The new Energy Efficiency Directive enters into force on 4 December. One of the main features of the new directive is an obligation for energy suppliers to deliver energy savings among end-users of 1.5 per cent a year. To go along with this several member states required that savings made before 2014 could be counted as so-called early action. This loophole could then be used to cover 25 per cent of the required savings. Not all member states were aware of an extra condition that in order to use this mechanism they are required to already have energy efficiency obligation schemes in place. Germany, Austria, Finland, and the Netherlands are among the countries that had planned to use the mechanism, but recently realised that they do not qualify.
Among the countries with the needed legislation in place are UK, France, Italy, Denmark and Poland. But it is possible that they will also be prevented from using the mechanism. Since the deal was a so-called gentlemen’s agreement, it has no legal basis in the actual directive. The Commission have said that their intention is to respect the gentlemen’s agreement, but they may have to shift this position. Client Earth, an environmental law organisation, has already told the Commission that the early action is illegal.
Source: The ups and downs of EU energy efficiency policy - blog, 2 November 2012