether it needs to be adjusted. Just like the revision of the Directive on the energy performance of buildings (EPBD), the EED evaluation focused on the extent to which the Directive has been able to meet the objective of realising a sustainable, competitive, reliable and carbon-free energy system in the European Union by 2050. In the EED of 2012 a number of provisions were included for the evaluation of the effectiveness of specific articles. In the revised Directive the evaluation of the complete Directive is adopted as a recurring element (see art. 24, paragraph 15); by February 28 2024 the European Commission will have to deliver a report with a first evaluation to the European Council and the European Parliament. The evaluation will then be repeated every 5 years. The member states are asked to draw up a plan for taking and monitoring energy efficiency measures based on their cost-efficiency. The Directive provides the Commission with a number of evaluation tasks to ensure that the measures taken will actually contribute to the realisation of the objective.

Implementation of the EED revision in Belgium

In Belgium the transposition of the EED is both a federal and regional responsibility depending on the topic. The National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP), National Energy and Climate Plans (NECP) and the long-term renovation strategy are therefore partly based on the regional plans; the 'Flemish Energy and Climate plan 2021-2030' in Flanders, the Plan Air, Climate and Energy (PACE) 2030 in Wallonia and the Energy-Climate plan 2030 in Brussels.

Daarnaast vallen een aantal bevoegdheden, zoals het belastingbeleid, het productbeleid en de energiebevoorradingszekerheid, onder de federale bevoegdheid. Er zijn een aantal coördinatiefora opgericht om de samenwerking tussen de drie Gewesten en de federale Regering te faciliteren: het coördinatieplatform voor energiebeleid ENOVER/CONCERE, het Coördinatiecomité Internationaal Milieubeleid en de Nationale Klimaatcommissie (NKC). De samenwerking heeft geresulteerd in de eerste draft van het Belgisch NECP, dat op 31 december 2018 door België bij de Europese Commissie werd ingediend.

In addition a number of responsibilities, such as tax policies, product policies and security in energy supply, fall under the federal jurisdiction. A number of coordination forums have been created to facilitate the cooperation between the three Regions and the Federal government; the coordination platform for energy policy ENOVER/CONCERE, the Coordination committee International Environmental policy and the National Climate Committee (NKC). The cooperation has resulted in the first draft of the Belgian NECP, which was submitted to the European Commission by Belgium on December 31 2018. The European Commission now has time till the end of June to provide their feedback on this draft. Belgium will then have to submit the final NECP for 2021-2030 by the end of 2019. CONCERE/ENOVER is also the platform to facilitate the coordination of the NEEAP. The long-term renovation strategies were submitted as an annex to the NEEAP of 2017.

Please click here for more information on the most important discussion points and the role of Agoria.

Member states have till June 25 2020 to make the adjustments required from the EED revision. Below a description of the adjustments for a selection of the articles (see also Figure 1):

1.Update of the energy efficiency objective (art. 3)

This article describes the energy efficiency objective for 2030 of 32,5% and the obligation of member states to specify their contribution to the common objective. The agreement on the European objective between the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Council was reached in June 2018. The objective will likely have to be adjusted upon an exit of the United Kingdom. Next to the requirement for setting national objectives, the Directive states that the European Commision must evaluate the extent to which the 2020 objectives (in 2022) have been met and the extent to which the 2030 objectives will potentially have to be adjusted (in 2023).

2. Move of 'long-term strategy for renovation' to the EPBD

The objective for member states to draft long-term strategies for the renovation of their building stock is removed from the Energy efficiency Directive (2012/27/EU) and added to the Directive on Energy performance of buildings (2010/31/EU). The reason is that the obligation is a better fit with the plans for nearly zero-energy buildings (NZEBs) and the decarbonisation of buildings. Measures from the strategies can still be claimed as energy saving measures under article 7, paragraph 1 of the EED contrary to the other measures that are considered mandatory 'European Union measures'. As an example; considering the measures from the EPBD this means that the energy savings realised by the EPB for new buildings and major energy renovations cannot be counted, but the savings realised through renovations can (see Annex V).

3. Introduction 'energy savings obligation' (art. 7)

Originally article 7 only referred to energy efficiency obligation schemes with measures directed at  energy distribution companies among others. With the revised Directive the article now consists of three parts; a new part on general requirements for energy savings (article 7), the original article on energy efficiency obligation schemes (now article 7a instead of article 7) and a new sub article on the options for including alternative policy measures (article 7b). The part with general requirements includes an indication of which type and amount of energy needs to be saved (energy sales to final customers of the annual final energy consumption) and which measures can be taken into account. Also the way in which the savings can be calculated is specified; this is either specified directly in the text or in the annexes. The new sub-article 7b asks among others independent control and verification of the measures proposed by member states under article 7 to ensure the measures are statistically significant and proportional.

4. Metering of gas and electricity (art. 9)

The original article states that member states must ensure that final customers of electricity, gas, district heating and cooling and domestic hot water are provided with competitively priced meters. These meters have to provide an accurate reflection of the actual energy consumption of the end user. Also the article includes a number of requirements for the roll-out of smart meters and the provision of individual meters in apartment and multifunctional buildings. In the revised article it is indicated that within the requirement for individual meters the technical and financial feasibility has to be taken into consideration. Three sub-articles have also been added; the first two sub articles refer to the meters for final customers and meters in apartment and multifunctional buildings. The third article specifies the requirements for readability at a distance.

5. Billing information (art. 10)

This article includes the provisions for access of information on energy consumption of an final customer via the energy bill. The original article states among others that the billing information needs to be accurate and needs to represent the actual use. Also final customers need to have easy access to their consumption history, such as their consumption data of the past three years. It should also be possible for final customers to receive this information electronically in an easily understandable and comparable manner. With the revision of 2018 a new sub article has been added to this article with requirements for providing information on billing and consumption of heating, cooling and domestic hot water.

6. Access to cost information (art. 11)

This article states that in principle no costs should be incurred to final customers for receiving information on their energy consumption and that this information needs to be accessible. Information on the distribution of for example heating or cooling in apartment buildings should be provided on a non-profit basis. In the revision of 2018 the requirements for electricity and gas and heating, cooling and domestic hot water have been split.

7. Transformation, transmission and distribution of energy (art. 15)

This article includes the energy efficiency measures that can be taken within the management of the gas and electricity infrastructure. Member states have the responsibility to ensure that national energy regulatory authorities identify and take measures. The revision of 2018 adds the requirement for the European Commission to develop a methodology to stimulate network operators to minimise their losses. This methodology has to be finalised by December 31 2020.

8. National fund for energy efficiency, financing and technical support (art. 20)

This article concerns the financing of energy efficiency measures through national funds; what is allowed and what is not. The European Commission needs to provide support to member states technically and financially and in the exchange of best practices. In the revision of 2018 a number of sub paragraphs have been added to this article concerning the mobilisation of financing for the long-term renovation strategy of member states.

9.Review and monitoring of implementation (art. 24)

This article lists the requirements for monitoring and reporting the progress on the set energy efficiency objectives. For example since 2013 member states have to report the annual realised progress and multiple statistics on electricity and heat production. Since 2014 an annual National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP) has to be submitted as well, which is evaluated by the European Commission. In addition the European Commission has to evaluate a number of articles. With the revision of 2018 a number of paragraphs have been added on the execution of a number of additional evaluations, such as for energy storage. It also states that the European Commission has to conduct an evaluation of the effectiveness of the Directive by February 28 2024 at the latest and every subsequent 5 years.

Next steps

During the next months, member states will have to work on the transposition of the revised Directive to relevant legislation; the deadline for the transposition is June 25 2020. The Directive also provides the European Commission with a number of tasks, such as:

  • Determine whether the 2020 energy efficiency objective have been realised by October 31 2022
  • Conduct an evaluation on the effectiveness of the EED by February 28 2024 and every subsequent 5 years
  • Make recommendations to members states on their draft NECP if needed by June 2019. Member states will then have to submit their final NECP by December 31 2019.
  • Develop a methodology to stimulate network operators to minimise their losses by December 31 2020.

Relevant links: