EU consultation on review of energy efficiency directive


VDMA has addressed the key concerns of the mechanical and plant engineering sector in the EU Commission’s consultation on the review of the existing Energy Efficiency Directive.

The Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) is part of the EU’s overall decarbonisation policy framework and is interlinked with other energy and climate policy areas, notably, the Renewable Energy Directive (RED), the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) Directive and the Effort Sharing Regulation (non-ETS sectors), as well as with the security of energy supply and internal energy market. 

The EU has set a higher net emissions reduction target of at least 55% by 2030. The EU Commission has assessed that in order to achieve this level of greenhouse gas emission reductions, there is a need to significantly step up energy efficiency efforts (to 36-37% for final and 39-41% for primary energy consumption) by 2030 from the current headline target of at least 32.5%. The assessment of Member States’ national energy and climate plans shows that member states are not on track to reach this higher level of energy efficiency by 2030.  

Due to its integration in all sectors, the mechanical and plant engineering industry plays a key role in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. Simply raising targets will not accelerate change. Rapid action is required. The path to climate neutrality in 2050 is ambitious and must be pursued in a straightforward way.The decarbonisation framework at EU level should therefore be built on both system efficiency and decarbonisation objectives so as to create more opportunities for the value chain and fulfil global commitment on CO2 reduction.  

CO2 pricing should introduce market incentives for energy efficiency 

Energy efficiency is an essential prerequisite for the successful transformation of energy systems and the achievement of climate targets - both nationally and internationally. There is considerable potential for energy savings both in electricity and heat generation and in the consumption sectors of industry, transport and buildings. Investments in efficiency technologies are essential. Which technologies will ultimately prevail, must be left to the forces of the market. However, the market must be designed in such a way that the price reflects system effects, such as externalities coming from additional CO2-emissions.  

Efficiency of system not just energy efficiency key to reaching 2030 target

Energy efficiency is one criterion, but not the only one for assessing the suitability of technologies. In a resilient and secure energy system other criteria also play a role including system costs, social acceptance and security of supply. The review of the Energy Efficiency Directive should help to better coordinate the energy efficiency approach at EU level.  Maintaining consistency across the overall system efficiency framework is key.   

A new energy system based on renewable energy must ensure security of supply and internationally competitive prices. Existing infrastructure and its benefits also need to be taken into account. The EED should therefore reflect “System efficiency” rather than “energy efficiency”. 

The mechanical and plant engineering industry is committed to reaching the ultimate goal of climate neutrality and is an indispensable partner in this transition. Its technologies influence the greenhouse gas emissions of virtually all industries - from the energy sector to agriculture. Machine manufacturers have the ability to develop and offer even more green technologies. The most important thing here is a global market perspective to generate the greatest possible benefit. VDMA members have been very active in recent years and will continue to focus on developing and providing more efficient and cutting-edge technologies. 

For the upcoming process, the EU Commission will make a legislative proposal to revise the energy efficiency directive in Q2 2021. VDMA will continue to contribute its expertise to the political process.