An EU proposal to freeze a phase-out of energy-guzzling lamps for two years would hurt clean energy firms, dampen the EU’s environmental legislation and threaten future green laws, according to a Danish Energy Agency (DEA) paper, seen by EurActiv.

The document was sent to Brussels in response to the EU's proposal to postpone a 2016 ban on inefficient 'non-directional' halogen lamps in ‘Stage 6’ of the lighting Ecodesign requirements until 2018.

The official Danish paper says: “We cannot support the delay of stage 6 since it would: significantly reduce the effectiveness of the Ecodesign directive, negatively impact the businesses in Europe who have invested and integrated stage 6 into their business strategy [and] lead to uncertainty about other existing and future regulations."

It would also “establish a precedent of rolling back regulation” in response to business lobbying, the Danish experts contended.

Last November, the Commission said that LED technology was not yet mature enough to replace non-directional halogen lamps such as chandeliers, floor lamps, and A&E replacement lamps. But according to the Danish agency’s study, compatible LED replacements are ready for nearly all halogen and comparable applications.

Dimmability is already available for 76% of LED replacement lamps and, by 2016, another 19% of lighting stock with higher luminous flux and size restrictions would also be covered. The remaining 5% of lighting stock was not investigated by the DEA. 

The added energy savings from keeping to the 2016 deadline would amount to 97.2 terrawatt (TWh) hours for the period to 2025, according to figures from the Collaborative Labeling and Appliance Standards program (CLASP).   

This is roughly twice the 43.2 TWh posited by the Commission’s staff working document under the two-year delay, and roughly equivalent to 34 million tonnes of CO2 with a cost of €22.9 billion, according to CLASP.

The issue may arise at a consultation meeting today (12 March) which will consider a draft communication on Europe's lighting strategy, seen by EurActiv. This pledges the EU to "continue to support the market transition towards more efficient lighting solutions” such as LEDs, even as it backtracks from its timetable for implementing a switchover.

“Following the Danish study, the Commission’s case for delay is growing very dim,” Stamatis Sivitos of Coolproducts told EurActiv. “The market is by and large ready, so why delay? Caving in on targets agreed years ago is weak, will derail planned energy savings over the next few years, and will send a poor signal to progressive manufacturers wanting to move on. Our hope is that any updated proposal is a cut above what we’ve seen so far.”