The European Commission has agreed on a package of measures designed to ensure that the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is up and running early autumn. EFSI will be the launchpad for investment in the areas of our economy that need it most, mobilising €315 billion worth of investment over the coming years. This will be crucial for Energy Union – an ambitious project needing significant investment - and its goals to deliver secure, sustainable, competitive and affordable energy to citizens and businesses. Over €1 trillion may be needed for the energy sector by 2020.
Miguel Arias Cañete, Climate Action and Energy Commissioner said: "By 2030, we must improve our energy efficiency by at least 27%. And hopefully more, as I will work hard to go beyond the 'at least 27% figure'. But for that to happen we need to boost energy efficiency investment in Europe. EFSI can be a driver to plug the investment gap needed in Europe's energy transition to become the world's most energy-efficient economy. I'm very encouraged to see that the fund is already supporting strategic energy efficiency projects, and that many more low-carbon projects are in the approval pipeline. "
EFSI: not just money
EFSI will help energy projects access long term financing. Investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy and strategic infrastructure projects, such as gas and electricity grids, will be a key priority. This is particularly relevant for the energy efficiency sector, which has been suffering from chronic underinvestment. More than €100 billion will be invested every year to achieve the 2030 energy efficiency target: €89 billion in energy efficiency measures in buildings and some €19 billion to improve energy efficiency in industry. Current investments are below half of that.
A fund proven to work
The impact of this new guarantee fund is already visible. Five out of nine already approved projects in the infrastructure field relate to energy.
In France, the Fund financed a project to promote energy efficiency in the French housing. It funded regional and local initiatives on the energy renovation of private residential buildings. By improving the insulation of the buildings involved as well as renovating their heat generation, ventilation and distribution systems, the project will cut energy bills in more than 40,000 homes.
In Denmark, EFSI backed the creation of a Renewable Energy Fund; in Spain, it gave a long-term loan to a gas grid project and lent money for R&D activities of a renewables-oriented technology company. In Finland, it financed improvements in industrial processes of a Finnish pulp mill. And that’s not all: under EFSI, project promoters will receive the technical assistance they need to successfully prepare and financially structure their investments.