Energy efficiency is a key element to meet the EU energy and climate targets for 2020 and 2030, and to achieve a climate neutral economy by 2050. In order to meet the climate and energy targets this Working Group endeavoured to identify potential actions, strategies and initiatives to scale up the energy efficiency financing in the context of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027.
The objectives of the Working Group were to:
- Identify main barriers, challenges and opportunities in the energy efficiency financing and investment market;
- Identify a list of actions, initiatives, strategies and assess their potentials in terms of effectiveness to upscale energy efficiency investments;
- Produce an updated list and assessment of the most appropriate funding mechanisms in the EU MFF 2021-2027;
- Analyse and draw conclusions on how the financial architecture of the MFF 2021-2027 works;
- Prepare the final working group report with conclusions and recommendations.
Timeline of WG activities
- March 22, 2021The first Working Group meeting: preliminary scoping
- September 22, 2021The second Working Group meeting on key funds, instruments, and challenges with a focus on the Recovery and Resilience Facility
- April 6, 2022The third Working Group meeting on key funds, instruments and challenges with a focus on ERDF/CF and P4EE
- April 27, 2022The fourth and final Working Group meeting with a focus on the draft conclusions and draft cross-cutting recommendations
- May 30, 2022Draft Final Report
- December 15, 2022Final Report
- June 2023Published report
Limited public funds should act as a catalyst for private finance and the risk of crowding out private finance should be minimized: this calls for increased use of blending of private commercial loans with public grants, public guarantee facilities, and public funds for enabling activities including facilitation and advisory.
A lack of effective mechanisms to combine financing sources from grants and financial instruments was repeatedly identified as a major implementation barrier for the MFF 2014-2020, where several NPBs have faced difficulties in combining support with EU structural funds, e.g. due to legal framework challenges and eligibility criteria. The 2021-2027 program aims to simplify and extend options for combining financial instruments and grants and allows also for disbursement of the combined support directly to final recipients.
The new Commission and EIB initiative on a model financial instrument with a grant component ("EEFI") combining grants with loans in a single financial instrument operation is expected to be instrumental for rolling out further energy efficiency investments at Member State level at a higher speed.
Financial instruments/grant combination and increased financial instrument uptake cannot stand alone. Increased focus is needed on the actual preparation of project pipelines, investor commitments and implementation at Member State level. Complementary support in the form of technical assistance (TA) and advisory support grants for developing project pipelines of mature projects for implementation, as well as for administration of projects is thus very much needed to turn this situation towards more co-financing and private sector finance in general. Other types of best practices on TA include 'centres of excellence', ELENA TA facilities or one-stop shop (OSS) as entry points at national or regional level, along with the ability to easily combine financial instruments and grant products with separate guarantee instruments.
The regulatory ecosystem for sustainable finance (the EU Taxonomy Regulation, the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation SFRD, and the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive CSRD) is an important framework for channeling private sector investments towards sustainable activities. Separately, mainstreaming of the energy efficiency first criteria in public and private financial institutions is an important policy objective, but embedding the criteria in regulatory frameworks such as the EU Taxonomy may require separate efforts for priority activities such as renovation of existing buildings.
In terms of mobilising private sector financing for buildings, it will be very important that public FIs (EU, international and public national financial institutions, including national promotional banks), and private FIs (banks, pension funds, insurance companies, large asset managers and other specialised investors) all provide a credible commitment to integration of the energy efficiency first principle in the lending and investment policies and operational activities. As a source of inspiration for how this can be done is the actual implementation of the Energy Efficiency First Principle by the EIB.
Dinne Smederup Hansen
Dinne has almost 30 years of experience from public administration and consultancy in the field of energy and climate change policy, EU funds and finance.
Carsten has 30 years’ experience in management consultancy, as CFO for an energy company, and as investment fund manager. He has extensive experience in energy efficiency and renewable energy finance.