Approved measures. A review of practical implementation

While the lists of ‘approved measures’ facilitates supervision of implementation of effective energy-efficiency measures, they fail to address all the problems encountered. The most significant of these is that those tasked with supervision have too little time, manpower and expertise to properly oversee what companies are doing. Companies appreciate the lists, but are divided in their assessment of government oversight. There is also still debate about the payback of the measures and whether or not they are compulsory. These are the main results to emerge from a review study carried out by CE Delft at the request of the Dutch ministry of Economic Affairs & Climate.

There is still scope for companies to achieve considerable improvements in energy efficiency by means of measures with a payback of five years or less. While such measures are compulsory for around 100,000 companies in the Netherlands, supervision of implementation is fraught with difficulties. For this reason lists of ‘approved measures’ were introduced for many sectors in 2015, listing measures that in the vast majority of cases are cost-effective and in principle compulsory. These lists facilitate government oversight.

What our study now shows is that there is wide variation in how the lists are experienced by both industry and those responsible for oversight. Some are appreciative, but others report incompleteness, absence of relevant measures, or inclusion of measures now superseded. Some of those involved find the lists too long and complicated, with too much difficult technical information, and with a profusion of conditions and specific situations, making it hard to assess whether a given measure is relevant for them. In short, we are faced with a complex issue.

The study yielded a wealth of suggestions for possible improvements that can be included in an update of the lists. Two issues held to be of particular importance are regular updates of the approved measures and improved legibility. Another recommendation is to ensure that those charged with oversight have a clearer understanding of which measures are compulsory for which industries. Discussions about payback can be reduced by improving the transparency of the figures reported and the methods used to arrive at them. It would also be a great improvement if municipalities all gave similar priority to supervision of energy efficiency.

New regulations are soon to be introduced that will oblige companies to report to the supervisory bodies how they are meeting their energy efficiency commitments. This can provide a good incentive for increased communication on the regulations and the measures available to boost energy efficiency.