Energy efficiency action plan

Development of a concept for achieving national energy savings targets by 2020 and 2050, taking relevant EU requirements into account in the context of a holistic climate and energy policy


Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB)

Duration February 2014 – May 2016


Improving energy efficiency plays a key role in the Federal Government’s energy concept alongside expanding the use of renewables. This is also reflected in the number of direct and indirect energy efficiency targets. Those which relate directly to this area are a 20% reduction in primary energy consumption by 2020 and 50% by 2050, and a 10% and 25% reduction in electricity consumption in the same periods (compared to 2008 levels), coupled with an increase in energy productivity in final energy consumption by an average of 2.1% per annum. In addition, the sectoral targets for buildings and transport can also be interpreted primarily as energy efficiency targets. Despite the progress in achieving the targets recorded in the first monitoring report (BMWi/BMU 2012), the expert commission accompanying the monitoring process believes that “the pace and intensity need to be significantly increased in the future if the energy efficiency improvements aimed at are to be achieved” (Expert Commission 2012, p. Z-5). The current Coalition Agreement between CDU, CSU and SPD also stresses that “more emphasis must be placed on reducing energy consumption through greater energy efficiency as a key element in the energy transition” (Coalition Agreement 2013, p. 51).

At the EU level, the three targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, expanding renewable energies and improving energy efficiency relate to the period up to 2020. While the greenhouse gases and renewables targets do not appear to be in jeopardy during the project, it was at uncertain whether the EU would achieve its target of increasing energy efficiency by 20% by 2020 in comparison with a reference development. This target would represent a reduction in primary energy consumption by 368 Mtoe compared with projections. The EU Energy Efficiency Directive of October 2012 (2012/27/EU, EED) put in place a legal framework for energy efficiency with the overall target of improving energy efficiency in primary energy consumption in the EU by 20% by 2020 and further improvements in energy efficiency thereafter. Article 3 of the EED requires every Member State to set an indicative national energy efficiency target for this purpose. In addition, Article 7 requires Member States to at least achieve new savings each year from 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2020 of 1.5% of their annual energy sales. To achieve this target, Member States could either set up an energy efficiency obligation scheme as per Article 7(1) or take other strategic measures to bring about energy savings with final customers. With regard to Article 7 of the EED it is also was unclear whether Germany will actually be able to achieve this target with the energy efficiency measures implemented or planned to date.

Project goals and results

Against this backdrop, the aim of this research assignment was to support the client in developing a consistent energy efficiency strategy (Energy Efficiency Action Plan). Based on a review of the above completed and ongoing studies on energy savings potential and proposed instruments for realising this potential, the aim was to develop an implementation strategy with concrete recommendations for achieving the national energy efficiency and energy savings targets in line with EU policy targets. The analysis focused on the period 2014 to 2020 (Energy Efficiency Action Plan 2020). In the light of the long-term targets in both the national energy concept and at EU level (with the Low Carbon Roadmap 2050 of March 2011 and the Energy Roadmap 2050 of December 2011), projections for the periods up to 2030 and 2050 were also planned.

Tasks of IREES

  • Include all key market players in energy efficiency in all areas of activity (buildings, industrial companies, enterprises in the trades, commerce and services sector, private households, and energy supply/CHP), identify player-specific barriers standing in the way of exploiting identified savings potential, and take all promoting factors into account.
  • Develop suitable instruments and packages of instruments to remove the barriers and boost the promoting factors; not only traditional types of instruments at sectoral level, such as regulatory law, financial and fiscal instruments, information and advice, but also traditional and new cross-sector instruments, such as emissions trading, energy taxes, energy efficiency funds, energy efficiency obligation schemes and tendering models, along with measures taken by enterprises and their ‘self-organisations’ with the aim of promoting energy efficiency.
  • Develop a methodology for quantitative, semi-quantitative or qualitative evaluation of costs and benefits of the instruments and measures examined and apply them to the Energy Efficiency Action Plan developed. Besides savings and cost effects and potential interactions between the instruments, particular attention is to be paid to distribution effects and the increasingly important issue of funding efficiency measures from public and private capital . The macroeconomic effects of efficiency measures on growth, employment and competitiveness should also be looked at.

Project partner

  • Fraunhofer ISI (lead)

  • ÖkoInstitut



Oliver Lösch
Oliver Lösch