Policy Guide

back to Overview

Energy companies' efficiency efforts (ESO)

The Danish ESO scheme obliges energy distribution companies in the electricity, gas, heating oil, and district heating sectors to save a certain amount of energy each year. The companies are relatively free in the implementation of the obligation, all forms of energy saving measures are allowed (except in transport). The saving targets were usually met and have therefore, been steadily increased. From 2015, the target will be equivalent to more than 2% of energy consumption each year, which will be one of the highest values worldwide.
Danish energy policies are regularly evaluated. The 2008 and 2012 evaluations showed that the ESO scheme is cost effective, for both energy companies and customers as well as the national economy. However, the evaluations also showed that only about 40 to 50% of energy savings at the time were additional to what programme participants said they would have achieved without the support of the ESO scheme. By 2015, the targets will again be doubled compared to 2011, and so the absolute amount and the share of additional actions and savings can be expected to be much higher.


  • Venjakob, Maike (Lead author)
  • Thomas, Stefan (Reviewer)


We would like to thank the following people for their contributions to this article
Kirsten Dyhr-Mikkelsen, Ea Energy Analyses

References and further reading

  • Bach, Peter (2009): Energy Saving obligations and Saving Center in Denmark. Danish Energy Agency, Chief Advisor. Workshop in Berlin, 10. December 2009. www.bigee.net/s/qtet22
  • Bertoldi, Paolo; Rezessy, Silvia (2009): Energy saving obligations and tradable white certificates. Report prepared by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. www.bigee.net/s/xyp9w3
  • Bundgaard, Sirid Sif; Togeby, Mikael; Dyhr-Mikkelsen, Kirsten; Sommer, Tina; Hansen Kjaerby, Vibeke; Larsen, Anders E. (2013): Spending to save: evaluation of the energy efficiency obligation in Denmark. In: Rethink, renew, restart – Proceedings of the eceee 2013 Summer Study. Giens/Stockholm.
  • Danish Energy Agency (2011): Reporting obligation according to article 10(2) of Directive No 2010/31/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 May 2010 on the energy performance of buildings (recast). 23 June 2011. Ref. No 2590/1212-0001.
  • Dyck-Madsen, Søren (2011): EE Targets in place in Denmark. The Danish Ecological Council. Survey made for eceee. www.bigee.net/s/ssjp2c 
  • Lees, Eoin (2012): Energy efficiency obligations – the EU experience. eceee briefing for DG Energy on EU energy efficiency obligations on energy companies and their importance in meeting climate change and energy security challenges. www.bigee.net/s/bbhagh 
  • Ea Energianalyse, NIRAS and Viegand & Maagøe (2012): Evaluering af energiselskabernes energispareaktiviteter (in Danish). www.bigee.net/s/chuz82
  • Ea Energianalyse, NIRAS, RUC and 4-Fact (2008): En vej til flere og billigere energibesparelser: Evaluering af samtlige danske energispareaktiviteter. December 2008. Only available in Danish. www.bigee.net/s/izevqp 
  • Møller Mikkelsen, Kim: Why Obligation schemes are the solution for European Member States during the Financial Crisis. Experiences from Denmark where energy efficiency obligations have been used as an innovative way to mobilise funds for investments in EE outside state budgets. European Affairs Advisor, The Danish Energy Association. www.bigee.net/s/g1wbf5 
  • Møller Ruby, Thobias (2012): Policy driven innovation – the role of energy saving obligations for energy distributors in Denkmark. Conference paper. DRUID Academy Conference 2012. 19th – 21st of January, 2012 Cambridge, UK. www.bigee.net/s/t1m6d1 
  • Staniaszek, Dan and Lees, Eoin (2012): Determining Energy Savings for Energy Efficiency Obligation Schemes. An eceee and RAP report. www.bigee.net/s/p8m4bj 
  • Togeby, Mikael; Dyhr-Mikkelsen, Kirsten; Larsen, Anders; Hansen, Morten Juel; Bach, Peter (2009): Danish energy efficiency policy: revisited and future improvements. ECEEE 2009 Summer Study. Act! Innovate! Deliver! Reducing Energy Demand Sustainably. Panel 2: Policy Implementation. www.bigee.net/s/62js1x 
  • Togeby, Mikael; Dyhr-Mikkelsen, Kirsten; Larsen, Anders E.; and Bach, Peter (2012): A Danish case: portfolio evaluation and its impact on energy efficiency policy. Energy Efficiency 5: 37–49.
  • The standard value catalogue, version 2.4, 1st April 2013, www.bigee.net/s/stt6ee (available only in Danish)


  • Location:

  • Types of policy:
    • Energy saving obligations for energy companies
    • Energy audits & advice & assistance during retrofit
    • Financial Incentives for ULEB and deep retrofits

  • Implementation period:
    2006 to 2020

  • Year of latest revision:

  • Title in original language:
    Energiselskabernes spareindsats

  • Part of the package:

Was this page helpful?   50% of our visitors found this helpful.