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Efficiency First: A New Paradigm for the European Energy System

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Driving Competitiveness, Energy Security and Decarbonisation through increased Energy Productivity



This briefing is the result of an expert process convened by the European Climate Foundation during 2016. The document explains what “Efficiency First” is and why it should underpin the Energy Union. In a nutshell, it comes down to prioritising investments in energy efficiency –whether end-use savings or demand response– whenever they would cost less or deliver more than investing in supply or networks. Applying this logic to all energy policy decisions can strengthen Europe’s economic recovery, lower fuel imports, build competitiveness, create jobs, improve air quality and bring down the costs of the transition to a low-carbon society.


In practice, Efficiency First means giving energy efficiency a fair chance in the models and impact assessments that policy-makers use to make decisions, strengthening those laws that already target efficiency, and integrating it into all other Energy Union policies. That includes funding decisions and infrastructure planning. Applying this principle will help to correct the persistent bias towards increasing supply over managing demand, a bias which has impeded Europe’s ability to create a least-cost, jobs-rich, low-carbon energy system.



To download the document, please visit the relevant European Climate Foundation webpage at the link below.