Energy efficiency investments are the most cost-effective way to reduce the EU’s reliance, and expenditure, on energy imports costing over €400 billion a year. Today, this makes energy efficiency investments strategically important due to high levels of energy imports, energy price instability and the need for Europe to transition to a competitive low carbon and resilient economy. Energy efficiency investing has the key role to play in the transition towards a more competitive, secure and sustainable energy system.
In 2015, the Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group (EEFIG) launched report “Energy Efficiency – the first fuel for the EU Economy: How to drive new finance for energy efficiency investments”. This report is the result of 16 months of work of over 120 active participants representing finance, policy makers, the buildings sector, industry, SMEs and energy efficiency market participants forming EEFIG – an expert working group co-convened by the European Commission and UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEP FI). The report was launched at the conference coorganised between EEIP, ACE and the European Commission.
Now the work continues. EEIP participation is led by new EEIP Chairman Rod Janssen.
The objectives of the continuing work are:
- development of a strong database and dataset of real performance of energy efficiency investments (allowing to build the EE investment story on evidence)
- working out an industry-accepted method for reading the data in meaningful way
- joint elaboration of modelling tools/scenarios allowing for proper reflection of EE fundamentals (creation of liquidity, appreciation of asset value) in market practise of finance industry, led by the industry itself
- definition of a commonly agreed framework for underwriting procedures that would enable reducing transaction costs, increasing trust towards energy efficiency investments and allow for higher private capital participation.
In the report, EEFIG identifies the critical success factors, policies, market instruments and financing solutions to increase energy efficiency investments in Europe in the buildings, industry and SME sectors. On the launch event European Commission Vice President, Maroš Šef?ovi? said the following: "Investing into energy efficiency measures in buildings, industry and in SMEs is fundamentally important for Europe. I will strive to ensure that energy efficiency investment financing is looked at in our forthcoming policies and that this Report will be used as inspiration for our further work."
Under Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UNEP, Achim Steiner underlines that: "Scaling up energy efficiency investment has become an economic imperative with a strong social, environmental and competitive rationale. And while European industry remains a global leader in energy efficiency, investment flows in the sector remain sub-optimal. Only half of the estimated 60 -100 billion Euros annual investment required to achieve Europe's 2020 energy efficiency targets in buildings is being met. The joint efforts by the EU and UNEP's FI to build a healthy dialogue among stakeholders and disseminate know-how has the potential to unleash private investment to the scale required to meet future ambitions and obligations."
Banks and long-term investor members of EEFIG also welcomed the report: Urs Rohner, Chairman of Credit Suisse Group AG said "Our research demonstrates that Europe can probably save another 10 to 15% of energy by 2030 with appropriate energy efficiency measures. Energy efficiency investment benefits Europe’s environmental as well as economic growth targets by conserving resources and reducing costs. We see investor interest in energy efficiency escalating rapidly in particular around the transition to sustainable buildings, with great opportunities ahead for green building-related businesses".
Fostering energy efficiency investments is a driver of competitiveness, economic value, innovation and employment across the European Union. The benefits are:
- Strong economic, social and competitive rationale for the up-scaling of energy efficiency investments in industry and buildings in the EU;
- Boosting both the drivers of demand for and supply of energy efficiency investments in buildings and industry sub-segments offers a strong economic opportunity
- Whilst there is no single solution, EEFIG identifies a framework of cross-cutting measures as well as individual requirements to support investments for each market segment, while noting national differences especially in low income countries;
- In its analysis of the different tools and approaches, EEFIG identifies those which can be led by market stakeholders and those which must be policy-led. Both require work in parallel to deliver the targeted increase in energy efficiency investments;
- For industry EEFIG develops separate analysis and recommendations to policy makers and market participants to increase energy efficiency investment rates and flows;
- EEFIG concludes by highlighting seven key themes which emerge from both buildings and industry and SME analysis and provide the European Commission with final recommendations for its consideration.
About Dusan Jakovljevic
Dusan Jakovljevic is co-founder and Director of Policy & Communications of Energy Efficiency in Industrial Processes (EEIP). Educated at the London School of Economics, Dusan has been working in EU public affairs and energy policy since 1999 in London and Brussels. Advocating broadest collaborations among energy transition actors, Dusan supports over 40 associations at Tw4SE (Twitter for Sustainable Energy), and is the engagement expert at DecarbEurope (EEIP is one of over 20 members).