The intensity of focus on energy efficiency is building. One recent example helps to illustrate this fact: “Financing energy efficiency in Germany, France and Austria Frankfurt” was convened on Dec. 5 in the German city of Frankfurt am Main. This event was organized as part of the EU’s ‘Sustainable Energy Investment Forums’ contract, which is funded under the EU Horizon 2020 program and managed by the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. It was organized by the European Commission, in partnership with the German Ministry of Economics and Energy, and the UN Environment Program’s Finance Initiative.
The event of Dec. 5 aimed to stimulate a debate between and among leaders of the finance community, policymakers and key customers of energy efficiency services and technologies. It also was designed to show the relevancy of energy efficiency for achieving the EU's and national energy and climate goals. This event was organized in order to illuminate the growing investment needs in the different sectors – private and public buildings, industry and SMEs as well as transport. It did so, in part, by identifying “good practice” examples of how to tap associated business opportunities.
Welcoming the delegates to the opening of the program was the Director General of the Germany Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, Thorsten Herdan. He was followed by Dr. Claus Stickler, Managing Director and Co-Lead of Allianz Investment Management, who spoke about the strategies which encourage and enable sustainable finance.
One of the lead partners behind this December event, and others that were convened during 2018, was ManagEnergy. This is a special initiative focused on one key actor which has significant role to play in the future of EU energy efficiency: EU-based energy agencies. ManagEnergy offers a variety of services – all of them aimed at providing those EU-based energy agencies with help as they work to become more effective, across a wide range of activities.
What kinds of projects are currently being undertaken? Consider one example in France: The Energy and Climate Department of IAU-IDF (Institut d’aménagement et d’urbanisme de la région Île-de-France http://www.iau-idf.fr/en/about-us/who-we-are/a-foundation.html), launched a project to support local authorities. The focus was to help these governments as they define and implement strategies for enabling public building renovations. As a first step, an energy audit of representative municipal buildings and of associated energy contracts was carried out. In parallel, a survey of major stakeholders was conducted – to understand better incentives and other levers available to energy projects (energy efficiency, energy renovation, renewables). Among the major stakeholders interviewed were mayors, technicians, bankers, energy professionals.
This work is now an integral part of a new regional energy strategy adopted by and for the Île-de-France region, which includes within itself more than 30% of French GDP and 4.5% of the European GDP (according to 2017 data from Eurostat).. It aims to develop and strengthen renewable energy projects in the region. The target is increasing the percentage of renewables within region’s total energy consumption mix, from the current 5% to a minimum of 20%. The second target is to increase renovation of public buildings. Both of these key objectives are now embedded within the Île-de-France region’s ambitious plans for air quality and energy and climate.
NB: Some readers may know ARENE in France. It is now operated as the Energy and Climate Department of IAU (land planning regional institute).