A provisional deal on the proposed energy efficiency directive was struck by MEPs and Council negotiators on Thursday, after months of negotiations. The directive would require Member States to set themselves indicative national targets and save energy in specific ways, such as renovating buildings and stipulating the size of energy savings to be delivered by utilities.

Of particular notice are the following measures that Claude Turmes (Greens/EFA, LU), who led the negotiations, has pointed out as ¨crucial to delivering concrete energy savings.¨

EU and national targets

The directive lays down common measures in to ensure that the EU achieves its headline target of using 20% less energy by 2020. Each Member State would set its own target and present a national efficiency action plan every three years, in 2014, 2017 and 2020. The European Commission would have to assess, by June 2014, the progress achieved.

Renovating buildings

The directive would require Member States to renovate 3% of the total floor area of "heated and/or cooled buildings owned and occupied by their central government" (administrative departments whose responsibilities cover the entire territory of a Member State).

This would apply to buildings with a "total useful floor area" of more than 500 m², and as from July 2015, of more than 250 m². However, Member States would also be able to use alternative means to achieve equivalent energy savings, e.g. thorough renovation.

Promoting efficiency in heating and cooling

Member States would need to carry out and notify to the Commission a "comprehensive assessment", by December 2015, of the scope for applying high-efficiency cogeneration and efficient district heating and cooling. For the purposes of this assessment, Member States would need to carry out a cost-benefit analysis - a proposal introduced by MEPs - covering their territory based on climate conditions, economic feasibility and technical suitability. Specific installations such as nuclear power plants could be exempted from these cost-benefit analyses.

Financing facilities

MEPs also proposed establishing financing facilities for energy efficiency measures. Member States would need to facilitate the establishment of these facilities or the use of existing ones. One idea could be to draw up a national energy efficiency plan whereby central governments and utilities would contribute equal amounts towards the investments required for renovation or to meet the directive's requirements.

Next steps

The provisionally agreed text, which still needs to be adopted today by the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) will be put to an Energy Committee vote, probably in July, and then a plenary one in September (provisional timetable).

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