Proposals should focus on one, or more, of the following issues:
- Staff trainings and capacity buildings programmes, facilitating SMEs to undergo energy audits and to implement the recommended energy-saving measures, shall be developed according to SMEs specificities (size, sectors, lifetime of the company etc.) and highlighting the financial aspects. Programmes should aim at bridging the gap between demand and supply side (SMEs, auditors, finance institutions, managing authorities of supporting schemes). An active participation of both managerial and operational staff must be ensured. The proposed solution should be tailored to national/local conditions in order to ensure the effective uptake by the SMEs.
- Capacity building to support the take-up of audits recommendations and undertake the actions necessary to reduce energy consumption (maintenance or investments in new equipment but possibly also behavioural actions) in the companies required to undergo energy audits (large enterprises). Development and implementation of corporate policy measures involving all actors (from decision makers/corporate board members to employees in each department) willing to undertake more efficient energy-related actions (motivations, behaviour change, mitigation of perceived risks and barriers). Evaluation of the total costs of building investments, in terms of financial, environmental and health impact.
- Initiatives supporting Member States in empowering or establishing national supporting schemes for SMEs providing appropriate incentives to undergo energy audits and/or to implement the recommended energy-saving measures.
Proposals should demonstrate how the proposed activities will be continued commercially beyond the project lifetime. Involvement of relevant multiplier organisations is also encouraged.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 1 and 2 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
The Energy Efficiency Directive, in its art.8 requires Member States to develop programmes encouraging SMEs to undergo energy audits and to implement the recommended energy-saving measures. SMEs represent enormous energy saving potential. However, the lack of expertise, time and capital, including energy audit supporting scheme, often prevents SMEs from implementing energy conservation measures or from getting access to the energy services market.
The effectiveness of energy audit recommendations is influenced by people's behaviours and the improvement of enterprises' energy cultures. The availability of reliable energy consumption data is of utmost importance to monitor the impact of energy saving measures and behaviours. The actions should lead SMEs to become fully aware of the multiple benefits resulting from energy audits as well as facilitating their actual implementation. Moreover, capacity building programmes should also support implementation of the recommended energy-saving measures both for small and large enterprises.
Proposals are expected to demonstrate, depending on the scope addressed, the impacts listed below using quantified indicators and targets wherever possible:
- Primary energy savings triggered by the project (in GWh/year);
- Investments in sustainable energy triggered by the project (in million Euro);
- Market stakeholders with increased skills/capability/competencies (to be measured in number of people with increased capacity) and long-lasting training schemes;
- Number of people/enterprises with enhanced energy culture documenting why and how changes are an effect of particular measures taken as consequence of energy audits, as well in terms of the sustainability of the behavioural change;
- Policies and strategies created/adapted at national level (to be measured in number of initiatives/actions taken to improve/create audit supporting schemes and/or number of SMEs supported in the implementation of energy audit).
Additional positive effects can be quantified and reported when relevant and wherever possible:
- Reduction of the greenhouse gases emissions (in tCO2-eq/year) and/or air pollutants (in kg/year) triggered by the project.