Skip to content

Select your location.

It looks like your location does not match the site. We think you may prefer a ClientEarth site which has content specific to your location. Select the site you'd like to visit below.

English (USA)

Location successfully changed to English (Global)

Follow us

Support us Opens in a new window Donate
Return to mob menu

Search the site

ClientEarth Communications

29th November 2016

Climate accountability
Clean energy

How can efficiency be put at the heart of the EU’s new energy laws?

The European Commission will propose eight new energy laws for the EU tomorrow.

Efficiency should be at the heart of these laws because it saves energy, which in turn saves money. It also helps protect the environment by cutting emissions and reducing dependency on fossil fuels.

This is  the Efficiency First (E1st) principle, which calls for efficiency to be central to all EU energy decision-making.

Applying the energy efficiency principle to all policy decisions can build competitiveness, create jobs, and bring down the costs of the transition to a low-carbon energy system.

The European Commission must fully incorporate Efficiency First into energy policy and law.

To do so, the Commission must plan, finance and deliver energy efficiency by following these key actions:


  1. Place Efficiency First as a foundational policy of the EU Energy Union
  2. Embed Efficiency First as a core principle in EU plans to meet the Paris objectives
  3. Revise the EU’s 2030 energy efficiency target from 27% to 40% to most cost-effectively meet the EU’s Energy Union and Paris commitments
  4. Incorporate Efficiency First into national energy and climate plans and annually assess progress.


  1. Adopt Efficiency First as a central guiding principle for allocating EU funds and for granting any state aid approval


  1. Extend the annual energy savings objective in the Energy Efficiency Directive beyond 2020.
  2. Recognise that achieving E1st depends on strong efficiency laws.
  3. Establish clearer monitoring guidelines to ensure accurate tracking of energy savings by EU countries. This will enable proper enforcement and review over time, ensuring that Member States have consistent reporting methods.
  4. Incorporate Efficiency First as a fundamental principle of energy-market design proposals. This should include clear roles for regulators to drive its implementation.
  5. Mobilise and support local actors to implement E1st, with roles and finance for cities.

ClientEarth will work to ensure this happens as the Commission’s Winter Package undergoes thorough scrutiny.