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Energy supplier obligations and white certificate schemes: Comparative analysis of experiences in the European Union


  • Bertoldi, Paolo
  • Rezessy, Silvia
  • Lees, Eoin
  • Baudry, Paul
  • Jeandel, Alexandre
  • Labanca, Nicola


A number of Member States of the European Union (EU) have introduced market-based policy portfolios based on quantified energy savings obligations on energy distributors or suppliers, possibly coupled with certification of project-based energy savings (via white certificates), and the option to trade the certificates or obligations. The paper provides an up-to-date review and analysis of results to date of white certificate schemes in the EU. In the EU supplier obligations and white certificate schemes have delivered larger savings than originally expected with obliged companies exceeding targets and, in some cases, at cost below what policy makers have anticipated. Supplier obligations foster the uptake of standardised energy efficiency actions often targeting smaller energy users (residential sector), lowering the transaction costs and contributing to market transformation. The role of certificate trading is more ambiguous. Trading can bring benefits where the target is set sufficiently high with respect to the energy-saving potential in the sectors covered. Theoretically trading may be better suited for broader systems with comprehensive coverage, but even in smaller schemes trading may reduce the transaction costs of compliance for obliged actors without sufficient expertise on end-use energy efficiency. Yet, trading increases the administrative cost ratio of energy-saving obligations.

Suggested Citation

  • Bertoldi, Paolo & Rezessy, Silvia & Lees, Eoin & Baudry, Paul & Jeandel, Alexandre & Labanca, Nicola, 2010. "Energy supplier obligations and white certificate schemes: Comparative analysis of experiences in the European Union," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 1455-1469, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:38:y:2010:i:3:p:1455-1469

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Oikonomou, Vlasis & Rietbergen, Martijn & Patel, Martin, 2007. "An ex-ante evaluation of a White Certificates scheme in The Netherlands: A case study for the household sector," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 1147-1163, February.
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