According to experts working in the field, the EU’s upcoming energy efficiency directive could send strong enough signals to trigger a boom in the market for energy efficiency services for commercial buildings.
In its current form, the draft directive requires central governments to achieve a 3% renovation rate for the buildings they occupy, on a yearly basis, and it imposes an obligation on power utilities to achieve 1.5% annual energy savings among their final customers – including large commercial and public building owners.
As a result, power companies are expected to change their business model by seeking profitability in selling energy services rather than supplying energy only.
“Is somewhere between what the Parliament is proposing and what member states are recommending”, said Brook Riley of green group Friends of the Earth Europe(FOE).
For Riley , only legally-binding measures will create room for the market to find the appropriate investors. “State guarantees is what investors need,” he added, giving as an example the growing appetite for energy efficiency investments in the Unites States, where there are state-level laws to foster them.
In Europe, one example is Denmark, where the public sector played a role in guaranteeing a return on investment. This resulted in a boom for the energy efficiency services market: coupled with national awareness-raising campaigns and change in consumers’ behaviour, this all reflected in better insulation and automation of buildings and in the end, lower energy bills.
However, some EU governments are sceptical when it comes to funding energy-efficiency schemes, which come at a high costs for national public finances at a time when all governments are trying to cut spending.
Last month, during the Third Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM3) in London, leaders from the governments of the 23 participant countries, announced a variety of new commitments and initiatives to improve energy efficiency, increase the share of renewable energy, and enable energy access worldwide.