The Minister for Energy, Pat Rabbitte, welcomed today's agreement of a new EU Directive designed to boost energy efficiency throughout Europe.
Today's agreement will lead to greater investment by both public and private sectors so as to make both homes and public buildings warmer and more efficient.
Speaking at a meeting of EU Energy Ministers in Luxembourg, Minister Rabbitte said "In Ireland we will be obliged to upgrade 3% of our public buildings (schools, hospitals, courts etc) every year. The knock on impacts of improving the energy efficiency of all areas of our economy are reduced energy prices, increased competitiveness at a global level, and perhaps most importantly, the provision of more secure, sustainable jobs nationally.
The agreement of an Energy Efficiency Directive will put in place a stable regulatory framework that will encourage industry to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency. With a particular emphasis on improving the energy performance of the building stock the new measures should stimulate growth in the skilled trades and construction sectors.
The new directive will also impose an obligation on energy companies to help their customers save energy through e.g. building insulation and using energy efficient appliances. Following today’s Energy Council Minister Rabbitte said, “These are ambitious targets to meet, but Ireland has been very much to the forefront in driving energy efficiency policy in Europe. The role of energy suppliers will be crucial to delivering our ambitious national efficiency targets. We will now see more choice and competition for energy consumers and I am confident that our energy service companies will meet that challenge. We can all reap the benefits of sustainable employment, growth and future investment.”
Note for Editors:
There is an EU energy efficiency of 20% energy savings by 2020 although it is not binding unlike the equivalent targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions and renewable energy penetration. The Irish Government has already committed to reaching energy efficiency savings of 20% by 2020 under our National Energy Efficiency Action Plan, and energy suppliers will play a key role in meeting this goal.
The new legislative proposal addresses efficiency targets, efficiency in energy use (public bodies, obligation schemes, audits, billing) and measures to promote the energy services market. In particular the new measure places an obligation on energy distributors and retailers to achieve energy savings of 1.5% of energy sales to final consumers each year.
The main provisions of the directive include:
• Setting indicative national energy efficiency targets for 2020 (article 3);
• 3% renovation rate of buildings owned and occupied by central government (article 4);
• Purchase of high energy efficiency products, services and buildings by central governments (article 5);
• Energy efficiency obligation schemes – equivalent to 1.5% of energy sales to final customers each year (article 6);
• Energy audits and energy management systems (article 7);
• Metering and informative billing for consumers (article 8);
• Qualification, accreditation and certification schemes for energy service providers (article 13)
• Promotion of energy services market and access for SMEs (article 14);