At the heart of enefirst is the ambition to move the E1st principle from definition to implementation in the national policy frameworks– an objective that can be considered ground-breaking. The project builds on existing work identifying concrete examples in Europe of E1st in practice and also how it could be implemented in specific Member States. The explicit focus on operationalisation of the principle and the linkage to concrete examples of approaches in line with E1st will enable the project team to develop robust and implementable proposals for the EU and its MS.
Enefirst examines the application of the E1st principle in a sector that matters most to future energy efficiency policy design – buildings. Buildings are responsible for approximately 40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions in the EU. Previous studies have demonstrated the vast potential for energy savings in the building sector and progress to improve energy efficiency needs to be accelerated in order to meet the goals set out in the Paris Agreement in 2015. At the same time, 97% of the buildings are not energy efficient. To tap the related energy saving potential, enefirst will develop concrete policy proposals for sectors that can benefit directly or indirectly from energy efficiency improvements in buildings and establish approaches through which the full value of energy efficiency can be utilised and valorised. This will enable EU MS to take a much more systematic approach to energy efficiency and put in place additional policy and regulatory levers.
Enefirst offers an innovative synthesis of existing research frameworks on E1st policy decision-making, embracing very different strands of research on determinants of energy efficiency decisions. These can be divided into (a) approaches that focus on individuals and groups as agents of energy efficiency decision making, and (b) approaches that emphasise the influence of factors external to individuals, which constrain the scope of decision-making. Furthermore, enefirst takes a much wider perspective and sees energy efficiency positioned in the energy system rather than in a silo of its own. Existing policies are primarily designed in silo and enefirst will provide important policy proposals that address energy efficiency from a cross-sectoral perspective.
Enefirst develops and employs an innovative way of selecting the most salient stakeholders for the adoption of E1st. Because E1st incorporates more than energy efficiency but a systematic assessment of demand-side solutions across the whole energy system, enefirst will engage with actors from all the relevant sectors including the supply-side (for example network companies, renewable energy policy makers etc.). Bringing together people working in the energy efficiency sector and those who work in other sectors with a direct and/or indirect impact on energy efficiency delivery will lead to a more comprehensive and possibly controversial debate not limited to the traditional actors engaged in energy efficiency policy but includes those who previously have not been involved in developing policy and regulatory solutions to achieve an acceleration of energy efficiency improvements.
E1st is a new approach to energy efficiency and energy policy more generally. Using methods such as literature review, model-based analysis of system cost, multi-criteria analysis, case studies, expert interviews, stakeholder workshops, enefirst will triangulate to maximise the reliability and applicability of the results. The project will apply several modelling tools (INVERT/EE-Lab, FORECAST, ENERTILE) to answer questions such as: which areas within a city or a region and which building types should be the core focus of the E1st principle? How to define an “efficient electricity supply system”? What is the role of efficient power systems for operationalising the E1st principle? What are implications (regarding costs, decarbonisation speed, maybe other costs and benefits?) of a highly ambitious EE strategy for appliances/electric cars compared to supply side decarbonisation options considering (1) RES power expansion (2) grid extension, (3) electricity imports? Are there regional differences among European countries (present degree of interconnection; interconnection targets)?