Regions find alternative methods of financing the essential energy programmes that are necessary to achieve the EU 2020 energy targets, a new AER survey on green growth shows.
AER survey on green growth published!
A new survey on green growth by the Assembly of European Regions (AER), presented today, highlights the importance of regional investment in energy projects. Based on contributions from 27 AER members from 17 countries, the report shows diverse and non-standard essential funding solutions that regions already use to achieve the EU 2020 energy goals. While developing energy policies, regional governments foster investment by providing long-term policy guarantees, offering predictable incentive schemes, developing innovative partnerships and addressing non-economic barriers such as administrative hurdles, obstacles to grid access, lack of relevant information, appropriate training and social acceptance issues. If not accurately addressed, these barriers might increase the risk of investment, raise the overall cost of energy projects and ultimately limit the effectiveness of public support.
Examples provided by AER survey respondents show that the sub-national level excels in breaking investment barriers. They also confirm that thinking out of the box is the best source of energy innovation. Energy performance contracting allows many regions to reinvest financial gains made out of energy savings in new energy activities. Voluntary sectoral agreements signed between the industry and Wallonia (B) region offer quicker, simpler and less burdensome administrative procedures for those companies that fully comply with the EU Emission Trading Scheme requirements. The “e5” project implemented in Lower Austria (A) shows how to effectively promote the concept of sustainability by stimulating a healthy competition between municipalities through energy efficiency label system. The projects “Energy is all around us” from Vojvodina (SRB) and “Energiochi” from Abruzzo (I) led to reinforced awareness of energy issues among the youth, a generation who will have to deal with emerging energy challenges.
When speaking of the results of the AER survey on green growth, President of the Assembly of European Regions, Michèle Sabban, stated that; “The challenge remains to make investment and investment tools as accessible as possible for Regions. We have for instance to make sure that EU funds for regional and local energy agencies, created under the Europe Intelligent Energy Program, will be prolonged for the new financial period after 2013. Therefore the European Regions Energy Day serves as a reminder of the efforts yet needed to be made.”
Regions are finally aware of the opportunities provided by the EU funds: 75% of respondents stated that they use these funds in order to secure the development of cheaper, cleaner more reliable energy technologies in their territories. Next step will be to share with regional authorities the huge potential they could also gain from facilitating programmes such as Elena, Jessica and Jaspers, set up by the EC and the European Investment Bank and not yet used by regions: AER takes up the challenge to help regions learn about these tools and make the best use of them.
Full report available here:
For more information: [email protected]
Photo credits: Adama @ unsplash.com https://unsplash.com/@adamara