European Energy Commissioner Gnther Oettinger said: “This is an example of how an idea presented during last year’s Covenant of Mayors Ceremony is now a reality and having an impact on the ground. ELENA is a chance for cities and regions to help themselves by implementing Sustainable Energy Action Plans that create jobs, and at the same time help Europe as a whole meet its climate goals. After the strong response from cities and regions, we intend to double available ELENA funding to EUR 30 million.”
Urban areas represent around 70% of the energy consumption of the EU, yet the scope for sustainable energy related investments remains largely unused. The ELENA facility is designed to help cities and regions unlock this potential by providing technical assistance to structure and implement projects in the most efficient way so they can attract finance from local banks or other sources, such as EIB. The technical assistance is funded from the Intelligent Energy Europe II (IEE) programme.
More than 200 cities or regions have already sought concrete information about the programme. The EUR 500 mn Barcelona project is alone projected to save 280 GWh of energy each year and reduce CO2 emissions annually by the equivalent of 170,000 to 200,000 tonnes. Four other projects are being finalised which are expected to unlock a further EUR 500 mn of investment over the next 12 months.
Technical assistance, supported by the ELENA facility, can be provided to a local or regional authority or another public body or a grouping of such bodies coming from the countries participating in the IEE programme with a strategy to curb their CO2 emissions. The investment programmes supported by the facility shall contribute to achieving the 20-20-20 objectives.