EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said that the directive's main point is that member states will have to take measures and that those will be reviewed regularly. "We have indicative targets but mandatory measures," Piebalgs underlined. He said that the focus should now lie on implementation measures at member state level and insisted on the Commission's responsibility in reviewing them.
"It will be up to each member state to decide which sectors should be addressed and how much each sector should contribute in reaching the national target, although all eligible customers should be offered some form of energy service, energy efficiency programme or measures," the Commission said in a statement.
EuroAce, the association representing the energy efficiency industry, welcomed the deal as "excellent news". "Of course we regret that the final text contains no absolutely binding national efficiency targets. But we believe that purposeful implementation of its main requirements can still deliver substantial benefits". These, says EuroAce, include stricter requirements on energy performance on public procurement as well as a new role for electricity and gas companies.
Eurelectric, the union of the European electricity industry, fears that the directive will place disproportionate burdens on the electricity industry, thereby giving an advantage to competitors in other energy sectors such as gas. Eurelectric argues that "the responsibility for delivering energy efficiency measures should not fall exclusively on energy supply companies", but that other sectors, such as transport, should be equally affected. Instead of forcing electricity companies to sell energy services "that customers might not wish to buy", Eurelectric says the directive should instead create conditions to stimulate an energy-savings culture and foster a market-based approach to encourage development and implementation of energy efficiency measures.
COGEN Europe - the European association for combined heat and power (CHP) generation - supported the Commission's approach as it said that it would shift companies' attention away from selling kilowatt hours to selling the benefits derived from kilowatt hours, such as light, hot water and comfort. This, according to COGEN, should create the conditions for the creation of a genuine energy services market and the creation of new energy services companies.
Euroheat & Power, the European association for CHP and district heating, believes that for the directive to be effective, it will need to be complemented by tools to quantify and compare the energy savings potential of different options. According to the association, a comprehensive approach to end-user efficiency calls for a framework that defines final savings as those that are carried out along the whole energy supply chain. These should encompass all savings, from primary energy savings occurring during conversion processes (i.e. using high-efficient CHP and/or renewable energies) to the point of delivery of the final product to the customers.
CECED, the association representing European domestic equipment manufacturers, is supportive of binding energy savings targets and sees the proposed directive as a good opportunity for consumers to replace old energy-thirsty products with eco-friendly ones.
ELC, the European Lamp Companies Federation, argues that the public sector should lead the way in reducing energy consumption by switching to energy efficient lighting technology. It says that the savings potential in street lighting is so big that the issue deserves to be raised as a matter of public interest and integrated into public procurements and purchases at national, regional and local levels.
The WWF criticised the compromise for being too weak on energy efficiency targets. The 1% non-binding yearly target was described by WWF as "an ignominious result, considering that the EU has the potential to save at least 2.5% a year". ""EU member states recognise that energy efficiency provides a win-win solution for the environment and the economy. But the EU has once again refused to undertake serious commitments to achieve this goal," the WWF said.