Assessing the European Union’s energy efficiency policy: Will the winter package deliver on ‘Efficiency First’?

The European Commission’s so-called ‘Winter Package of energy legislation will provide the framework
for energy policy in the European Union for many years to come. It contains proposals for a whole range of
energy-related issues including energy markets, energy infrastructure, renewable energy, climate policy
and also energy demand. In this paper, we carry out a preliminary review of the proposals and what they
mean for energy efficiency. The European Union has adopted the principle of “Efficiency First” through the
launch of the Energy Union Communication in February 2015. We assess the extent to which the Winter
Package keeps the promise of putting energy efficiency first. More specifically, we analyse the revised
Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive (EPBD) the Directive
on common rules for the Internal Energy Market for electricity (IEM), the Regulation on the electricity
market, and the Regulation on Governance of the Energy Union. We conclude that, while there are many
improvements across the different pieces of legislation, the Winter Package falls short of comprehensively
reflecting the Efficiency First principle. The paper provides a number of concrete policy recommendations
in order to incorporate the Efficiency First principle more fully into the proposed set of European energy


Bayer, Edith; Cowart, Richard; Fabbrid, Mariangiola; Rosenow, Jan

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  Efficiency First     Energy efficiency policy     EU     Winter package