Baia Mare, Maramures (RO), 2 October 2014
Regions4GreenGrowth provides recommendations on how to boost investments in RES & EE
“The European Union (EU) aims to get 20% of its energy from renewable sources (RES) by 2020, as well as to cut 20% of Europe’s annual primary energy consumption”. (Source: EC website.)
The stakes are high, but unfortunately, the fact is that public and private stakeholders willing to invest in sustainable energy hardware and infrastructure often have difficulties attracting financial means to support their investments. The private financial sector is often hesitant to invest in sustainable energy and while public funding is an alternative or complementary source for these investments, the volume of national financial support schemes in most EU countries is limited and difficult to acquire. As such, Regions with the ambition to be leaders in sustainable energy must therefore create innovative instruments and facilities to generate these financial flows and investments in their territory.
This is the challenge that the Regions4GreenGrowth (R4GG) INTERREG IVC project has tackled over the last 36 months. The exchange of good practices and the transfer of proven models to boost and channel investment were an essential part of the project. Moreover, R4GG applied the Assembly of European Regions (AER) Peer Review methodology that involves several partners visiting a partner region to provide concrete recommendations on policy improvement.
Today, in Maramures (RO), the 15 partners met to exchange on the project’s results and discuss how to overcome the main challenges to the widespread implementation of sustainable energy projects.
1. Regional stability, transparency and commitment have a major role in the success of RES and EE projects. Examples of promoting this type of commitment include joining international platforms, using green pubic procurement schemes or public finance participation into projects (in the form of various PPP models)
2. Setting up a regional EE/RES triple helix: This approach allows a common endeavour of Academia, Government and Business which unleashes the regional innovative potential. It stimulates the development of optimal synergies between the public and the private sector, capitalises on the technical expertise of the academic excellence of the territory and promotes a clear and transparent evaluation of the outcomes.
3. Developing tailor-made schemes to support RES and EE Entrepreneurs: In this respect regional Energy Funds can be set up to empower and meet the needs of RES and EE projects. In complement to this, co-funding, loans and venture capitals should be preferred to subsidies in order to promote the creation of a market and business opportunities.
4. Creating a favourable and stable investment climate: Innovative and market oriented start up and spin off companies set up with the support of the region could attract private investors interested in RES. In order to ensure that a long-term perspective is taken into account, a certain degree of coordination at international (or interregional when possible) level when it comes to support schemes and legislation is highly appreciated by market players.
5. Increasing awareness on RES and EE: RES and EE knowledge generation and dissemination go hand in hand with the availability of technical assistance on funding opportunities, thanks to extensive networks or energy advisory services. Moreover, enhancing awareness of the benefits of pursuing a sustainable energy strategy among kids, students and citizens will add to the establishment of a RES and EE culture, which can both help locals to develop entrepreneurial skills and attract SMEs in the energy sector.
Further work on the Energy field
The obstacles to the widespread of RES and EE projects remain and energy is today more than ever a major geopolitical issue. Councillor Kenneth Backgard, AER Committee 1 Vice-president for Rural development, Energy and Environment (Norrbotten-SE), will lead a political report on Energy Security. Soon AER members will get all the information about this report.
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