Efficiency First (E1st) is now an established principle of EU energy policy. It has been embedded in various legislative pieces of the Clean Energy for All package in 2018-2019.
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.
Similar concepts such as ‘Integrated Resource Planning’ (IRP) and ‘Energy Efficiency as a Resource’ have been developed in the U.S. and sometimes tried in some European countries. The well-documented U.S. experience shows how this type of approach can be implemented in the electricity sector. The European approach of E1st aims at a broader scope encompassing the entire energy system.
The background analysis also highlights the importance of the scope of costs and benefits considered when comparing supply-side and demand-side resources. The general trend is to expand this scope to take into account multiple impacts, along with the experience gained in assessing them.
Efficiency First is built on the common-sense approach that we should try to reach our decarbonisation goals by using as few resources as possible. In energy policy, this means using the least-expensive options to make demand and supply meet in a given policy context. Setting it as a requirement for regulated entities would create additional resources for energy efficiency and demand response and move forward demandside investments and programs that would otherwise not materialise regardless of their economic performance.
Read the full report here.