ENEFIRST reports and publications will be published over the lifetime of the project.

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The research in this report builds on the report ‘Priority areas for implementing Efficiency First’ which identified policy approaches for implementing the E1st principle in the policy areas of buildings and related energy systems (power sector and district heating) with the potential to be fully implemented across the EU.

This report analyses in three steps the barriers and success factors specific to nine of these policy approaches.

The first step was a systemic identification of barriers and success factors specific to each policy approach (the details of this step can be found in the Annex I).

The main factors hampering and enabling these E1st policies were then discussed in an expert consultation (minutes can be found in Annex II, and the presentation files on the workshop webpage).

The results are visualised in so-called ‘implementation maps’, which summarise the main barriers and possible solutions to the implementation of the E1st concept as well as the related legislative and non-legislative changes required. These implementation maps are presented altogether in this report. They can also be found separately here.

These analyses emphasise that adaptation of EU legislation is needed to overcome (some of) the barriers but that many institutional barriers require interventions by national and local authorities to enable capacity building and additional resources in regulatory agencies and implementing organisations to realise the concepts and policy approaches. The consultation with EU and national experts confirmed that more specific guidance is needed and that the implementation of the E1st principle also requires close cooperation between national and regional levels, especially in the buildings and district heating sectors where most decision-making takes place locally.

This report identifies promising policy approaches as regards Efficiency First (E1st) in several EU policy areas: buildings, power markets/networks, gas markets/networks, district heating, energy efficiency, climate, and EU funds.

The report screened the policy areas and approaches for each policy area by reviewing the EU policy context; conducting interviews and using the examples of existing implementation of the E1st principle; discussing the most important strategic and legislative documents where E1st is relevant. For each policy area, a selection of policy approaches to implement E1st is highlighted.

The objectives of the report are to facilitate the implementation process in Member States and to guide the next steps of the project including more detailed analyses about barriers and success factors specific to the selected policy approaches, as well as the development of policy guidelines.

This report provides modellers and policymakers with guidance on conceptual implications and on existing quantitative approaches for assessing demand and supply side resources in light of the Efficiency First (E1st) principle.

It identifies existing modelling approaches associated with the concept of E1st, distinguishing the normative and exploratory approaches and considering different levels of analysis: national, utility, and buildings. There is no universal model for representing E1st and each model-based assessment is nested in a trade-off between data needs and computational complexity versus robustness and credibility of the model outcomes.

Finally, the report discusses three challenges to modelling the trade-off between demand and supply side resources with respect to the E1st principle: (1) to capture a broad array of multiple impacts and to monetise them, where possible; (2) to apply social discount rates, unless a model aims to simulate actual technology adoption behaviour; (3) to ensure sufficient model detail to represent the true costs of supply-side resources and the value of demand-side flexibility options.”

The ENEFIRST project compiled and characterised a set of 16 case studies about international experiences with implementing the E1st principle. The objective of this report is to systematically assess to what extent the previously international experiences identified are transferable to the political and legal system of the European Union and its Member States.

A targeted literature review provided the basis for the framework to analyse the examples. It suggests that eight of the 16 experiences feature a high level of transferability, seven are found to feature a medium transferability and one is assessed with a low level of transferability.

In conclusion, policymakers in the EU and its Member States can certainly learn from their counterparts to establish a level playing field between demand and supply side resources and thus help embed the E1st principle. However, this reports also points out that embedding the E1st principle in the EU, and truly putting demand side resources on equal footing with supply side infrastructures in all relevant instances, will require a custom set of policy and regulatory instruments that go beyond fragmented international practices.

This report is focused on barriers to implementing “Efficiency First” (E1st) in the EU in several policy areas that are linked to energy use in the buildings sector (such as network codes, renewable energy policy, building regulations and others). These range from legal and regulatory, institutional and organisational capacity-related barriers, which consider the way that energy planning and policy operate including multilevel governance, to economic and social/cultural barriers (in relation to buildings, heating systems, etc.). The scope is deliberately wider than just buildings policy; for example, deciding whether to invest in energy network upgrades or demand-side responses is an application of the E1st principle that also relates to the building sector.

This report reviews examples of policies, regulatory frameworks, utility programmes or other initiatives that have implemented the Efficiency First (E1st) principle in practice. Its objective is to analyse why and how E1st has been implemented, and what lessons can be learned from these experiences. These examples also show policymakers, regulators and energy policy actors in general that the concept of E1st can be implemented and can provide various benefits to the energy transition.

This report reviews the background of this concept and existing definitions in order to draw a definition that can serve as a basis for the ENEFIRST project and its specific objectives, that is, making E1st operational for the building sector and related energy systems.