Recent changes adopted by the EU to the rules on Cohesion Policy investments in energy efficiency and renewable energies in the residential sector, were under the spotlight at a workshop held in Brussels on 19 June 2009. The European Commission and leading financial institutions organised the event to raise awareness of energy efficiency and renewable energy support schemes.
The European Economic Recovery Plan highlights energy efficiency investments as a win-win opportunity to support economic activity during the crisis and reduce energy costs. The amendment to Article 7 of the European Regional Development Fund Regulation is designed to support Member States in their recovery efforts.
The buildings sector is responsible for approximately 40 % of EU final energy consumption and 36% of EU CO² emissions. Residential buildings account for about 2/3 of this energy use and the corresponding emissions. This sector also has extensive untapped potential for cost-effective energy savings - 30% of the energy used in buildings could be saved by 2020. Investing in the building sector is essential to help achieve the EU's climate change, energy and job creation objectives. With the new regulation now in force, the challenge is to ensure that regions use the new possibilities to leverage greater support for clean energy and foster sustainable development.