This paper builds on ten key applications of “efficiency first” identified through an expert process convened by the European Climate Foundation in 2016 and summarized in the publication Governance for Efficiency First: Plan, Finance and Deliver. The paper provides selected European examples that illustrate the efficiency first principle in practice across the 10 policy areas (“asks”). The focus of this paper is on (1) efficiency as a resource to the energy system (i.e., “saving before you build”), (2) local energy planning and investment (i.e., using efficiency to unleash local benefits) and (3) broader climate and energy policy (i.e., using efficiency first to solve the trilemma of sustainability, competitiveness, and affordability). While the paper does not cover the broad application of efficiency first principles across the EU policy and decision-making landscape, it does provide an important step in demonstrating its value in practice.

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Energy efficiency
Renewable energy