More than 2 billion euros in European Union funding to help businesses save energy have contributed little to climate change targets and in some cases funded investments that would have happened anyway, auditors said on Monday.
According to Reuters, the EU considers the reduction of energy use necessary to achieve the goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and high gas and electricity prices in recent months have increased the focus on energy saving measures.
So far, however, EU funding to support energy savings for businesses has not been effective, the European Court of Auditors said in a report.
The EU has spent € 2.4 billion from its 2024-2020 budget to support energy efficiency for businesses, including energy controls and measures to reduce energy consumption or energy intensity in industry, services or public sector.
The auditors estimated that the projects supported by this funding achieved 0.3% of the annual savings required to meet the EU target of reducing final energy consumption by 32.5% by 2030, compared to projected flat.
“European Union funding is not sufficiently linked to business needs – there has been no proper analysis of what businesses really need,” ECA member Samo Jereb told Reuters.
Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy and Poland accounted for most of the support.
Brussels plans to increase its energy saving target by 2030 and last year unveiled plans to renovate millions of buildings to achieve the huge energy efficiency improvements needed to meet their climate targets. Energy savings in homes were not included in the auditors’ report.
The auditors said that just over half of the assessed investments could have been made without EU funding – and that many received grants when loans or other financial instruments were more appropriate.
“Grants should not be used for repayable investments,” Jereb said.
The commission should better assess countries’ energy efficiency financing needs and what type of instrument is most appropriate before committing future resources, the auditors said.
The European Commission, the EU executive, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Source From: Capital