The Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund are the financial instruments of EU regional policy, aiming to narrow the development disparities among regions and Member States by pursuing economic, social and territorial cohesion. Under the programs notified for the current 2007-2013 and for the planned 2014-2020 programming period, allocations are made for energy efficiency, co-generation and renewable energies.
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The Commission Staff Working Document describing the Financial Instruments in Cohesion Policy shows how around 5% of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) allocations of the current programming period were committed to different types of financial instruments by the end of 2010. Almost 400 funds were set up, including assistance for urban development, energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. A list of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funds for urban development, energy efficiency and energy savings can be found in Financial Engineering Instruments Implemented by Member States with ERDF Contributions Synthesis Report.
Amending Regulation (EC) No 1080/2006 on the European Regional Development Fund as regards the eligibility of energy efficiency and renewable energy investments in housing, adopted in 2009, today allows for up to 4% of each Member States’ ERDF allocation to be used to co-finance national, regional and local schemes related to energy efficiency and renewable energies in existing housing with the view to supporting social cohesion. A mid-term review of the use of Structural Funds for the energy efficiency and renewable energy measures in existing housing provides examples of successful use of Structural Funds for energy efficiency in housing. An overview of Financial instruments for energy efficiency in housing - Experience to date with JESSICA and cohesion policy 2014-2020 can also be found on BUILD UP.
In 2007 four new financial instruments were set up to provide technical assistance including JESSICA, a financial instrument for urban development. Through a series of Country evaluation and thematic or Horizontal Studies for EU Member States, the European Investment Bank (EIB) provides country or region specific analysis of the market gap for financing sustainable urban development in the regions of the European Union supported by ERDF for the period 2007-2013. Included in the analysis are thematic or Horizontal Studies relevant to the development of JESSICA, to assist Member States in accessing the fund. Exchange of know-how and good practice between the Commission, the managing authorities and other stakeholders on JESSICA was achieved at the latest meeting of the JESSICA Networking Platform. Check out the slide presentations from the meeting.
In July 2012, EU institutions officially launched negotiations on the amount of regional funding that will be allocated for the 2014-2020 programming period with energy efficiency in buildings identified as a top priority. BUILD UP hosts a wealth of relevant material, including Factsheet: Financial Instruments in Cohesion Policy 2014-2020 in which the key elements of the 2014-2020 approach are summarised, and Financial Instruments in Cohesion Policy 2014-2020: Proposed Framework - Where we Stand, an in depth analysis of the proposed framework for financial instruments from DG REGIO. Also, in a draft report the EU funded project SF Energy Invest provides Practical recommendations to increase the share of sustainable energy investments in the upcoming SCF programming period 2014-2020.
The EU funded project SF-ENERGY INVEST project: Structural and Cohesion Funds for Sustainable Energy Investments aims to trigger investments in sustainable energy by using the Structural and Cohesion Funds of the programming period 2007‐2013 and improving the political and practical framework conditions for sustainable energy investments in the upcoming programming period 2014‐2020.The Manual for financing RES and EE projects with Structural and Cohesion Funds provides beneficiaries with clear and simple steps to develop and obtain funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. A number of good practice examples of energy projects, implemented with the help of European Structural and Cohesion Funds (SF) have also been identified by the project, namely for Senica - Slovakia, Feldheim Community - Germany, Mórahalom - Hungary, Liiva - Estonia, Transylvania - Romania, London - United Kingdom, Dobrich - Bulgaria, Besançon - France, Brno - Czech Republic.
Results from the predecessor of SF Energy Invest, the PromoSCene project, promoting the use of Structural and Cohesion Funds for energy investments in new Member States and Candidate Countries are also found on BUILD UP. Results include a project database and Guidelines and Best practices on how to efficiently use European structural funds for renewable energy and energy efficiency project.
The success and consolidation of the Covenant of Mayors initiative will be at some level financed through EU cohesion policy funding and innovative financing schemes for supporting the actions of Covenant of Mayors signatories. BUILD UP offers numerous items supporting the development of SEAPs and financing actions such as the e-learning tool for those wishing to deepen their technical knowledge of the Covenant of Mayors or announcements of events on how to successfully obtain and use EU funding.
A Structural and Cohesion Funds dedicated area is available in the new BUILD UP Financing schemes section, in which the most important publications, updates, events, case studies, links and tools on the topic are gathered.