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The topic aims to increase the amount of private finance allocated to energy efficiency and small-scale renewable energy sources by establishing innovative financing schemes for investments in sustainable energy and/or engaging with financial institutions to develop financial products and adapt their investment practices.
Significant investments in energy efficiency and small-scale renewables need to be mobilised to achieve the ambition set by the European Green Deal and the objective to reduce EU dependence on fossil fuels imports set out in the REPowerEU Plan. The only way to deliver the necessary level of investments is to progressively maximise the mobilisation of private capital, using public funds as a catalyst and an enabling regulatory framework. This has been at the heart of the works of the Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group (EEFIG) and will remain a central objective of the upcoming High-Level European Energy Efficiency Financing Coalition. In addition, the Energy Efficiency Directive as proposed for revision provides that Member States facilitate the implementation of innovative financing schemes for energy efficiency and promote energy efficiency financial products. Moreover, National Energy and Climate Plans provide a solid framework for Member States to evaluate and report on investment needs and gaps to achieve their 2030 national energy and climate targets, including regarding the mobilisation of private investments.
While significant public sector expenditure is allocated to leverage private finance for energy efficiency and small-scale renewables (e.g. through the InvestEU facility), most private investors still view this type of investments as risky, complex and/or insufficiently profitable. This is due to the limited availability of investment opportunities which comply with the requirements of financial institutions in terms of size, scale, standardisation and transaction costs. There is a need to set up and roll-out private financing schemes which can be expanded and/or replicated at scale, and contribute to the national strategies to achieve the 2030 energy efficiency targets and the building renovation policy objectives. These schemes have to be adapted to the specificities of energy efficiency investment profiles, as well as those of small-scale renewables, in buildings, SMEs, district heating and other relevant sectors.
In parallel, there is a need to engage with financial institutions in order to change their approach to energy efficiency. Work is needed at the strategic level, in particular in relation to the EU’s sustainable finance policy and how energy efficiency can impact the sustainability and risk profiles of portfolios. At the operational level, there is a need to build capacity across the whole private finance value chain, from retail banking to capital markets, in order to adapt financial products and develop the market.Scope:
Proposals should clearly focus on tailored, market-oriented solutions to crowd in private finance at scale for sustainable energy investments, understood as investments in energy efficiency and/or small-scale renewable energy sources and storage.
Proposals are expected to focus on one of the two scopes below. The scope addressed should be specified in the introduction of the proposal.
Scope A: Innovative financing schemes
Proposals should set-up innovative financing schemes leveraging private finance for sustainable energy investments, with a dedicated and clear focus on energy efficiency, in at least 1 eligible country with a clear ambition and effort towards expansion in additional eligible countries. The financing scheme should be operational by the end of the project, whereas the related investments may be implemented after project completion.
The financing schemes can involve, for example but not limited to:
Proposals should take into account all the following elements:
Scope B: Mainstreaming sustainable energy finance
Proposals should address one or several of the following areas of work:
The proposed actions should have a strong component of engagement with the relevant stakeholders in the private finance value chain, including institutional investors, but also retail banking branches, brokers, fund managers, investment advisers, insurers, etc., in order to ensure adoption of the results by market players. Proposals should demonstrate support of the targeted stakeholder groups and how they will be involved throughout the project.
Proposals must be submitted by at least 3 applicants (beneficiaries; not affiliated entities) from 3 different eligible countries.
For Scopes A and B, the Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 1.5 million would allow the specific objectives to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.Expected Impact:
Proposals should present the concrete results which will be delivered by the activities, and demonstrate how these results will contribute to the topic-specific impacts. This demonstration should include a detailed analysis of the starting point and a set of well-substantiated assumptions, and establish clear causality links between the results and the expected impacts.
Proposals submitted under scope A should demonstrate how they will contribute to deliver adequately tailored innovative financing schemes that are operational and ready to finance investments, and the impact that this will have on investments in energy efficiency and small-scale renewables.
Proposals submitted under scope B should demonstrate how their proposed results will contribute to, depending on the focus of the activities: enhanced capacity and appetite of private financial institutions to invest in energy efficiency and small-scale renewable energy sources; adoption of new approaches, tools, labels and certification schemes; enhanced access to data related to financial and energy performance; evolutions in the regulatory and supervisory frameworks; easier identification of the alignment of sustainable energy investments to the criteria of the EU taxonomy of sustainable activities.
Proposals under both scopes should quantify their results and impacts using the indicators provided for the topic, when they are relevant for the proposed activities. They should also propose indicators which are specific to the proposed activities. Proposals are not expected to address all the listed impacts and indicators. The results and impacts should be quantified for the end of the project and for 5 years after the end of the project.
The indicators for this topic include:
For scope A:
For scope B:
Proposals should also quantify their impacts related to the following common indicators for the LIFE Clean Energy Transition subprogramme:
The Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group (EEFIG) (https://ec.europa.eu/eefig/index_en) analyses drivers and barriers for energy efficiency investments in buildings and industry, including adequate financing instruments.
Proposal for a Directive on energy efficiency (recast) COM(2021) 558 final.
As proposed for the revisions of the Energy Efficiency Directive (COM(2021) 558 final) and the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive COM(2021) 802 final, as well at the 2020 Renovation Wave Strategy COM(2020) 662 final.
Such schemes may originate outside or inside the European Union, including, for example, those developed and implemented under project development assistance (PDA) facilities under the Horizon 2020 (H2020) and Intelligent Energy Europe (IEE) programmes (including H2020 PDA or ELENA-EIB).
Activities related more broadly to the availability and interoperability of building energy data collected e.g. from energy performance certificates, energy audits, smart meters, are addressed more specifically under the topic LIFE-2023-CET-BETTERRENO.
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