Retooling Europe’s energy investments landscape to sustain growth

Brussels, 6 September 2019

Dear Chairman Mr Hoyer,

Subject: Retooling Europe’s energy investments landscape to sustain growth and meet future societal and environmental challenges.

I am writing to you on behalf of the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE). EU-ASE is multi-sectoral business led organization whose members operate across the 28 Member States of the European Union, with an aggregated annual turnover of €115 bn, directly employing 340.000 people in Europe. Our aim is to reach out to decision makers to promote and show evidence of the key role that energy efficiency technologies and solutions play in decarbonizing the energy system and generate economic growth and employment in the European Union.

We welcome the EIB’s proposed new energy lending policy. The recognition of the Energy Efficiency First principle in the EIB energy lending assessments is a turning point in the way public and private funds are to be allocated. This approach, aligned with your 2018/2019 Investment Report, will stimulate rational and financially sound investments in climate change mitigation and adaptation and generate positive externalities in terms of growth, jobs creation and energy security.

We also fully support the bank’s proposal to phase out, by the end of 2020, investments in fossil fuels projects and infrastructures and its strategic focus on the reduction of energy demand through energy efficiency measures, the reinforcement of electricity networks and demand side response mechanism and the development low-carbon power generation and storage. Such a move will align the bank’s spending with the EU’s commitment under the Paris Agreement and bring about the necessary investments to truly set the EU’s energy system on a path to climate neutrality, all the while strengthening Europe’s security of supply.

We consider the proposed European Initiative for Building Renovation and the reinforcement of technical and financial advisory services to project developers and public authorities as essential pieces of the new policy. Such innovations will channel investments in an area with high potential for large CO2 abatement and will help partners, notably southern and eastern countries, to scale up investments in the region.

The proposed EIB energy lending policy is a game changer that comes at a very important point in time, when we all face the urgency to address the devastating impact of the climate crisis on our economy and on the more disadvantaged groups of our society. With this letter we would like to provide our support for the endorsement of this new approach at the next meeting of the Board of Directors. This new lending policy will have a positive roll-on effect on other banks across Europe and worldwide and will be crucial to leverage the investments necessary to face the social, economic and environmental challenges that 2050 climate neutrality implies.

Best regards,
Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE)

EU-ASE Response to European Commission’s Targeted Consultation on EEAG

We would like to respond to the Roadmap that was released by DG Competition, namely on: 1) Targeted Consultation for the Evaluation of the Guidelines on State aid for Environmental protection and Energy 2014-2020 (EEAG)

*Please describe the relevance of State aid rules for you.

We believe that well-designed State aid schemes and measures can help achieve important policies in the Member States and in the EU such as reaching the 2030 targets while ensuring that the energy markets are affordable, flexible and secure. This is specifically to:

– Promote the financial investment in energy efficiency and use of renewable energy;

– Prevent the granting of aid that promotes carbon lock-in through investments in unsustainable projects and energy intensive infrastructure.

EU-ASE, key player at the European Sustainable Energy Week 2019

Held from 18-20 June, EUSEW19 brought together climate and energy experts for an unparalleled policy conference, bringing the energy transition debate to the table once again.

Selected by the European Commission and EASME as Strategic Partner for this year’s edition, the European Alliance to Save Energy played a significant role during the week, organising three different sessions – Sustainable finance for innovation and energy efficiency; Every Drop Counts: The water-energy nexus and its relevance across EU policies; EPC: Delivering real energy savings from EU to local level – and hosting a stand at the Networking Village. The goal? To get across the message that investing in energy efficiency is, indeed, the smartest and most cost-efficient move in order to achieve decarbonisation by 2050 at the latest. On top of this, Monica Frassoni, President of the Alliance, was once again nominated as EUSEW Ambassador, taking part to the debate and giving away one of the Sustainable Energy Awards.

 

Introduced by Julie Kjestrup, Head of the Danfoss EU Office, the first session focused on the role of sustainable finance to boost investments in innovation and energy efficiency across sectors. After a presentation by Climate Strategy CEO Peter Sweatman, pointing out to the need to scale up investment in R&I to achieve decarbonisation, the event kicked off with a first all-female panel moderated by Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Senior Advisor at E3G and EIT-ClimateKic. Over a lively discussion, participants –Adèle Naudy-Chambaud, EU Public Affairs Manager at Schneider Electric; Diana Barglazan, Policy Officer for Energy Efficiency at DG ENER; and Ingrid Holmes, Head of Policy and Advocacy at Hermes Investment Management – addressed both the private and public instruments already available for directing capital to investment. With stellar moderation by Helen Spence-Jackson, from EIT-ClimateKIC, the second panel also featured a private-public mix of speakers, this time focusing on existing barriers to investments and how to tackle them. Barry Lynham, Managing Director at Knauf Energy Solutions, highlighted that the first step to take would be for “energy efficiency to stop focusing on barriers, as it only means great opportunity”.

The session –co-organised with EU-ASE member European Climate Foundation– was closed by Monica Frassoni, who underlined that we do indeed need technology, but also societal organization, strong regulation, and much more urgent action on climate. “Energy efficiency is one element of a bigger system of which we are all elements, so we better do it together”, she said.

The second session of the day, jointly organized with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, focused on the link between water and energy. Despite being inextricably interconnected, water and energy policies do not account for each other. As a result, both scarce resources are wasted, keeping the EU away from fulfilling its climate and energy targets and contributing to fighting the climate crisis. Chaired by Maive Rute, Deputy Director-General of the JRC, and Monica Frassoni, the discussion confronted industry proposals with policy-makers views. Daniel Calleja Crespo, Director-General of DG ENVI, highlighted the impossibility of delivering any policy related to water without a comprehensive approach that includes the water-energy nexus. Industry members –including Jure Sumi, Business Development Director at Knauf Insulation; Simon Goldschmidt, Chief Commercial Officer at Orbital Systems; and David Martin, Vice President of Government Relations at Nalco Water– pointed out the many already available existing solutions for preventing the waste of energy and water, like green roofs, smart systems for the management of leakages, or domestic sector solutions applying circular economy principles, such as Orbital System’s efficient shower. The event was an opportunity to present EU-ASE’s most recent paper on the energy-water nexus.

 

The second day of EUSEW19 kept us a busy in the Networking Village. From our stand, we presented the energy efficiency success stories of our members, tangible examples of energy efficiency real solutions across sectors that delivered both tangible and intangible benefits.

We closed EUSEW with a final discussion on EPCs, co-organised with EFIEES, eu.esco, EVO, and Stepping Project. The session shed some light on the main barriers both public and private sectors face in relation to the tool –lack of information, wrong perception of the risks associated to them, or limited internal capacity in public authorities– while also proposing new financing schemes and solutions to address them, such as an innovative instrument designed by Slovak Investment Holding that takes the burden off both the esco, and the public building. Katarzyna Wardal, EU Public Affairs Manager at Knauf Insulation, pointed out to the need of technical assistance coming from a proper regulatory framework to cover up for the lack of capacity in public authorities, suggesting cohesion funds as an optimal tool to do so.

With its persistence presence over the three days of the policy conference, this year’s EUSEW has further proven that EU-ASE is the leading voice of energy efficiency in the European Union.

Did you miss it? Re-play the sessions here.

EU Council fails to adopt commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050

“The future ahead of us is a transition towards a climate neutral economy. Yesterday, the European Council missed the opportunity to sign off an EU climate neutrality commitment by 2050 despite a large majority of 24 Member States now backing net-zero emissions by 2050. We should build on this group of progressive countries and convince the remaining Member States that the transition is the best economic choice for Europe, whereas the cost of inaction would be unbearably high. Moving forward, we must link the climate neutrality commitment more closely to the EU budget discussion, so that we prioritize investments in energy efficiency to halve the demand of energy in the EU by 2050, and move towards 100% renewable energy generation. The EU budget is the most suitable collective tool to make this long-term transformation happen. In a just and ordered transition that leaves no-one behind in the shift to a zero-emission society, EU public resources will attract the necessary private investments to make the European economy more innovative and competitive.”

 

Monica Frassoni, President, European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE)

Business Alliance call for urgent action on the transition to a Climate Neutral Europe

 

Brussels, 19 June 2019

President of the European Council,

Heads of States and Governments of the European Union Member States,

I am writing to you on behalf of the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE). We are a multi-sectoral business organisation whose members operate across the 28 Member States of the European Union, with an aggregated annual turnover of €115 bn, directly employing 340.000 people in Europe.

The Alliance creates an outreach platform for our companies (Danfoss, Knauf Insulation, Schneider Electric, Saint-Gobain, Siemens, Signify, and Veolia) towards politicians and thought leaders to ensure the voice of energy efficiency is heard from across the business and political community.

As you meet during the next European Council meeting in Brussels on 20-21 June 2019, we urge you to commit the European Union to a long-term climate strategy with the objective of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. Pursuing this objective will signal a new economic direction for Europe.

The urgency of the climate crisis requires immediate action, stepping up our climate ambition and pursuing every effort to keep global temperature rise below 1.5°C by mid-century, as evidenced by the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C. To achieve the commitments made under the Paris Agreement, businesses and investors must ramp up investments without delay. The next phase of European action must begin this year as current energy and climate policies in place globally, set the planet on a global warming pathway of 3°C.

As businesses who aim to build the climate neutral economy of the future, we urge you to:

  • Welcome the European Commission’s long-term climate vision to tackle climate crisis
  • Support the objective of netzero emissions by 2050 in order to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 °C and align the Paris Agreement objectives
  • Endorse the call of the European Commission for energy efficiency to play a central role in reaching net-zero emissions by 2050
  • Consider Energy Efficiency First as a basis of the European long term strategy and the main driver of the transformation towards a fossilfree energy system
  • Welcome the call for higher buildings’ renovation rates and the recognition of the role that digitalisation and near zero-emissions buildings will play in the transition
  • Acknowledge the need for a just transition that leaves no one behind

As business and investor leaders who aim to build the climate neutral economy of the future, we urge you agree the necessary policy foundations, notably the climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest and set the direction of travel that will provide us with the clarity and confidence to act.

We wish you a fruitful meeting and remain at your disposition for further discussion on this strategic topic.

Yours sincerely,

Monica Frassoni

President of the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE)