ENEFIRST at eceee 2021

07 Jun 2022 00:00

Enefirst colleagues presented 2 scientific papers at eceee on June 7th, 2021: Conceptualizing the “Energy Efficiency First” principle: from foundations to implementation and ‘Efficiency First in practice’

Conceptualizing the “Energy Efficiency First” principle: from foundations to implementation

Authors: Zsuzsanna Pató, Tim Mandel, Jean-Sébastien Broc

The paper and presentation can be found at: https://www.eceee.org/library/conference_proceedings/eceee_Summer_Studies/2021/2-policy-innovations-to-ensure-scale-and-sustain-action/conceptualizing-the-energy-efficiency-first-principle-from-foundations-to-implementation/  


Energy Efficiency First (E1st) has recently entered the EU policy agenda. Although its general rationale has been described in the Governance Regulation and in grey literature, a lack of shared understanding remains about the principle’s implications for investment and policymaking. 

This paper seeks to synthesise views on the principle, enhance its conceptual foundations and illustrate possible routes to implementation. 

First, it explores the historical and practical background of E1st by comparing the principle with similar regulatory concepts from outside the EU, including Least-Cost Planning, Integrated Resource Planning, and Demand-Side Management. This shows that the basic idea behind E1st, i.e. establishing a level playing field for demand- and supply-side resources, is not entirely new and that lessons can be learnt from related concepts. 

Second, it provides a theoretical foundation for E1st. By looking at the topic of the energy efficiency gap, as well as market and behavioural failures, the paper explains why, at present, demand- and supply-side resources are not on equal footing. It then explains what would need to change to establish an adequate balance. 

Third, based on this conceptual background, the article discusses possible avenues for putting E1st into practice within the EU’s institutional framework. It does so by introducing two complementary institutional arrangements for E1st: (i) centralised decision-making (e.g. prescription of cost-benefit analysis in network planning) and (ii) decentralised market-based decision-making (e.g. ensuring market access for demand-side resources in power markets). 


Efficiency First in practice

Authors: Zsuzsanna Pató, Tim Mandel, Jean-Sébastien Broc

The presentation can be found at: https://www.eceee.org/library/conference_proceedings/eceee_Summer_Studies/2021/2-policy-innovations-to-ensure-scale-and-sustain-action/efficiency-first-in-practice/  


Even though E1st (which is more and less than energy efficiency) is already established in EU legislation, the ways to put it into practice is a yet an undiscovered territory for policy makers in the Member States. This is reflected in the fact that mandatory reporting on E1st does not go further than using the term in the NECPs submitted by Member States in 2020. However, implementation of the principle in all energy system decision making is crucial to keep the cost of the energy transition down and to avoid lock-in in infrastructure assets that will become stranded before the end of their lifetime. 

Investment decisions are taken by consumers (behind the meter) and network and generation companies (in front of the meter). The investment decisions of final consumers and energy companies are strongly interrelated: households’ demand-side, storage and on-site renewable generation investments reduce the needed volume (and change the timing) for networked supply. Hence, the policies and regulation aiming at final consumers, energy use and production have important implications at higher levels, such as the city, region, country or continent. 

Several ‘real word’ examples have actually implemented the idea of E1st, even though they are not named as such. This presentation will 1) provide a two-dimensional framework to organise the diversity of situations and approaches of applying E1st, and 2) discuss a few real word cases from Europe and the US from those that are publicly available on the ENEFIRST website. These examples can serve as a starting point to discuss a more comprehensive and consistent application of the principle. For more examples see: https://enefirst.eu/wp-content/uploads/D2-2-Report-on-international-experiences-with-E1st.pdf