Energy audits in Royal Decree 56/2016 of 12 February

Written on 29 Mar 2016

Royal Decree 56/2016 of 12 February partially transposes Directive 2012/27/EU of the European Parliament and Council in relation to energy audits, accreditation schemes for energy services providers and energy auditors, as well as promoting energy efficiency in production processes and the use of heat and cold.

On 13 February 2016 Royal Decree 56/2016, through which the Energy Efficiency Directive 2012/27/EU of 12 February was partially transposed, was published in the Official State Gazette. The regulation imposes the obligation to carry out energy audits for large companies that meet the following requirements: a) employ more than 250 workers or, b) have a turnover of more than 50 million Euros and a balance sheet exceeding 43 million Euros. Likewise, the regulation imposes this obligation upon groups of companies which fall within the remit of Article 42 of the Commercial Code that, taking into account the aggregate figures for all companies forming the consolidated group, fulfil the aforementioned requirements of a large company. While micro-companies and SMEs are exempted from the obligation to conduct energy audits, they may carry them out voluntarily.

The purpose of conducting these audits is none other than the detection of those operations within the power consumption processes that can contribute to the savings and efficiency of primary energy consumption as well as optimising the facility´s energy demand, with the goal of increasing energy efficiency by 20% within the framework of Horizon 2020.

The companies that find themselves within the scope of application of this regulation will be subject to an energy audit every 4 years as of the date of the previous audit. The application of which covers at least 85% of the total final energy consumption of the whole of the facilities located in national territory that form part of the industrial, commercial and service activities that the obliged companies manage in the development of their economic activity. To that effect, Supplementary Provision 1ª of the Royal Decree provides that these companies must carry out the first energy audit prior to 14 November 2016, unless they have carried out an audit meeting the requirements laid out by the Royal Decree after 5 December 2012. However, in Article 3, the regulation provides that those companies that, during at least two consecutive tax years following the entrance into force of Royal Decree 56/2016, comply with the condition of large companies (we understand that before the entry into force of the regulation they were not considered to be a large company), will be subject to the first energy audit within a period of 9 months (rather, 2 years and 9 months) so long as they have not previously undergone an audit within a period of less than 4 years.

The companies or groups of companies obligated may justify compliance with the obligation established in Royal Decree 56/2016 through the carrying out of an energy audit that fulfils the minimum guidelines regulated in Part 3 of Article 3 or through the application of a system of energy or environmental management, certified by an independent body, provided that the management system concerned includes an energy audit carried out in accordance with the minimum guidelines set forth in Part 3 of Article 3, which are detailed below:

  • They should be based on operational data updated, measured and verifiable, on energy consumption and, in the case of electricity, load profiles wherever they are available.
  • They will include a detailed examination of the profile of energy consumption of buildings or groups of buildings, of an industrial or commercial facility or a private or public service, including transportation within the facility or, where appropriate, fleets of vehicles.
  • They will be based, wherever possible, on criteria of profitability in the life-cycle cost analysis, rather than simple depreciation periods, so as to take into account long-term savings, residual values of long-term investments and discount rates.
  • They must be proportionate and sufficiently representative so that it is possible to draw a reliable picture of overall energy yield, and the most significant improvement opportunities can be reliably determined.

In order to monitor the degree of compliance with the commitments within the Horizon 2020 programme, the Administrative Record of Energy Audits under the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism was created, to which obliged companies must communicate the results of the audit undertaken within a maximum period of 3 months from its end. The information contained within this record will be public and free.

For its part, the regulation outlines the requirements for both energy auditors and companies providing energy services alike in connection with the desired training and professional experience, as well as qualifications and requirements for the exercise of the activity, among others.

Royal Decree 56/2016 states that the Autonomous Communities are responsible for verifying the correct implementation of the energy audit, as well as verifying that all applicable requirements are complied with. The sanctions for non-compliance carry fines of up to € 60,000,000, in accordance with that laid out in Law 18/2014 of 15 October, approving urgent measures for growth, competitiveness and efficiency.

Finally, the regulation devotes a chapter to regulating the assessment of the potential for high efficiency cogeneration and urban heating and cooling systems. The memorandum considers that its implementation will aim to provide information to investors regarding national development plans and contribute to a stable and supportive investment environment.