EU cogeneration lobby group calls for logic to prevail in efficiency ring-fencing debate

The Managing Director of Europe’s cogeneration lobby has emphasized the importance of enabling investment package funds in a bid to promote energy efficiency in the European Union.

Fiona Riddoch‘s comments came in response to the news that Socialist and Green members of the European Parliament are in line to see their efforts to ring-fence up to €5bn of Juncker Plan investor risk guarantees for energy efficiency projects defeated.
Fiona Riddoch
The opposition to ring-fencing for energy efficiency represents a serious obstacle for one of the main pillars of Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker’s Energy Union policy.

COGEN Europe chief Riddoch told COSPP, “Energy efficiencyà‚ is becoming the main dimension of the Energy Unionà‚ Strategyà‚ and it is logical that investment package funds should be used to support energy efficiency investments in industries and cities, such as CHP.”

“Whatever final form the European Fund for Strategic Investments takes, it is crucial that all projects and particularly those linked to smart cities and the SMEs-mid caps projects can bid and get support from Europe. This will not only boost growth and jobs but also curb greenhouse gas emissions and render heat and power more affordable.”

On 14 April, the Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy Committee will vote on the European Fund for Strategic Investments, the legislation implementing the Juncker Plan.

Two separate amendments have been tabled to reserve money for energy efficiency, including one from the lead MEP on the bill, Belgian Socialist Kathleen Van Brempt.

But the European People’s Party (EPP), the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), and the Liberals (ALDE) won’t vote for the changes next Tuesday, according to Euractiv.

The investment plan is to use €16 billion of EU money and €5 billion of funds from the European Investment Bank as risk guarantees. These guarantees should unlock up to €315 billion of private and public investment over the next three years, according to the European Commission.

Adrian Joyce, secretary general of EuroACE and campaign director of Renovate Europe told Euractiv, “As recently pointed out by Copenhagen Economics in its paper on The role of building renovation in the EU investment strategy the three key objectives of the Juncker Investment Plan can be readily achieved through investment in building renovation, given that building renovation projects represent ‘shovel ready’ investments with a quick roll-out and high rate of return on societal benefits, fully in line with EU objectives.”

“It is therefore rational that a portion of the European Fund for Strategic Investments be ringfenced for investment in energy efficiency.”

Despite that rationale, the EPP, the Parliament’s largest grouping, argues that the market should determine which projects get finance from the flagship project. The Liberal ALDE group believes ringfencing will be too narrow and not flexible enough, while the ECR, the third largest group after the Socialists & Democrats, are also opposed.

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