In 2019 the EU overhauled its energy policy framework to help us move away from fossil fuels towards cleaner energy - and, more specifically, to deliver on the EU’s Paris Agreement commitments for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The agreement on this new energy rulebook – called the Clean energy for all Europeans package – marked a significant step towards implementing the energy union strategy, published in 2015.
Based on Commission proposals published in 2016, the package consists of 8 new laws. Following political agreement by the EU Council and the European Parliament (finalised in May 2019) and the entry into force of the different EU rules, EU countries have 1-2 years to convert the new directives into national law.
The new rules will bring considerable benefits for consumers, the environment, and for the economy. By coordinating these changes at EU level, the legislation also underlines EU leadership in tackling global warming and makes an important contribution to the EU’s long-term strategy of achieving carbon neutrality (net-zero emissions) by 2050.
Energy performance in buildings
Buildings are responsible for around 40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions in the EU, making them the single largest energy consumer in Europe.
By making buildings more energy efficient, the EU can more readily achieve its energy and climate goals. The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive ((EU 2018/844) outlines specific measures for the building sector to tackle challenges, updating and amending many previous rules (Directive 2010/31/EU).
To show global leadership on renewables, the EU has set an ambitious, binding target of 32% for renewable energy sources in the EU’s energy mix by 2030.
The revised Renewable Energy Directive (2018/2001/EU), which contains this commitment, entered into force in December 2018.
Putting energy efficiency first is a key objective in the package, as energy savings are the easiest way of reducing greenhouse emissions, while also saving consumers money. The EU has therefore set binding targets of increasing energy efficiency over current levels by at least 32.5% by 2030.
The Directive on Energy Efficiency ((EU) 2018/2002), in place since December 2018, sets out this target.
The package includes a robust governance system for the energy union, the EU's plan to fundamentally transform Europe's energy system.
Under this strategy, each EU country is required to establish integrated 10-year national energy and climate plans (NECPs) for 2021-30. The NECPs outline how EU countries will achieve their respective targets on all 5 dimensions of the energy union, including a longer-term view towards 2050.
The relevant act – the Regulation on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action (EU) 2018/1999 – has been in force since December 2018.
Electricity market design
A further part of the package seeks to establish a modern design for Europe's electricity market, adapted to new commercial realities – more flexible, more market-based and better placed to integrate a greater share of renewables.
The electricity market design elements has 4 strands - 2 new laws on electricity, 1 on risk preparedness and 1 outlining a stronger role for the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER).
In addition to the legal acts for Clean energy for all Europeans, the Commission has launched a number of non-legislative initiatives to support the clean energy transition and ensure it happens in a fair manner for all regions and sectors. These include
- the coal regions in transition initiative
- the clean energy for EU islands initiative
- measures to define and better monitor energy poverty in Europe
- Publication: Clean energy for all Europeans (May 2019)
- Factsheets (January 2019) in 7 languages:
- Energy performance of buildings
- Renewable energy
- Energy efficiency
- Electricity market design (electricity files, risk preparedness and ACER)
- Energy Performance of Buildings Directive 2018/844
- Renewable Energy Directive (EU) 2018/2001
- Energy Efficiency Directive (EU) 2018/2002
- Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action (EU) Regulation 2018/1999
- Risk-preparedness in the electricity sector - Regulation (EU) 2019/941
- European Union Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators - Regulation (EU) 2019/942
- Internal market for electricity – Regulation (EU) 2019/943
- Common rules for the internal market for electricity - Directive (EU) 2019/944
- Clean energy for all Europeans – Communication COM(2016) 860 final and Annex 1 & Annex 2 - translations
- Clean energy for all Europeans package completed (news item 22 May 2019)
- Video: Clean energy for all Europeans – consumers
- Video: Clean energy for all Europeans – energy efficiency
- Video: Clean energy for all Europeans – renewable energy
- Consumer-centred clean energy transition - Commission proposes new rules (news item: 30 November 2016)