The principal goals of energy policy in the EEA are to develop an internal market in energy across the 30 States of the EEA in order to provide Europe's citizens and companies with a secure supply of affordable energy and to ensure a sustainable future through developing renewable energy sources and energy efficiency.

Internal Market in gas and electricity

EEA law establishes common rules for the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity and gas, and aims at ensuring security of supply.

The rules seek to guarantee a competitive market for both of those energy sources through the separation of production and supply from transmission and distribution networks and through supervision of the markets by national regulatory authorities.

Under those rules, consumers and companies are able to choose their supplier for gas and electricity.

EEA law also entitles consumers to protection from misleading practices and misinformation by suppliers.

Specific rules apply to small isolated electricity markets, such as Iceland or Liechtenstein, and for emerging markets in natural gas, such as Norway.

Petroleum Licensing

The Hydrocarbons Licensing Directive (94/22) guarantees non-discriminatory access to petroleum activities across the EEA. That is ensured, in particular, by common rules for transparent licensing procedures and the requirement to follow objective, published criteria when awarding licences.

Renewable energy

Renewable energy sources (hydro-electric power, geothermal power, wind power, solar power, etc.) are essential in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase Europe's energy independence.

The Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/EC currently in force in the EEA EFTA States, seeks to promote energy based on renewable sources. It addresses the electricity, heating/cooling and the transport sector. The Directive introduced binding national targets, set as a share of renewable energy in overall energy consumption. According to the Joint Committee Decision 162/2011, Iceland is to achieve 64 % share of energy from renewable sources in its gross final consumption by 2020, while the target set for Norway was of 67.5 %. Liechtenstein has a full derogation from the Directive. The Directive also introduced cooperation mechanisms in order to help Member States achieve their targets in the most efficient manner. The only working mechanism do date in Europe is the joint support scheme entered into between Norway and Sweden. This agreement established a joint market for green certificates until 2020. The Directive also encourages States to reduce administrative barriers preventing increases in renewable electricity production and to facilitate access to the electricity grid for renewable energy producers.

The Directive on Renewable Energy does not apply to Liechtenstein.

Energy efficiency

In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to increase security of energy supply and to ensure the competitiveness of European companies, EEA legislation aims at reducing energy consumption. To reach that goal, EEA law lays down minimum energy efficiency standards and labelling requirements for products and buildings. It also encourages the use of co-generation plants.

The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (2002/91) regarding the energy efficiency of buildings does not apply to Iceland.

Relevant links

Other EEA Institutions

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