1- In Amendment 27 relative to the eligibility of energy infrastructures (electricity, gas and oil), rapporteur Olbrycht requests funding for the construction and modernisation of transmission and distribution networks. According to Energy Cities, this idea is in contradiction with the general esprit of the Commission’s proposal and the rest of the report. We are convinced that implementing this proposal will be very costly, while undoing earlier efforts directed at energy efficiency and renewables. Instead of earmarking money for fossil fuel networks, the EU must send positive signals to those committed to a sustainable energy paradigm. Funding should be directed at demand management and decentralised renewables resources. Only limited equipments, such as transformers of electricity distribution grids and/or transformation of distribution grids into ’’collection and distribution’’ grids (smart grids) should be eligible. They have the potential to increase energy efficiency.
2 - Amendment 26 concerns ’’friendly and low-carbon transport system and sustainable urban mobility’’. Transport spending is of particular importance and it should, indeed, be made eligible. However, Energy Cities believes that only a part of these investments (related to energy efficiency / low carbon measures and to smaller projects) should be considered. Large infrastructure projects often take years, are money-consuming and can affect adversely the allocation of funding to EE and RES projects.
3- Energy Cities’ experience shows that public money (incl. through ERDF) is relatively badly used (in quantity and in quality) at local and regional levels. We therefore believe that ’’technical assistance’’ (i.e. financial engineering, ’’societal’’ engineering, visioning, human capacity building for example through local energy and climate agencies’’) has to be emphasized in the Cohesion Policy budget. A relatively small amount of money can help already to drive investments towards the right direction.
Last week, a €120 billion "Growth Pact" has been adopted by the EU Heads of State to boost the European economy. At least half of the sums will be recycled from existing regional policy funds. Local authorities committed to sustainable energy policies such as the Covenant of Mayors signatories should be given priority for funding: it would be a signal of recognition showing that their efforts matter. Their decentralised decisions and actions on energy provide growth in the most sustainable way, creating jobs, keeping the money in the municipality and region and reducing environmental impacts. (see Energy Cities’ Press release)
Read the draft report 2011/0275(COD) to be voted by the European Parliament