The EEFIG EUSEW23 Policy Session and the subsequent EEFIG Reception marked the closure of EEFIG’s initiative, after a decade of achievements and accomplishments. From the formal launch of EEFIG in 2013, the release of the EEFIG landmark report in 2015, the DEEP database and Underwriting Toolkit, to releasing eight working groups reports researched and written by selected expert groups. 2023 not only marks 10 years of working towards and accomplishing energy efficiency financing, but also the conclusion of EEFIG as we know it.
EEFIG EUSEW23 Policy Session
The EUSEW Policy Session focused on the final deliverables of EEFIG, which result from its last working groups on (a) applying the energy efficiency first principle in FIs, (b) stimulating consumer demand for energy efficiency investments and (c) collecting and monitoring data on energy efficiency investments and financing. It was clear that speakers and panel participants alike where proud to have been part of the EEFIG community. The session was moderated by Peter Sweatman, EEFIG Rapporteur.
Keynote speeches were provided by Claudia Canevari, Head on Unit, DG ENERGY, on behalf of Mechthild Wörsdörfer, Deputy Director-General of DG ENERGY, who could not attend the session due to an urgent commitment, and Roelfien Kuijpers, Global ESG Client Officer, DWS.
Claudia Canevari said in her keynote: “EEFIG has proven in the past ten years that, by working together, we can achieve high-quality results […]. I am confident that the EEFIG community will remain committed to this challenge and is ready to continue working with the Commission.”
Roelfien Kuijpers supported the statement in her keynote: “On behalf of DWS and the Steering Committee, I would like to congratulate all members of the EEFIG community for 10 years of excellent work. Energy security, extreme climate impacts, inflation and the cost-of-living crisis has made energy efficiency even more critical than it was a decade ago.”
Panel interventions were provided by Nives Della Valle, Scientific Project Officer, JRC, EEFIG WG on Stimulating demand for EE investments; Markus Seifert, Partner, D-fine, EEFIG WG on Monitoring data on EE investments and financing; and Frederik Nilzen, Head of Group Sustainability, Swedbank, EEFIG WG on Applying the energy efficiency first principle in sustainable finance.
Nives Della Valle said, on the split incentives preventing investments in renovation of rental property: “The challenge involves aligning incentives to ensure that the costs and benefits of energy efficiency measures are balanced for all stakeholders. This is especially important for vulnerable households who may face constraints in affording upfront costs or accessing loans for energy renovations and in deciding to renovate. It is important for policy makers to design the best possible incentive structure. The benefits for the tenants should be made very visible at the point of decision.”
On the argument that there is insufficient data to act, Markus Seifert said: “Investments in energy efficiency is key to reach climate goals. Data on actual energy efficiency investments is available by many institutions and projects. IEA, EIB, and others use these data sets for estimating investments. We do have enough data to act, but we have to think of who collects and distributes the data on a European level.”
Lastly, Fredrik Nilzen commented on applying the Energy Efficiency First principle in sustainable finance in Swedbank: “In 2007 we put out the first consumer loan with the purpose of driving EE, but the take-up was low due to low energy prices and an energy mix which did not enable decarbonisation as a key argument. Last year we put this at the centre of our business strategy, and we are looking at a potential for 50% improvement in the housing sector. The banks can act as an important partner, but key is an attractive value proposition, which means low prices compared to other products in the market. When that is provided demand is there as we can see in our Baltic markets.”
The view on EEFIG as a solid foundation for the ongoing Coalition was further supported by Mechthild Wörsdörfer, deputy director general for DG ENER, who earlier that day in her opening statement for the EUSEW EE day made strong references to the work of EEFIG:
“As I said, a second element out of this regulatory framework, which is there to create the right conditions and the structural changes needed, is the financing. And there is a huge financial challenge to make that happen. We analysed that we have, until 2030, an investment gap of at least €165 billion per year on the energy efficiency financing needs.”
“And you will hear more about this thoughout the day, but let me also underline that we are in cooperation with financial institutions, which is really essential. In this regard, the Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group – known as EEFIG – has, over the past ten years, pioneered and strengthened this cooperation with financial institutions. We believe that by working together, policy makers, energy companies and financial institutions can look at technical bottlenecks for investments in energy efficiency. We all know that in order to make a step in financing for energy efficiency a lot of smaller projects have to be done […]. In order to make a change you need to aggregate, to look at risks and work together with financial institutions”
The EEFIG legacy
In continuation of the EUSEW23 session, the participants were invited to join a celebration of a decade of achievements and accomplishments of EEFIG.
Peter Sweatman, EEFIG rapporteur, opened the event. He noted that: “EEFIG has identified and documented the key issues driving and preventing energy efficiency investments, it has produced tools to support investors and financial institutions identify and put energy efficiency first, and it has fully answered the key questions about the role of and potential for financial institutions in energy efficiency. EEFIG uncovered the power of cooperation between policy making and financial institutions on energy efficiency and its achievements are just the starting point for important work to come.”
Hans van Steen, Principal Adviser, DG Energy expressed his appreciation with a threefold thank you:
First, to UNEP FI, our EEFIG co-convenor he said: “It was a pleasure to count on your support, project the importance of energy efficiency worldwide, and we look forward to continuing our cooperation in the future.”
Second, dedicated to the EEFIG community, he said: “On behalf of the European Commission, I would like to thank you for your engagement and the countless hours you dedicated to EEFIG.”
And finally, his last message was dedicated to the energy and finance stakeholders and all the audience at the EUSEW session: “We need to mobilise ourselves to make sure the Union will be able to deliver on its energy transition, its decarbonisation path, while improving its energy security and competitiveness. We need as much cooperation as possible, and I urge you to stay engaged with the Commission in this regard.”
Peggy Lefort, Pollution and Circular Economy Lead at UNEP FI, represented that institution in the event, highlighting the current activities of UNEP FI and celebrating the achievements of EEFIG in the past 10 years.
See the accomplishments of EEFIG
- Paskelbimo data
- 2023 m. birželio 27 d.
- Directorate-General for Energy