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Sustainable Energy Financing Plattform in Austria

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SEFIPA (Sustainable Energy Financing Plattform in Austria)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2017-08-01 do 2019-01-31

Long term EU targets and Austria’s vision to become energy-self-sufficient, based on sustainable energy (SE) (including energy efficiency (EE) and renewable energy (RE)) by 2050 will require tremendous additional efforts in sustainable energy investments. The OECD study Investing in Climate, Investing in Growth (2017) argues that investment in modern, smart and clean infrastructure in the next decade is a critical factor for sustainable economic growth. Therefore, similarly as other EU member states, Austria will need to find new and innovative approaches to improve the finance-ability and attractiveness of sustainable energy investments.
The overall goal of the project was to implement a Sustainable Energy Financing Platform in Austria (=SEFIPA) removing selected challenges and trigger additional investments in sustainable energy.
The consortium aimed to achieve that goal by (i) establishing a facilitated dialogue between stakeholders (the Finance Lab), (ii) implementing and operating a crowd-investing platform, (iii) screening approximately 100 proposed investment actions and raising financing for 25 of them and (iv) conducting outreach activities to overcome barriers related to information deficits.
The consortium believes, that a national sustainable energy financing platform, fostering dialogue between all relevant stakeholders, can be a powerful approach to develop and implement enabling policies, innovative financing instruments and awareness raising activities. Based on the lessons learnt during the term of the SEFIPA project the consortium recommends to consider inter alia the following aspects when realizing such type of platform:
• Setting SMART objectives for the platform and its stakeholders and maintain high interest of contributing institutions or individuals
• Providing sufficient monetary and human resources for the operation of the platform
• Focusing on a limited number of countries (or only one) allowing detailed analyses and tailor-made solutions
• Keeping the platform flexible and adaptive to new ideas and developments in the host country(ies)
The recruitment process for members of the Finance Lab started right after project inception in 02/2016. While the consortium originally (in the project design phase) had intended to invite 20-30 individuals it decided to keep this number more flexible and to increase the number of invitations to around 40-50. A bigger pool or an open list of potential Lab members improved the flexibility to replace Lab members when they needed to halt their involvement. The consortium collected a long list of 21 ideas of new financing instruments and proposed changes to the regulatory framework.
The consortium organized 13 working sessions and 3 public sessions of the Finance Lab between 2016 and 2018. The Finance Lab produced the following financial instruments and proposed regulatory changes:
1. Proposal for an Austrian Green Bond
2. Sustainable real estate funds - Proposals for incorporating sustainability criteria
3. Facilitators’ Services for Energy Performance Contracting Projects as Support for Local municipalities
4. Introducing an energy consumption monitoring system as an energy-efficiency measure
5. Tax incentives for energy efficiency in buildings - proposals for the Austrian Government
6. Heat supply contracting as a business and financing model for sustainable energy supply systems in blocks of flats
7. Business models for internal consumption of power from shared PV facilities on multiple-occupancy buildings
8. Linking up grant arrangements for investments in renewable sources of energy and energy efficiency in the hotel and tourism sector at national level
9. A backstop tariff is designed to simplify financing PV facilities for commercial prosumers
Additionally, the consortium prepared action plans for (i) the possible introduction of the concept of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) and (ii) modifications of the Austrian housing laws (condominium, tenancy, social housing) to encourage more investments in SE in “ad hoc” working groups.
In 2017 the crowd-investing platform for sustainable energy projects started its operations. The aim of the platform is to initiate financing for sustainable energy projects or companies which are active in the sustainable energy sector in Austria and in Germany by connecting them with potential (small-scale) investors. Therefore, the role of the platform is that of an intermediary. The minimum investment per investor was set at Euro 250, -. Owners of small scale RE or EE projects offer subordinated loan agreements to investors at certain interest rates.
Three projects were (partially) financed on the crowd-investing platform crowd4energy between February 1st 2016 to January 31st 2019. Currently (January 2019) there are further 15 projects under negotiation in the project pipeline, most of them in the building sector.
Out of 94 identified SE investment actions
• 23 projects were realized (partially) during the term of SEFIPA,
• 37 projects are still under development and
• 34 projects were not realized because they were either delayed/ stopped or financed differently.
Over the duration of the project the consortium conducted outreach activities such as
organizing 7 webinars and seminars such as, “PV-own consumption at multifamily houses”, “New Crowd-investing Platform „Crowd4Energy“, “Energy Supply Contracting” and others.
issuing 2 public calls for inputs from the interested broader public:
1. Call for ideas how additional investments in sustainable energy can incentivized in Austria
2. Call for public input regarding the interim results of the Finance Lab
preparing 3 public sessions:
• Plenary session on 23/06/2016 to prioritize the work on financing instruments and proposed regulatory changes
• Public consultation session on 27/04/2017 to receive inputs to the proposed new financing instruments and regulatory changes
• Final session on 06/12/2018 to discuss achieved results and outlook
implementing the website preparing 10 publications and presenting results of the project in over 20 (inter-)national conferences
The SEFIPA project contributes to the European societal challenge of securing, clean and efficient energy of the focus are of “Building a low carbon, climate resilient future”.
The overall investment volume of SE projects realized with direct support from the consortium during the term of the projects is approximately EUR 20 million with a wide range from rather small investments of EUR 15,000 (e.g. PV self-consumption) up to investment volumes of EUR 8 million (e.g. potential combination of subsidies and direct support of project development). 2 real estate funds with a joint investment volume of approximately EUR 350 million will apply energy efficiency criteria when selecting/changing their assets. In addition to projects directly supported by the SEFIPA consortium there are also numerous investment actions which can apply the publicly available information about the financing instruments and achieved regulatory changes but will not require any SEFIPA support for their development. For example, a major Austrian industrial company generated further energy efficiency projects of 2.5 million and a bank financed an energy service company based on expected cash flows from an energy performance contract where total investment volume was around EUR 2.2. million.