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Wednesday 15 April 2015

Juncker Plan: European Parliament decides to support local energy efficiency projects!

This was a great week for energy efficiency in the European Parliament. The ITRE committee (Industry, Research and Energy) voted the ring-fencing of EUR 5 billion (among the EUR 21 billion of EU guarantees) in the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI) to fund energy efficiency projects.

This means that one quarter of the EUR 315 billion of investment to be unlocked by the Juncker Investment Plan will be dedicated to energy efficiency. And because the ITRE committee has an exclusive competency on the decisions regarding the use of EU guarantees in EFSI, other parliamentary committees cannot suppress this amendment.

Besides, the text states that guarantees ring-fenced for energy efficiency shall “support projects promoted by cities and local governments” in priority. Cities in energy transition can therefore expect to be included in the Juncker Investment Plan.
The vote of the Committee also acknowledged the need for specific mechanisms to promote local projects and energy efficiency projects. Indeed, the voted amendments voted include a provision for the development of new mechanisms to aggregate and support smaller projects, notably those carried by cities, within the European Investment Advisory Hub (EIAH). This mechanism shall notably support decentralised energy efficiency projects. The ITRE Committee adopted an amendment that protects the funding of programmes that provide grants for research and innovation such as the Horizon2020 facility.

This result is a good signal for cities engaged in the energy transition, particularly as they are clearly recognised as the key promoters of energy efficiency projects. Energy Cities is engaged in the legislative process of the Juncker Investment Plan, and is working for the inclusion of cities.

Energy Cities’ Board notably met with MEP Kathleen Van Brempt, rapporteur on the EFSI for the ITRE Committee, to discuss this issue. We also issued a position paper that insists on the need to put “energy efficiency first” in investments, and to support the aggregation of small projects at the local level. Our advocacy efforts also included the support of the particular amendment that ring-fences EUR 5 billion for energy efficiency, in priority for city-led projects.

However, this vote is only a first step in the process of the implementation of the Juncker Investment Plan. And Energy Cities will keep encouraging the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Council to include local authorities in the Juncker Investment Plan to guarantee its success.

© photo Shutterstock



by Alix Bolle on 15 April 2015 / 1086 visits




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