Spanish Royal Decree 56/2016 of 12 February, transposing Directive 2012/27/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on energy efficiency as regards energy audits, the accreditation of energy service suppliers and auditors, and the promotion of efficiency in the supply of energy

1. The Royal Decree 

On 13 February, the anticipated Royal Decree transposing the European Directive on Energy Efficiency was published, providing a boost in several domains: energy audits, the accreditation of energy service suppliers and auditors, and the promotion of efficiency in the supply of energy.

Energy efficiency implies a reduction of power consumption, energy dependency on external sources and imports of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, it is intended to be a key factor to achieve the objectives set by the European strategy in terms of sustainable growth as of 2020. 2. Energy Audits

Who is obliged to carry out energy audits?

The Royal Decree sets forth the obligation to perform energy audits for those companies with more than 250 workers or with a turnover above fifty million euros and a general balance exceeding 43 million Euros, as well as for groups of companies, excluding micro-enterprises and SMEs.

What are these audits about?

Firstly, the audits shall cover at least 85 per cent of the total energy use for such companies’ whole facilities located in Spain and must be performed at least every four years.

So, according to the Royal Decree, the completion period for companies is nine months so as to perform the first of the audits, hence they would have to be done before 14 November 2016.

The audits must be carried out by professional energy auditors who meet the qualification requirements set by the Royal Decree, notwithstanding the fact that qualified internal staff may also perform them.

3. Energy services suppliers

Who can be an energy auditor?

The Royal Decree sets the requirements for the professional practice of energy services suppliers, which shall certify their energy qualification by means of a university degree or vocational training. Moreover, it shall also be possible to prove such qualification by certifying their theoretical and practical professional competence.

Likewise, it also makes provision for the energy services suppliers to take out compulsory civil liability insurance, which may infringe the provisions of Act 17/2009, of 23 November, on free access to service activities and their practice, whose article 21.1 enables the requirement for mandatory insurance for damages the services may cause, provided this obligation is set in a rule equivalent to a Law.

The IDAE's website shall include a list with the authorised providers of energy services.

4. Inspections and penalty system 

The body of the Autonomous region in charge of Energy Efficiency shall inspect the successful completion of energy audits, as well as ensure and check their quality.

What are the possible consequences for a failure to comply with the requirements included in the Royal Decree?

In case the company does not perform the required energy efficiency audit, sanctions may amount up to €100,000. If it is performed but does not reach the relevant requirements and minimum criteria legally or statutorily set out, sanctions may amount to €30,000.

5. Entry into force 

The RD 56/2016 entered into force on 15 February 2016.