Study into energy saving certificates. Conditions for energy saving in the Netherlands

Energy conservation is one of the pillars of European climate policy. In response to the European Green Deal, the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) has set more ambitious energy efficiency targets for different countries. According to PBL, 400 petajoules (PJ) of cumulative extra energy savings are needed in the Netherlands by 2030 to meet the new target and additional policies will be necessary. One policy tool for achieving energy savings in homes, services and industry is a system of energy saving certificates called EBCs or ‘white certificates’. The purpose of this study is to determine the conditions under which an EBC system can achieve additional energy savings in the Netherlands.

What is an EBC system?
An EBC system is an obligation for energy suppliers or distributors to achieve a certain amount of energy savings from end users (households or businesses). A certificate represents an amount of energy savings allocated to a measure in advance. At the end of the year, the energy supplier is required to submit a certain number of certificates to the regulator. If a supplier has not earned enough certificates it can buy them from other parties, such as installation and insulation companies. The requirement creates certainty that the goal will be achieved. Once the ECB system is set up, increasing energy savings can be achieved.

Brief conclusion
This study shows that an EBC system, if properly designed, can achieve additional energy savings compared to existing energy saving policies. An EBC system is more efficient than subsidies and market players achieve energy savings at the lowest cost. However, it will have to be taken into account that it will take longer than a few years to implement an effective EBC system.

The report was sent to the Second Chamber by the Minister of Climate and Energy on 29 November 2022 as an appendix to the Letter to the Second Chamber on the status of energy saving policies for companies and institutions.