In a letter addressed to the Commission members of the Energy Union Project Team, a group of organizations have highlighted the importance of considering how to implement “Efficiency First.”

On April 20th, European Commissioners will come together for a meeting to discuss energy efficiency and renewable energy within the Energy Union. ClientEarth, E3G, eceee, European Climate Foundation, OpenExp, and the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP) have come together in a letter to address the importance of the Efficiency First principle.

Efficiency First is a policymaking principle that recognizes the central role that cost-effective energy savings can play in meeting European energy, climate, and economic goals. Applying this principle means placing consumers at the heart of the Internal Energy Market and of renewable energy and climate policies, and strengthening dedicated energy efficiency policies to lower the cost of the coming energy transition.

“Decades of experience with end-use energy efficiency and demand response programs around the world demonstrate the value of Efficiency First,” says Richard Cowart, director at RAP.

“Investments in end-use energy savings can deliver carbon reductions and meet renewable energy targets at lower cost by avoiding more costly investments in fuels and supply networks. Efficiency also delivers broader benefits to society, including stronger energy security and improved air quality and public health,” Nils Borg, eceee executive director, added.

Delivering Efficiency First means shaping Europe’s regulatory and market frameworks to strengthen efficiency finance and delivery, and to capture the value of customer flexibility. The Commission has already recognised the value of this approach in making energy efficiency a pillar of the Energy Union, in prioritising the Efficiency First principle in the Internal Energy Market, and in focusing on a New Deal for Consumers. It is now time to develop the details of how Efficiency First principles will apply in practice within the Energy Union.

The Efficiency First working group has identified a number of concrete action steps and policy reforms needed to promote energy savings, including through: properly evaluating efficiency in impact assessments and analyses; strengthening dedicated energy efficiency policies with clear guidance and targets; and incorporating efficiency into broader Energy Union policies including the Internal Energy Market, rules for allocation of EU funds, and local and regional government involvement.

Those steps and policy proposals will be detailed in a series of reports being prepared by the working group and its members in coming weeks.