Austria, as a Member State of the European Union, must transpose Directive 2012/27/EU on energyefficiency, amending Directives 2009/125/EC and repealing Directives 2004/8/EC and 2006/32/EC intonational law (Section 3 EEffG). Accordingly, the Federal Energy Efficiency Act (Bundes-Energieeffizienzgesetz, "EEffG") implements the Directive.
On 9 July 2014, the Austrian National Council (Nationalrat) adopted the EEffG with the requiredconstitutional majority as several provisions have constitutional status (Verfassungsrang). Consequently,certain parts of the EEffG entered into force one (1) day after the announcement in the Federal LawGazette (Bundesgesetzblatt) on 11 August 2014. The provisions regarding the energy efficiency of theFederal State already entered into force on 1 January 2014 and the remaining provisions finally enteredinto force on 1 January 2015 (Article 33 EEffG).
The EEffG not only aims at transposing the aforementioned Directive and achieving the objectivesspecified therein, but also contributes indirectly to reducing future energy consumption by: (i)strengthening the supply reliability; (ii) promoting renewable energy; (iii) achieving targets regarding
greenhouse gas emissions; and (iv) strengthening and stimulating competition (Explanatory Notes toArticle 2 EEffG). Final energy consumption shall not exceed 1,050 PJ in the year 2020 (Article 4Paragraph 1 Item 1 EEffG). In addition, the EEffG sets a national cumulative energy efficiency target of
310 PJ (Article 4 Paragraph 1 Item 3 EEffG).
For reasons related to Austrian competences, the EEffG stipulates that remittal, amendment, abrogationand enforcement of provisions as contained in the EEffG are also within the responsibility of the FederalState, even though the Federal Constitution Act (Bundes-Verfassungsgesetz) stipulates otherwise (Article1 EEffG).
Directive 2012/27/EU establishes an annual energy efficiency savings target between 1 January 2014 and31 December 2020 equivalent to one point five percent (1.5%). Accordingly, Directive 2012/27/EU sets amandatory cumulative energy efficiency target for Austria in the amount of 218 PJ as a minimumrequirement (Mindestvorgabe). In fact – as a measure of self-commitment (Selbstbindungsmaßnahme) –Austria set a higher national cumulative energy efficiency target of 310 PJ.
The core content of the EEffG is the following:
-Austria commits itself to achieving a cumulative energy efficiency target in the amount of 310 PJ, reachedby supplier obligations in the amount of 159 PJ and strategic energy efficiency measures in the amount of151 PJ, and correspondingly, an energy efficiency consumption target in the amount of 1,050 PJ in theyear 2020.
-The EEffG includes a variety of energy efficiency obligations for energy suppliers, large (energyconsuming) enterprises and the Federal State to ensure the achievement of the target.
-As an alternative to the implementation of energy efficiency measures, energy suppliers may pay arate of compensation;
-large enterprises must conduct mandatory periodical energy audits or implement energymanagement systems; and
-an annual renovation rate of three percent (3%) (Sanierungsquote) must be fulfilled by means ofenergy savings contracting, energy management measures and renovation measures.
-In order to coordinate and monitor energy efficiency measures a national monitoring body (the AustrianEnergy Agency) was established. This Agency assists the obliged enterprises regarding energyefficiency and coordinates the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan and the annual progress reports(Fortschrittsberichte).
-The use of energy audits or energy management systems for enterprises is to be promoted.
Austrian National Energy Efficiency Action Plan ("NEEAP") of 2014
Due to the reporting obligation, Austria was required to submit the first NEEAP to the EuropeanCommission in 2014. The NEEAP particularly focuses on strategic measures to implement Directive2012/27/EU. The annual Austrian progress report is part of the NEEAP, representing Annex A.
2012/27/EU which allows combining obligation schemes with alternative policy measures. Moreover,Austria reduced the amount of the energy savings target (i.e. one point five percent (1.5%)) by so-called"early actions" which are eligible advance savings from the past, leading to an adjusted target of one pointAustria chose an energy efficiency obligation scheme pursuant to Article 7 Paragraph 9 of Directive onetwo five percent (1.125%). Energy efficiency information is offered by several organisations in Austria.Accordingly, the Austrian Economic Chamber (Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, WKO) offers informationabout the implementation of energy audits and the use of energy management systems.
Austria opted to take policy measures (e.g. energy taxation) and energy efficiency obligations to achievetotal annual savings in the amount of 29,898 terajoule for the year 2014.
Regarding energy efficiency obligations, the EEffG distinguishes between obligations for energy suppliers,enterprises and the Federal State. Non-compliance with the provisions of the EEffG is subject toadministrative fines of up to EUR 100,000 (Article 31 EEffG). Such fines may primarily be imposed uponthe statutory representatives of legal entities. The appointment of responsible representatives(verantwortliche Beauftragte) leads to a limitation of responsibility of statutory representatives (Article 9Paragraph 2 Administrative Criminal Procedure Act).
Obligations for energy suppliers
Energy suppliers sell energy to end-consumers against payment. When exceeding the legally statedminimum quantity of sales of relevant energy (i.e. 25 GWh), energy suppliers must provide evidence ofenergy efficiency measures in Austria undertaken at their own enterprise, at their own end-consumers orat other end-consumers. Measures must be equivalent to at least zero point six percent (0.6%) of energysales of the previous year to Austrian end-consumers. Accordingly, energy savings in this amount must beachieved. Regarding the 25 GWh threshold, the principle of group-wide aggregation (Prinzip derkonzernweiten Zusammenrechnung) applies. Specific conditions apply to energy suppliers who haveconcluded a sector obligation (Branchenverpflichtung), allowing them to coordinate and fulfil the obligationcollectively.
It is decisive that the measures taken improve the input-output ratio (e.g. of a certain process or device)and are attributable to the specific energy supplier by evidence. However, an actual reduction of energyconsumption is not required. Furthermore, a considerable percentage of forty percent (40%) of measuresmust be implemented for private households or the public transport system. The assessment of energyefficiency measures is determined in the Energy Efficiency Guidelines Regulation (Energieeffizienz-Richtlinienverordnung). Instead of the implementation of measures, energy suppliers may makecompensation payments of twenty (20) cents per kWh with discharging effect. The fulfilment of theobligation for energy suppliers is monitored by the Austrian energy efficiency monitoring body to ensurecompliance with the EEffG.
Obligations for enterprises
Large (energy consuming) enterprises shall either implement energy audits or use energy managementsystems. By law, small and medium-sized enterprises are exempted from the obligation to obtain energyaudits or introduce management systems. They may voluntarily use energy consulting (Article 9Paragraph 3 EEffG).
Obligations for the Federal State
The Federal State shall fulfil an annual renovation rate in the amount of three percent (3%) of relevantpublic buildings.
Energy Efficiency Monitoring Body
The Austrian Energy Agency acts as the national energy efficiency monitoring body. It has been appointedto carry out the implementation of Directive 2012/27/EU in Austria. The Energy Efficiency GuidelinesRegulation entered into force on 1 January 2016. It sets provisions regarding the activities of the AustrianEnergy Agency and lays out the essential provisions for enforcing the EEffG.
To achieve energy efficiency, Austria chose an energy efficiency obligation scheme also including variouspolicy measures. Obliged parties face different forms of obligations. Energy suppliers have several optionsto fulfil their obligations: (i) to take energy efficiency measures themselves; (ii) to contractually transfer theobligation to third parties; (iii) to transfer the obligation to third parties after calls for tenders; or (iv) to makecompensation payments. The Austrian Energy Agency has the task of monitoring the fulfilment of theseobligations.
In Austria, all large enterprises must implement an energy audit. By law, large enterprises are enterprisesthat are neither small nor medium-sized enterprises. If an enterprise employs more than 249 people, itdirectly qualifies as a large enterprise. If an enterprise employs 249 people or less, additional thresholdshave to be exceeded to qualify as a large enterprise. Therefore, the turnover threshold (i.e. EUR 50million) and the balance sheet total threshold (i.e. EUR 43 million) have to be exceeded. Consumingenterprises (verbrauchende Unternehmen) operating in Austria which are more than fifty percent (50%)owned by the parent company are in any case attributable to the parent. Consequently, the whole group isdecisive for the calculation of these thresholds.
Large enterprises must implement energy audits or use a certified energy or environmental managementsystem (ISO 50001, ÖNORM EN 16001 or ISO 14000) or an equivalent nationally recognisedmanagement system. Management systems have to include an internal or external energy audit (Article 9Paragraph 2 EEffG). In case of multinational companies, the parent company is – regarding those parts ofthe company situated in Austria – responsible for compliance with the EEffG. Therefore, it may be thecase that a parent company is responsible for complying with the EEffG even though it does not operate inAustria.
The EEffG defines qualification requirements for energy auditors and guidelines for the implementation ofenergy audits. Energy audits are defined as a systematic procedure with the purpose of: (i) obtainingadequate knowledge of the existing energy consumption profile of a building or group of buildings, anindustrial or commercial operation or installation or a private or public service; (ii) identifying andquantifying cost-effective energy savings opportunities; and (iii) reporting the findings thereof (Article 5Paragraph 1 Item 3 EEffG). By law, external energy audits have to be conducted every four (4) years.
Energy audits analyse energy consumption in order to suggest measures to improve energy efficiency.Audits have to fulfil minimum requirements set out in Annex III of the EEffG. In particular, energy auditsmust include the three relevant energy consumption areas (i.e. buildings, processes and vehicles) if, ineach case, they amount to at least ten percent (10%) of the total Austrian energy consumption of theentire enterprise or whole group. Consequently, if the energy consumption of one of the three areas doesnot exceed the ten percent (10%) threshold, the energy audit need not include this specific area. However,if the threshold is exceeded, an audit must be conducted for all sites of the group, even though thethreshold may not be exceeded by individual enterprises.
klima:aktiv is the active climate protection initiative of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry,Environment and Water Management (Bundesministerium für Land- und Forstwirtschaft, Umwelt undWasserwirtschaft, BMLFUW). As part of the Austrian climate strategy, one of the aims of the programme isto support energy efficiency by offering different types of funding. Other well-known programmes andinstitutions (e.g. Energieinstitut der Wirtschaft) also promote energy efficiency in Austria.
The Austrian EEffG defines large enterprises according to the definition used in Directive 2012/27/EU.Regarding multi-national companies, it is important to note that only company parts operating in Austriaare decisive. However, it should be considered that foreign parent companies may be responsible forconducting energy audits for Austrian subsidiaries.
Building renovation strategy in Austria
The Austrian building and housing stock is part of the NEEAP and outlined in detail in Annex B.Accordingly, the Austrian federal provinces (Bundesländer) significantly contribute to building renovationby means of residential building subsidies (Wohnbauförderung) for energy savings measures. Acalculation based on the national building stock evidences potential savings in heating and hot water in theamount of 2,185 GWh/a in residential buildings and 1,130 GWh/a in non-residential buildings in 2020compared to 2013. Furthermore, the buildings renovation strategy outlines disparities in funding pursuantto residential building subsidies of the nine Austrian federal provinces.
Renovation of federal buildings
Under Article 16 EEffG, the Federal State is obliged to exercise an exemplary role by fulfilling an annualrenovation rate of three percent (3%) of federal buildings between 2014 and 2020, according to thestandard specified in Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings. Overall, the threepercent (3%) annual rate of building renovation leads to energy savings in the amount of 48.145 GWh until2020 (Article 16 Paragraph 1 EEffG). Additionally, the Federal State together with the Federal Real EstateCompany (Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft, BIG) is obliged to make energy savings in the amount of 125 GWhbetween 1 January 2014 and 31 December 2020 regarding buildings used by the Federal State but ownedby the Federal Real Estate Company (Article 16 Paragraph 2 EEffG).
Federal floor area refers to heated or cooled buildings directly owned (according to the entry in the LandBook (Grundbuch)) and occupied by the Federal State in the relevant period. In fact, the Federal Ministryof Defence and Sport (Bundesministerium für Landesverteidigung und Sport, BMLVS), Federal Ministry ofJustice (Bundesministerium für Justiz, BMJ) and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environmentand Water Management almost exclusively own the relevant floor area. Based on the notification pursuantto Article 5 of Directive 2012/27/EU, calculation for 2014 shows overall relevant floor area of 788,283 m2;therefore, leading to a renovation obligation of 23,648 m2 (= three percent (3%) of 788,283 m2). Accordingto the calculation for 2020, the overall relevant floor area will amount to 656,618 m2; thereby leading to arenovation obligation of 19,698 m2 in 2020.
In fact, due to this obligation, energy savings will increase yearly from 74 kWh/m2a in 2014 to a projected87 kWh/m2a in 2020. Savings shall be achieved by the following measures:
-energy savings contracting;
-energy management measures; and
Indeed, the vast majority of savings are achieved by renovation measures and area reduction.
According to the Austrian progress report 2016, the Federal State will meet the three percent (3%) buildingrenovation obligation pursuant to Article 5 of Directive 2012/27/EU. In the years 2014 and 2015 themajority of savings were achieved by means of energy contracting.
Not only building regulations but also residential building subsidies as main policy instruments contributeto the implementation of obligations pursuant to Article 4 of Directive 2012/27/EU regarding buildingrenovation. Accordingly, the nine federal provinces have passed incentives designed to improve energyefficiency. To comply with obligations regarding the exemplary role of public bodies' buildings, Austriadecided to adapt an alternative approach in order to take cost-effective measures to achieve theenvisaged energy savings target of three percent (3%) of the federal floor area pursuant to Article 5Paragraph 6 of Directive 2012/27/EU. In Austria, the relevant total floor area of buildings decreased from788,283 m2 in 2014 to 656,618 m2 in 2020. Therefore, the heating demand savings amount should reducefrom 74 kWh/m2a in 2014 to 87 kWh/m2a in 2020. According to calculations, the three percent (3%)renovation rate leads to overall energy savings of 48.145 GWh.
Enhancing energy efficiency is a key priority for Austria. According to data from the Austrian EnergyAgency, end energy consumption increased by seventeen point nine percent (17.9%) between 2000 and2013. The current programme 2013-2018 of the Austrian Federal Government emphasises measures toensure "an efficient, affordable and socially acceptable energy system". According to the EEffG, thenational energy efficiency target of end energy consumption shall not exceed 1,050 PJ in 2020.
Besides the EEffG, energy efficiency targets are pursued as follows:
-Federal Law on Climate Protection (Klimaschutzgesetz, "KSG")
The KSG is decisive for the Austrian climate policy. It establishes annual maximum quantities forgreenhouse gas emissions on a sectoral basis for the commitment periods 2008-2012 and 2013-2020. Itpursues the target of coordinated implementation of effective climate protection measures for the sectors:(i) waste management; (ii) energy and industry; (iii) fluorinated gases (fluorierte Gase); (iv) buildings; (v)agriculture; and (vi) traffic (Article 1 KSG).
-Energy Strategy Austria
In the Energy Strategy Austria, the achievement of the climate and energy targets of the European 2020climate and energy package is described. Furthermore, energy efficiency is one of the three pillars of theEnergy Strategy Austria. The Strategy aims to develop a sustainable energy system in Austria,considering the relevant legal framework. Initially, the stabilisation of final energy consumption at the levelof the year 2005 shall be achieved in 2020; therefore, not exceeding 1,100 PJ.
Specific energy efficiency policies regarding buildings, infrastructure and transportation exist.
-building refurbishment programme;
-energy audits for households; and
-smart meters and informative billing.
-Environmental Support Programme (Umweltförderung im Inland); and
-energy efficiency in companies (a klima:aktiv programme)
-general transport plan for Austria;
-car registration tax; and
-klima:aktiv mobil – National Action Programme for Mobility Management.
Energy efficiency targets are promoted through various means in Austria. Besides the EEffG, theseinclude principally the KSG and the Energy Strategy Austria, which all aim to achieve energy efficiencytargets. In addition, energy efficiency policies contribute towards the achievement of defined targets.