Greenhouse gas emissions reduced through EU energy efficiency initiatives

EU-funded projects lead to €500m investment within participating organisations

Energy efficiency projects across Europe have ensured more than one million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions have been prevented by companies.

41 projects that received €58.5m of funding from the EU’s Intelligent Energy Europe II (IEE-II) and Horizon 2020 (H2020) programmes to focus on increasing energy efficiency in EU companies have led to €500m of investment within the organisations that took part and saved the companies 3,491 GWh per year of energy.

The projects worked with businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to look at investing in cost-effective energy efficiency measures. Dr Louise Evans, a Senior Consultant from Ricardo, a global engineering, environmental and strategic consultancy that carried out a review of the projects for CINEA, the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency, said: “Energy efficiency in industry has a key role to play in the EU meeting its 2030 and 2050 climate targets and fulfilling its objectives under the Paris Agreement.

Louise Evans

“Each of the 41 projects was evaluated individually, and the impacts totalled across the portfolio. The results show the impact of making changes within organisations and what a difference they can make to us all achieving our common goal of reduced emissions. If the savings from these types of projects, averaging 4.5% of total energy use at each company, are applied across the whole of the EU industrial sector this would represent a third of the 15% targeted by 2030 by the New Industrial Strategy.”

Together the projects delivered more than 3,600 energy efficiency audits, trained more than 10,000 people and reached more than 4.5 million people with energy efficiency information relevant to their areas of expertise.

Although a wide range of cost-effective energy-saving measures are available, many relevant market stakeholders have yet to sufficiently prioritise this area and take up remains low. SMEs in particular face significant barriers in implementing such measures and these projects often specifically addressed the challenges faced by SMEs, and sectors dominated by SMEs. The projects sought to speed up the market uptake of low-carbon technologies and services among companies operating in the industry and services sectors.

It is identified that potentially a lack of expertise, time and capital often prevents companies from implementing energy-saving measures or from gaining access to the energy services market.

Dr Evans said: “Companies that did take action said that they did so for a number of reasons, including the energy and financial savings it brings, recognising the value energy efficiency improvements bring to the company as a whole, such as increased employee engagement and reduced maintenance costs, the creation of a green USP - which brought commercial benefits - and responding to supply chain pressure.

“Recognising these drivers and incorporating the full range of them into future projects and policy developments may yield improved outcomes, and higher energy savings in the future.”

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