Yesterday, the Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group (EEFIG) convened by the European Commission and UNEP Finance Initiative launched its final report Energy Efficiency – the first fuel for the EU Economy: How to drive new finance for energy efficiency investments. The international landmark study is the result of 16 months of work of more than 120 active participants representing finance, policy makers, the buildings sector, industry, SMEs and energy efficiency market participants.
European Commission Vice President, Maroš Šefčovič welcomed the launch. “I will strive to ensure that energy efficiency investment financing is looked at in our forthcoming policies and that this report will be used as inspiration for our further work.”
The report states that energy efficiency investment is the most cost effective manner to reduce the EU’s reliance, and expenditure, on energy imports costing over €400 billion a year. Today, this makes energy efficiency investments strategically important due to high levels of energy imports, energy price instability and the need for Europe to transition to a competitive low carbon and resilient economy. EEFIG’s members see energy efficiency investing as having a fundamental and beneficial role to play in the transition towards a more competitive, secure and sustainable energy system with an internal energy market at its core.
Maria van der Hoeven, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency which acted as the technical partner for the EEFIG work commented “Energy efficiency has played and continues to play a sizeable role in the development of the global economy. This is nowhere more evident than in financial markets where energy efficiency is establishing itself as an important segment. Policy makers and private markets need to work further to support this essential driver of energy efficiency investment.”
EEFIG participants believe that the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) should put energy efficiency first and that it is essential in the context of the Energy Union to reframe the role that energy efficiency plays in how Europe plans for, finances, and constructs its energy system.
Member States have a clear role to play in pursuing the necessary structural reforms, exercise fiscal responsibility, provide regulatory certainty and boost investment in support of jobs and growth. In this context, energy efficiency is the first fuel because it is competitive, cost effective to produce; it is widely available and delivers multiple benefits to project hosts and national economies.
For these reasons, EEFIG considers that the Investment Plan should include a clear focus on improving the energy productivity of Europe as a key driver of growth. In doing this, Europe can unlock the multiple benefits of energy efficiency investments including energy security, competitiveness, social and territorial cohesion, job creation, well-being and greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
High level support for the EEFIG’s work is in evidence in Europe and internationally.
UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said“Improving the energy efficiency of your business is an investment in itself. That’s the welcome message of this report for the UK’s businesses, who are already set to knock around £250 million off their energy bills thanks to our Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme.”
Felipe Calderón, Former President of Mexico and Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climatecommented “This report’s conclusion that scaling up energy efficiency is strategically and economically important for the European Union matches both my experience in government and the conclusion of the New Climate Economy initiative. Energy efficiency is already the biggest source of “new” energy supply, but large untapped potential remains in Europe. Implementing the report’s recommendations can support economic growth and help tackle climate change at the same time.”
Financial institutions involved include Credit Suisse Group, ING and BNP Paribas Investment Partners.
The development of the EEFIG report was supported by Climate Strategy & Partners @climatest. CEO Peter Sweatman acted as the group’s moderator, rapporteur and drafted the report.
Sweatman underlined that a historic level of public-private collaboration is required to deliver multiples of existing energy efficiency investment flows by 2030: “The EEFIG report identifies various financial instruments that need to be scaled up, and makes a strong case for using public funds to blend with private sector investment to address the risks and achieve the scale of financing needed”; he added “Our report connects the right financial instruments with enabling policies in specific sub-sectors for EU buildings, industry and for SMEs.”
Photo Credit: Energy Efficiency Financial Support/shutterstock