For a long time, the topic of energy efficiency has been dominated by the highly regarded discussion about renewable energy in both politics and environmental policy research. This is surprising, since energy efficiency might solve a wide range of energy policy challenges the European Union (EU) is facing. Although the Union’s total energy demand slowly decreases, its energy dependence is on the rise. Conflicting economic and ecological interests are slowing down the modernization agenda in the energy sector that is aiming for sustainability. At the same time, rising energy costs limit the domestic as well as foreign policy discretion. Through energy efficiency, emissions will be reduced, energy prices will decrease in the medium term and geostrategic dependencies will be diminished. Decoupling economic growth, increasing energy requirements and ecological damage from each other seems possible.
The EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive (2012/27/EU) clearly sets the goal to increase energy efficiency by 20 percent till 2020 is clearly set. Half of the hitherto planned emission savings are supposed to be realized on the basis of the directive. This seems remarkable: A supranational community regulates the economic development of its members, and agrees on legally binding rules to increase energy efficiency and to limit energy consumption. How did the energy efficiency policy of the European multi-level system develop in the recent past? What criteria determined the choice of the legal instruments? What resources and methods of the different advocacy coalitions influenced the legislative process? And, how will the EU member states implement the directive?
By using policy analysis of the agenda setting, the negotiation process, the content, and the implementation of the directive, cross-institutional action patterns and functional linkages will be worked out. Policy-oriented learning and the positions of the actors involved are analyzed based on the „Advocacy Coalition Framework". The findings on conditions for success and procedurale obstacles contribute to a better understanding of the future development of this particular policy area, and identify transferable action patterns of lobbies.