The European Commission has provided fresh funding to continue the work of the European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) facility, implemented by the European Investment Bank (EIB). Under the new agreement, the initiative will support projects across its sustainable energy (€30 million) and sustainable transport (€5 million) portfolios. This will further stimulate investments in energy efficiency, especially in buildings, heat networks, street lighting and clean urban transport. The EIB will ensure the selection of high-quality projects and will lend its expertise to assist with their successful implementation.
Reducing energy consumption is a central objective of the European Green Deal, which aims to cut the European Union’s energy needs by 32.5% by 2030. The State of the Union 2020 indicated a drive to increase this ambition, for instance via policy initiatives such as the Renovation Wave. Around 40% of all energy across the European Union is used in the building sector. The goal of the Renovation Wave is to double annual energy renovation rates in the next ten years. This ties in with ELENA’s third project portfolio – sustainable residential – which aims to invigorate large-scale refurbishment of the vast housing stock. It has a dedicated €97 million budget for technical assistance to make energy efficiency more attractive to private investors.
Across its three portfolios, ELENA has established itself as the go-to support facility for both public and private sector energy efficiency projects. Its hundreds of beneficiaries include central, regional and local government authorities, energy agencies and one-stop shops, banks and other financial intermediaries, and private entities.
“Accelerating energy efficiency investments in all sectors is crucial, if we want to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate climate change,” said Thomas Östros, EIB Vice-President in charge of energy. “Over the past 11 years ELENA has shown that sound technical support is important for investment mobilisation and project implementation. I warmly welcome the continued trust of the European Commission and I am confident that our experts will identify projects in which ELENA grants will make a real difference. It is joint efforts like these that pave Europe’s path to a sustainable future.”
European Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, said: “Energy efficiency first is the guiding principle of the EU’s energy policy and a central tenet of the European Green Deal: the cleanest energy is the energy we do not use. In addition to being green, investment in renovation, heating, lighting and clean transport will also bring tangible improvements to people’s lives. Working with EIB and ELENA ensures that the best projects are being deployed close to the citizens.”
The European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) facility was launched in 2009 and has supported some 120 projects ever since. It has disbursed more than €200 million in grants and enabled over €7 billion of investment.