European Commission expands commitment to energy efficiency with €35 million funding

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The European Commission has expanded its commitment to energy efficiency in buildings by increasing funding to the European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) programme.

ELENA will be implemented by the commission in partnership with the European Investment Bank to support sustainable energy projects with €30 million ($36 million) in funding and €5 million ($6 million) in funding to boost sustainable transport initiatives.

The funding aims to improve energy efficiency in buildings, heat networks, street lighting and clean urban transport.

The funds will be allocated to central, regional and local government authorities, energy agencies and one-stop shops, banks and other financial intermediaries, as well as private entities.

Since the launch in 2009, ELENA has supported some 120 projects, issued more than €200 million ($241 million) in grants and enabled over €7 billion ($8.4 million) in investment.

The European Union has set a target to reduce energy demand by 32.5% by 2030.

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The bloc aims to increase energy buildings especially in buildings, which account for 40% of all energy, by increasing funding and through the adoption of clean energy policies such as the Renovation Wave.

Thomas Östros, EIB vice-president in charge of energy, said: “Accelerating energy efficiency investments in all sectors is crucial, if we want to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate climate change.

“Over the past 11 years ELENA has shown that sound technical support is important for investment mobilisation and project implementation. I warmly welcome the continued trust of the European Commission and I am confident that our experts will identify projects in which ELENA grants will make a real difference. It is joint efforts like these that pave Europe’s path to a sustainable future.”

European Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, adds: “Energy efficiency first is the guiding principle of the EU’s energy policy and a central tenet of the European Green Deal: the cleanest energy is the energy we do not use. In addition to being green, investment in renovation, heating, lighting and clean transport will also bring tangible improvements to people’s lives. Working with EIB and ELENA ensures that the best projects are being deployed close to the citizens.”