EU green packages

In January 2007 the European Commission put forward an integrated energy and climate change proposal that addressed the issues of energy supply, climate change and industrial development.

The well-known plan (2020 Green Package) called for the following targets by 2020: 

  • A 20% energy demand reduction; 
  • A 20% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; 
  • A 20% share of renewables in overall EU energy consumption; 
  • A 10% renewable energy component in transport fuel. 

The legally 20-20-20 targets outlined above will represent the energy policy back drop for the next decade and beyond for all Member States. There is currently a debate on-going as to whether as a result of the global recession and the fall in energy demand within Europe’s economies, whether the GHG emission target should be increased to 30%. 

Energy Efficiency Action Plan

""The Commission has adopted an Action Plan aimed at achieving a 20% reduction in energy consumption by 2020. The Action Plan includes measures to improve the energy performance of products, buildings and services, to improve the yield of energy production and distribution, to reduce the impact of transport on energy consumption, to facilitate financing and investments in the sector, to encourage and consolidate rational energy consumption behaviour and to step up international action on energy efficiency. 

Renewable Energy Directive 

The Renewable Energy Directive sets ambitious targets for all Member States, in order for the EU as whole to achieve a 20% share of energy from renewable sources by 2020. There is also an additional requirement for a 10% share of renewable energy specifically in the transport sector. The directive also seeks to improve the legal framework for promoting renewable electricity. There is also a requirement for Member State Governments to develop national action plans that establish pathways for the development of renewable energy sources including bioenergy. In addition to this it also creates cooperation mechanisms which are designed to help achieve the targets cost effectively and establishes the sustainability criteria for biofuels. The new Directive should be implemented by Member States by December 2010. 

Revisions to existing Directives

Buildings' energy performance

On 17 November 2009, EU lawmakers reached a long-awaited compromise on the recast, agreeing that all new buildings would have to comply with tough energy-performance standards and supply a significant share of their energy requirements from renewables source after 2020. The public sector must lead the way by owning and renting buildings with such "nearly zero" energy standards by the end of 2018. Nevertheless, the concept of "nearly zero" was left vague, allowing member states to define their own standards.

Energy Labelling Directive

The recast Energy Labelling Directive 2010/30/EU was adopted by the European Parliament and Council on the 19th May 2010. The revisions include a new efficiency classes A+, A++ and A+++ on top of the existing A grade for the most energy-efficient household products. The new directive extends the energy label to energy-related products in the commercial and industrial sectors, e.g. cold storage rooms and vending machines. A Commission working group will also be established in order to determine the energy classes and the specific products that will be labelled

Eco-design Directive

This Directive aims at protecting the environment by reducing the environmental impact of energy-using products. It establishes ecodesign requirements for energy-related products in the European Union. This Directive shall not apply to means of transport for persons or goods. Ecodesign parameters relate to different phases in the product life cycle.