The EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive: Understanding compliance
The deadline for compliance with EU Energy Efficiency Directive 2012/27/EU (also known as ‘Article 8’) is now just months away—December 5th 2015, to be exact. That’s the date by which businesses must conduct the first of the four-yearly energy efficiency audits that the Directive calls for. You may recall that we outlined the details of the Directive in a previous blog: The EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive: How It Affects You.
In short, if you’re a business with at least 250 employees or annual revenues of €50 million, the clock is ticking. In every European Union member state where your operations meet the 250 employee/ €50 million criteria, you must comply.
But comply to what, exactly? And how? Because compliance, it turns out, involves addressing some fairly important questions.
Steady progress as the deadline draws near
As we noted in our previous blog, the answers to these questions aren’t always clear. As with any European Directive, the requirements must first be drafted into each member state’s national law. And despite the closeness of the December 5th deadline, a number of countries have yet to complete this.
The good news is that since our last blog post, two major European economies have made progress in clarifying their national positions on the Directive.
Germany, for one, has now enacted its law, thereby eliminating a lot of uncertainty. In addition, Germany will soon announce which aids will be available to companies based on an open consultation that will close the 17th of April. And France has taken a step forward, too, by clarifying the penalty that it will impose for non-compliance: 2%-4% of a company’s annual sales revenues.
So gradually, at a high level, the pieces of the puzzle are becoming clearer.
Understanding the compliance regime
But what isn’t becoming clearer to companies is how best to determine how the underpinning detail of individual European Union member states’ national requirements, penalties, and any applicable incentives apply to them.
In other words, what exactly must businesses do in order to comply? What, in detail, are the answers to those questions about auditors, audits, qualifications, penalties and incentives? Here, we can help.
To begin with, a good starting point is each member state’s National Energy Efficiency Action Plan, which was submitted to Brussels last year. (However, some countries, such as Slovenia and Hungary, have yet to do this.)
Published on-line, or sourced as paper documents direct from Brussels, the National Energy Efficiency Action Plans are usually—although not always—available in English. Critically, each Plan specifies the individual national body responsible for a given member state’s implementation of the law, plus an actual link to the law where it exists. In the UK, for instance, the body in question is the Department for Energy and Climate Change.
Armed with this knowledge, it is then possible to go to an individual national body to see what resources it has in place to assist with Article 8 compliance. There may be guides, for instance, to supplement the legal language of the law. Also useful are e-mail ‘hotlines’ to which any questions can be addressed—again, some countries have set them up, but several haven’t.
And if you still draw a blank? National energy efficiency bodies can often at least clarify whether or not a law has yet been passed, and provide a pointer to it.
Talk to the experts
If you’re thinking that this is complex, you’re right. And it’s unfortunate—to say the least—that there’s a surprising lack of consistency and clarity in many aspects of how the Directive has been enshrined into national laws across Europe. Instead of one law, there are many laws, each subtly different.
What can you do to clarify your obligations? If the process described above doesn’t appeal, then our suggestion would be to talk to us.
Because here at DNV GL, we have a team of experts who are knowledgeable about the status of the Directive in each European member state, and who are able to provide clear guidance on each member state’s applicable requirements, penalties, and incentives.
More than that, our people are equipped to carry out the audits that the Directive calls for, and provide guidance on any energy efficiency opportunities that an audit discloses.
If you would like to further discuss any of these points, or would like advice or support with Article 8 of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive 2012/27/EU, please contact me at +44 (0)7972 042 034 or at email@example.com.
In the meantime, you can learn more about our offering by visiting our website.