Yamina Saheb of the EC’s Joint Research Centre provides details of the interim report of an important new group of a wide range of institutions that are working together to address the need to increase the scale of energy efficiency investments across the EU. The interim report covers the buildings sector.
Energy Efficiency – the first fuel for the EU Economy
A new report on how to drive new finance for energy efficiency investments in the buildings sector has been released early this week by EEFIG.
The Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group (EEFIG) was established as a permanent working group by the European Commission, in late 2013, as a result of the dialogue between Directorate-General for Energy (DG Energy) and United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP-FI), as both institutions were engaging with financial institutions to determine how to overcome the well documented challenges inherent to obtaining long-term financing for energy efficiency.
The membership of EEFIG is comprised of 51 individuals drawn from the following organizations:
- Public and private financial institutions (banks, investors, insurers etc.);
- Banking associations and investor groups;
- Energy efficiency industry experts;
- Energy efficiency services representatives;
- Civil society experts representing diverse energy efficiency stakeholder groups;
- European Commission; and
- UNEP FI.
EEFIG was supported by Climate Strategy and Partners (www.climatestrategy.com) which was contracted to support the coordination and drafting of the interim report on behalf of EEFIG. This interim report of EEFIG represents the consolidated consensus and shared views of its expert members.
EEFIG meetings (from October to March) were convened and chaired by DG Energy.
The results of this process can be summarised as follows:
- EEFIG identifies a very strong economic and social rationale for the up-scaling of energy efficiency investments buildings in the EU as well as specific hurdles;
- EEFIG sees a strong economic opportunity for stakeholders, and the need to boost both the drivers of demand and supply of energy efficiency investments across all buildings market segments;
- Whilst there is no single solution, EEFIG identifies a framework of cross-cutting measures as well as individual requirements to support investments for each building market segment;
- 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.
In conclusion, EEFIG identified the following critical areas requiring policy intervention:
1. Existing Buildings Regulations should be fully implemented, harmonized and consistently enforced across EU Member States
2. Future Regulatory Pathways for EU Buildings should provide concerted and consistent regulatory pressure to improve buildings efficiency:
3. High quality decisions and low transaction costs can only be delivered by easily accessible data and standard procedures
4. Reporting, accounting and procurement procedures must facilitate, and not hinder, appropriate energy efficiency investments in public buildings
5. The “at-scale” energy efficiency upgrade of residential buildings can only happen with a concerted address of the specific investment demand and supply drivers of this segment and the engagement and alignment of retail distribution channels
6. The targeted address of energy efficiency investment supply and technical assistance through the smart deployment of Structural and Investment Funds 2014-2020 and Horizon 2020.
EEFIG suggests six specific recommendations to the European Commission:
1. Ensure effective transpositions of the existing EU Directives and effective local enforcement procedures regarding energy performance in buildings (incl performance certification)
2. Deliver regulatory stability for EE investment in building by providing long term regulatory visibility re energy efficiency especially in the context of the 2030 Climate and Energy package
3. Address the need for high quality buildings performance data and standards through Commission support of best practice policies and initiatives within Member States
4. Initiate process to remove accounting, reporting and procurement hurdles for investment in energy efficiency investments; create standard procurement procedures for EU public buildings
5. Benchmark and compare relative success of retail residential energy efficiency investment programmes in the Member States to ensure sharing and replication of standards and best practices
6. Ensure that MS connect the funding streams for national Buildings Renovation Roadmap (EED Art. 4) with financial instruments available in the context of structural funds/horizon 2020 to support energy efficiency, funds deriving from Energy Efficiency Obligation Schemes (Art. 7 EED) and funds from ETS.
The interim report is available here.
The final report is due by the autumn.