Directive in sight

Article 9 of European directive 2006/32/EC on energy end-use efficiency and energy services, issued in 2006, states that member states must repeal or amend any legislation or regulations that unnecessarily or disproportionately impedes or restricts implementation of the directive. This study reviews the extent to which such problems exist in the Netherlands and what steps can be taken to address them. Its specific focus is on financial instruments designed to encourage energy efficiency among all categories of end-users in the Netherlands, except those participating in the European Emissions Trading Scheme. The study identifies the barriers to various kinds of grants, funding and other financial schemes on offer from energy service suppliers.

The results show that at the moment the most relevant barriers arise more from a lack of legislation and regulations rather than any kind of mutual conflict. This is particularly true of legislation on pollution monitoring and groundwater issues.

Among the potential impediments identified are elements of the Environmental Protection Act, the Waste Substances Act and food safety regulations. In most cases these barriers are understandable and intentional, i.e. intended to guarantee the safety, health or welfare of project principals and residents, and cannot therefore be termed unnecessary or disproportionate. In the case of the Waste Substances Act there does appear to be an unnecessary barrier, though, and steps are now being taken to address the problem.

Apart from the instances cited, market parties regularly encounter problems relating to the Tenancy Act. Closer examination shows that the barrier lies not so much in the Act itself, but in how the term ‘individual freedom’ is interpreted in tenant-landlord contracts. This means the problem lies outside the scope of directive 2006/32/EC.

Finally, there is the issue of administrative charges, cited by many market parties as constituting an unnecessary or disproportionate barrier to the effective working of energy efficiency subsidies and funding. The report concludes that much is already being done to reduce these charges, one current area of focus being energy-related charges.


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