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How can industry assist in reaching the EU energy efficiency targets

By Nicolle Raven

New Ambitions, New Technologies

 Energy efficiency can make a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to improving the Union’s energy security which are both facets of an integrated framework for the EU’s climate and energy policy. Primary energy consumption has been ever increasing since the 90’s[1], while our energy system tends to become less secure and sustainable. That is, if we continue the way we do.

 The indicative target of 20% Energy Efficiency by 2020, will not be fully met. The European Commission now estimates that the EU will achieve energy savings of around 18-19%.[2] For 2030, the focus is moving towards keeping energy affordable for business, industry and consumers. Especially in Industry sectors like transport, manufacturing and construction, there is still large potential to further improve energy efficiency with the introduction of new technologies. The European Parliament called for a 40% energy efficiency target, while the European Commission has recommended a 30% energy saving target for 2030, herewith reducing the EU’s dependency on energy imports and safeguarding its energy security.

 The big question is how can Europe meet this target? We all share a part of that responsibility: Industry, Regulators, and Consumers by manufacturing, implementing and using new technologies.

 New Technology Example: Smart Metering

 One of the measures supporting the 2020-Target, is the roll-out of smart meters following the Internal Electricity Market Directive. The introduction of smart metering for 80% of European consumers can save up to 26.5 Mtoe.[3] A comprehensive study of Member States’ Cost Benefit Analysis shows that with the introduction of smart electricity meters, the average European Consumer can save between 1 and 5 percent energy.[4] Conclusion: there is a considerable potential for energy savings in this part of the industry. Yet, at the moment, the introduction of this particular new technology could go better.

 At ESMIG, we believe there are some areas of improvement to realize this energy saving potential.


Engaging consumers

If consumers are to appreciate the benefits of smart meters, then they must first at least understand the reasons behind the smart meter roll-out, but also know and trust the technology. Up till now, European Consumers have been confronted with smart meter infrastructure technologies and related costs without sufficient understanding of how that technology might assist to manage their energy consumption. Clear and simple information is key, and it is about time we take on that task.

ESMIG has therefore taken the initiative, together with the association Electricity Distribution System Operators (EDSO) for Smart Grids, to create a consumer portal with easy to understand explanations about the objectives, benefits and concerns of Smart Meters and Smart Grids


Regulatory and legal conditions

The goal of EU policies should be to lay the groundwork for successful Smart Meter implementations by defining a set of minimal requirements, ensuring interoperability and the consumer’s security and privacy, and by harmonizing a set of minimal functionalities in order to realize the full set of consumer benefits. Some EU initiatives still lag behind in terms of implementation. Although it is a challenge in liberalized markets, the organisations that are responsible for implementing Smart Meters should get the necessary incentives to include the functionalities needed to realize benefits for others. They should facilitate the market for consumer focused energy services by implementing these functionalities.

ESMIG is therefore working with both European and national associations and governmental institutions to create the appropriate environment for the implementation of the functionalities that are needed to realize the full benefits for all stakeholders concenrned.

 Smart Energy is a buzz-word today, and should stay one for the coming decades. A smart (er) energy system, will help us save energy, reduce Co2-emissions, prevent energy shortages, limit the rise of energy prices, reduce energy dependency, but most important of all: it has the potential to make industry, regulators and the consumer smart.


The European Smart Metering Industry Group (ESMIG) is the European industry association that provides knowledge and expertise on Smart Metering and energy-related consumer services at a European level.

ESMIG covers all aspects of multi-commodity metering and consumer energy management. Member companies cover the entire value chain from meter manufacturing, software development, installation, and consulting to communications and system integration. By giving support to European Union institutions, Member States, national organisations and Standardisation Organisations, the industry group aims to assist in the development of national and European wide introduction, roll-out and management of Smart Metering solutions and technologies related to energy management.

[1] Commission services based on EUROSTAT data

[2] EC Communication on Energy Efficiency and its contribution to energy security and the 2030 Framework for  climate and energy policy (COM (2014) 520 final)

[3] Non-Paper of the Services of the European Commission on Energy Efficiency Directive, April 2012 : Mega-tonne of oil equivalent (Mtoe)

[4] European Commission Report “Benchmarking smart metering deployment in the EU-27 with a focus on electricity”, June 2014 – http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?qid=1403084595595&uri=COM:2014:356:FIN

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