The main aim of this debate was to guide and motivate regions and cities to aggregate small investments into bigger investment projects in order to maximise their feasibility and success for aggregated financing. The event was organised in two parts – policy panel with participation of Committee of the Regions, European Commission, FEDARENE, European Investment Bank and EASME and best practice examples session where examples will be presented from Austria, Croatia, Finland, France, Ireland and Slovenia. During the debate, consecutive translation was provided in English, French and Croatian. The event was moderated by Mislav Togonal, Croatian National Television. Take a look at the programme.
Welcome and opening session
The opening speeches were given by Krapina-Zagorje County Prefect, Mr Željko Kolar and European Commitee of the Regions and ENVE member, Mr Michel Lebrun.
Second session: the policy panel
How can regions (and energy agencies) aggregate energy projects and what can they expect from Brussels?
Anette Jahn, Head of the Energy Efficiency Finance Team, Energy Unit – EASME, while explaining how to mobilize private investments in the area of energy efficiency, specified that efforts should be focused on standardisation, on getting projects solid and robust and make them more attractive. Standardisation is a solution to build investors’ confidence; for instance the ICP Europe project is helping to accelerate this process.
Julije Domac, FEDARENE President and Director of North-West Croatia Regional Energy Agency, stated that for Energy Agencies it is crucial to maintain a good two-way communication with the EU Institutions. The EU has already recognized that energy agencies are entities that can deliver the projects and can exchange with one another, so it is pivotal to keep the dialogue open.
Ralf Goldmann, Head of Energy and Solid Waste Division within the Advisory Services, JASPERS Department of the EIB, explained how the technical assistance (such as the European Local Energy Assistance – ELENA) provided by the European Investment Bank supports cities and municipalities with preparation of sustainable energy projects.
Timothée Noël, DG Energy, firstly addressed the issue of what does Public-Private Partnerships mean in the domain of energy efficiency and also presented the reasons why Energy Performance Contracts still remain underused. He mentioned the work done by the Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group, which created an open dialogue and work platform for financial institutions, industry representatives and sector experts on how to overcome the challenges of obtaining long-term financing for energy efficiency.
Paul Kenny, Tipperary Energy Agency, addressed the topic of how can public authorities support the development of energy projects under difficult economic conditions. In this regard, energy agencies need to convince the policy makers that investments have been useful and positive for the energy performance of the country. Making a business cases for energy efficiency is the key.
During the Q&A session, the audience addressed the panelists questions ranging from the impact of EPC on Government accounts, to how to help first applicants to develop a strong project. A last remark from Mr Goldmann, who encouraged local authorities to come up with new ideas, explain their bottlenecks and let experts help them through the project application, concluded the debate.