Appropriate co-financing rate for LIFE CSA projects on sustainable energy

Joint letter from cities, regional energy agencies, citizen energy cooperatives, renewable energy industry and NGOs to the EU Commission and LIFE Committee


Dear Experts and Delegates of the LIFE Committee,
Dear Representatives of the European Commission,

In the frame of your discussions on the first LIFE multiannual work programme, you are also called to fix the co-financing rate for “Coordination and Support Actions” (CSA) for the transition to renewable energy and increased energy efficiency.

To this end, we call upon you to set the co-financing rate for CSA projects at above 80% and as close to 100% as possible. Only such level of co-funding would allow our organisations and our members to continue our activities as in our shared long-standing experience:

  • National match funding for energy related topics exists only in a few countries and even then, is only accessible through competitive bidding with often conflicting timelines and evaluation criteria. EU co-funding of projects in this field has been vital for local and regional authorities and their supporting organisations that include energy agencies, cooperatives and NGOs. Absence of match funding has often obliged such smaller organisations to match fund with their own resources, thus destabilising even further their often-precarious financial situations.
  • EU co-funding for CSA sustainable energy projects has been unique. CSA for sustainable energy are not pure research, and therefore do not attract research funds and early investors, nor are they market products attracting enterprises for investment. CSA projects prepare the ground for concrete investments and develop favourable policy frameworks. National, regional and local co-funding of this type of measures is extremely rare and challenging to obtain compared to projects focusing on direct investments in pilots and demonstration sites.
  • The current Horizon 2020 rates for CSA encourage organisations to gain new competences, design bolder projects and develop new services for energy transition. Lower co-funding rates require a perfect alignment between the call topic and the applicants’ pre-existing skills and strategies. Testing and replicating new approaches is essential for the market uptake of sustainable energy solutions. Reimbursement rates that allow companies and other organisations to adequately mitigate their risk are essential if they are to embark on transformational projects.
  • The impact of CSA-energy projects risks being compromised. Evaluation reports show that CSA-projects have led to impressive results in terms of primary energy savings, RES generation, CO2 reductions and investments in sustainable energy. Achieving these results was in part ensured by appropriate co-financing rates enabling project promoters to focus on the implementation of the actions rather than on securing match funding.

CSA projects on clean energy helped regions, cities and communities to transform their environmental and climate ambitions into action. They enabled to stimulate local economic development, create jobs, increase demand and supply for energy efficiency services and products, implement and upscale renewable energy projects, develop the first adaptation strategies, alleviate energy poverty, improve air quality and truly inform and empower citizens and local initiatives. These projects have been powerful drivers of European integration, creating transnational long-lasting partnerships, jointly embarking municipalities and regions towards common sustainable development goals.

We believe that under the right conditions, these actions can continue this momentum under the LIFE programme.

Signatories

FEDARENE (European Federation of Agencies and Regions for Energy and the Environment) is a European network of regional and local organisations which implement, coordinate and facilitate sustainable energy and environment policies.

Energy Cities is the European association of cities in energy transition, representing over 1,000 local governments in 30 countries.

EUREC is the voice of renewable energy research in Europe, representing 38 European Research Centres active in renewable energy. The purpose of the association is to promote and support the development of innovative technologies and human resources to enable a prompt transition to a sustainable energy system.

EUROCITIES
Climate Alliance
CEMR (Council of European Municipalities and Regions)
REScoop.eu (European federation of citizen energy cooperatives)
EHPA (European Heat Pump Association)
Solar Heat Europe
EREF (European Renewable Energies Federation)
EGEC (European Geothermal Energy Council
DHC+ Technology Platform
eceee (European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy)
IEECP (Institute for European Energy and Climate Policy)

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