On 10 November, the EU commissioner for Energy presented the Energy Strategy for Europe 2020. This document sets the framework for EU energy policy for the coming years and will provide the direction for the energy efficiency action plan (EEAP) due in spring 2011.
The commission identifies five priorities, the first of which is energy efficiency. A new energy-efficiency strategy that decouples growth from energy use will focus in particular on the two sectors with the greatest potential for savings: transport and buildings.
The commission proposes several actions of relevance to the retail property sector, including strong compliance monitoring; measures to accelerate the energy efficiency renovation rate; investment incentives; measures to address the division of incentives between owners and tenants, and energy labelling of buildings and energy certificates to be used in the real estate sector.
The action plan urges the construction sector to pursue active policies towards saving energy, with public authorities expected to lead by example. Furthermore, the national efficiency action plans will be enhanced to provide "comprehensive" benchmarking on energy efficiency, including indicators to monitor progress. In line with this, the commission services have also informed ICSC that if these indicators demonstrate that there is a slow uptake of energy efficiency, in two to three years, the commission might propose more binding measures.
As regards energy supply, the commission will seek to promote energy efficiency by encouraging distribution and supply companies to promote energy savings among their customers. Moreover, it will make energy efficiency a criteria for the authorisation of generation, hoping to thus promote the uptake of high efficiency co-generation technologies as well as district heating and cooling.
The forthcoming EEAP is expected by February 2011. Based on these priorities and the actions presented, the commission will come forward with concrete legislation and initiatives within the next 18 months. Heads of states and governments will debate the issue at the very first EU Summit on Energy on 4 February 2011.
ICSC will continue our dialogue with the key EU officials on the development of the EEAP to advocate for a fair split of incentives and responsibilities between owners and tenants, as well as to support BREEAM certification schemes.
The strategy is available at http://ec.europa.eu/energy/strategies/2010/2020_en.htm.
Sources: Europolitics, European Commission