EU Energy Efficiency Funds Unclaimed

THE EUROPEAN Union (EU) has energy efficiency grants from a reallocated fund worth €8 billion which are still unclaimed, so reports a top European Commission official.

Marie Donnelly, director at the European Commission’s DG Energy told EuroActiv that the unclaimed funds are a concern to the EU as they are struggling to reach their target of a 20 percent reduction in energy use by 2020.

Donnelly says there are €8 billion still up available for cities to slash energy consumption.

"The recent change in regulation provides for up to 4% of the Cohesion Fund to be invested in energy efficiency.

“Eight billion Euros is available for this. It is not being used as quickly as we would like to see, for many reasons," she said.

As of the December 21 EuroActiv report that only €205 million of this funding had been reallocated against earlier budgeting provisions and claimed by EU member states.

Donnelly’s office will be holding meetings with European energy agencies and national managing authorities to look at ways of changing their operational programmes.

"Our calculations indicate that we are unlikely to achieve a 20 percent reduction on the current set of policies.

"It is a challenging target, not least because it means we have to 'decouple' economic growth from increasing consumption of energy," Donnelly told EuroActiv.

So far, she estimates that the EU has achieved energy consumption reductions of "somewhere between 9 and 11 percent."

Donnelly added the key challenges facing policymakers are how to reconcile the different levels of efficiency applied to different industries, and how to develop a European market in energy-efficiency companies (ESCO’s) which could increase public sector and industrial savings from energy efficiency, particularly in large buildings.

Energy Efficiency Action in 2011 will also target the area of energy and buildings, in particular raising awareness about the ESCO market.

"It has been very successful where it is known, but it is not known in all member states so we need to encourage its development.

"We have a new financial mechanism coming on-stream. As a result of the recovery package there will be about €146 million available for the renovation of buildings," Donnelly concluded.

Picture by Open Democracy

Tuesday 4th January 2011

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