The scale of what might change in the future has altered considerably. Against this background,the EUCF is becoming ever more important for a resilient future – a future, in which upgrade programmes of the EUCF will be essential for the success of the European Green Deal!
Diana Barglazan, (Policy Officer, Energy Efficiency, DG ENER, European Commission) opened in highlighting the role of local authorities, but also the need for support:
“There are many very good projects and initiatives. But many of them are quite small and scattered – we need to scale them up! Most of the best practices we look at come from cities, from the local authorities, from the local level” (Barglazan).
Particularly when looking at the recovery measures that are in the pipeline, it is important to bridge the gap between project promoters, project ideas and the financial world interested in financing large, mature projects. As a “very simple form of support to help the local authorities to develop their great ideas into investment projects; to turn a technical idea or project into a language that is easily understandable by the financial community; that is bankable,” the EUCF will boost sustainable energy investment projects and unlock private and public financing sources (Barglazan). This is a first step in the right direction but more is needed.
One idea would be a one – stop – shop for cities, as Claire Roumet (Energy Cities) suggested: In the current situation, several new facilities come to life:
“[…] the EC announced to launch an Investment Facility,[…]in the Just Transition Mechanism, we hear about a Public Loan Facility. Is there any plan to have a one-stop-shop for municipalities, where they can go to and just get EU funds for their entire SEAPS and roadmaps?”
The administrative and bureaucratic burden cities are facing when aiming at accessing EU funding is simply too high. The time to change has come. Tine Heyse, Deputy Mayor of Ghent and president of Climate Alliance furthermore stressed that
“Now, it´s time to act. The European Green Deal comes really at the right time. But, there are some elephants in the room and how to mobilize money is one of them!”
From the European Investment Bank, the European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) is a great tool supporting EU policies and municipalities. However, ELENA grants are normally in the range of EUR 2m for preparation, in addition “it is more about realizing the actual investment on the ground,” explains Louise White, Senior Engineer, Energy efficiency and small scale renewables division EIB. Particularly for small – and medium – sized municipalities, capacities and resources are not sufficient to receive support.
CONCLUSION / TO – DO – LIST
Have you missed the session? Check out the recording here.