European Union’s Major Refocus on Energy Efficiency

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On June 22, 2011, the European Union (“EU”) proposed a new Energy Services Directive (“Proposed Directive”)1 for energy efficiency. The Proposed Directive expands the obligations of EU Member States, transforms previous voluntary actions into compulsory ones, and sets the stage for additional legally binding measures. The Proposed Directive is under review and targeted for implementation late next year or in early 2013. Its adoption will have a widespread impact on energy companies, businesses, and consumers.

The EU has long understood the role that energy efficiency can play in building jobs, saving money, and reducing greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions. Indeed, in 2000, the European Commission (“EC”) first developed an action plan to promote energy efficiency within the EU.2 Subsequently, the EU has adopted directives on the energy performance of buildings (2002), the promotion of combined generation of heat and electricity (2004), energy savings increases from domestic appliances (2005), and end-use use efficiency and energy services (2006).

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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