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Developing and transferring an innovative Energy FInancing miX in order to activate private sector finance for increased investments in sustainable energy projects

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - E-FIX (Developing and transferring an innovative Energy FInancing miX in order to activate private sector finance for increased investments in sustainable energy projects)

Reporting period: 2018-03-01 to 2019-08-31

The private sector is expected to play an important role for reducing energy demand and reaching of energy targets. About 40 % of the final energy consumption of the EU-28 can be accounted to industry and services (public sector included). In the EU a combination of regulatory mechanisms and incentive schemes are used to trigger energy efficiency and renewable energy development in the private sector. Still, progress is slow and although energy efficiency and renewable energy projects offer a range of financial and non-financial advantages both for public and private actors, little is done to exceed minimum legal requirements. Main barriers for the realisation of private energy efficiency projects can be divided in barriers with regard to the development and implementation of energy projects, on the one hand, and barriers to access funds for financing innovative sustainable energy projects, on the other.

In the target countries of the E-FIX project there is considerable idle potential for energy efficiency and renewable energy products and services. However, both, potential energy project developers and financers, to a large extent face barriers regarding the accurate assessment of energy project feasibility and achieving investment security.

The underlying approach considered by this project is that an innovative Energy FInancing miX (E-FIX) is needed in order to access new sources of finance and facilitate an increased implementation of sustainable energy projects. The E-FIX project will trigger private investments using a mix of innovative financing mechanisms, to be specific: credit lines for energy performance contracting, crowdfunding models and leasing models for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

The overall objective of the E-FIX project is to prepare the European market – with a focus on countries of various EU enlargement rounds, as well as markets of countries, which have recently reached EU association status – for the intensified usage of these innovative financing mechanisms in the energy sector in order to facilitate the increase of investments in energy projects and services. The E-FIX project will thus initiate a comprehensive roll-out of energy financing mechanisms in the 6 partner countries (PL, CZ, AT, HR, AM and GE). The 3-dimensional roll-out will cover capacity building, strategy development and piloting of model solutions.

The E-FIX project will result in increased investments in sustainable energy projects in the partner countries as well as lay the groundwork for better-informed and equipped stakeholders. The trainings of these stakeholders will provide them with the capacity to act as E-FIX Ambassadors, multiplicators to promote and implement the E-FIX approach. On a larger scale, the E-FIX approach will be disseminated EU-wide, activating dormant private finance thereby contributing to the general growth of the EU markets of energy technology and services as one step into the direction of a low carbon economy.
E-FIX was launched in March 2018. In the beginning of the project, partners established the baseline for further project activities by analysing financing framework and identifying financing gaps for energy projects within each partner country. The baseline study provides information about potential of both financing sources and energy project implementation in each of the partner countries, and an assessment of the energy-related policy framework so that opportunities and challenges for introducing innovative financing instruments for sustainable energy projects can be identifies. Final findings of the baseline fed into a matrix that indicated gaps and niches for future E-FIX development and which were further analysed in the gap analyses reports. Additional insights on local experience of energy efficiency / renewable energy financing mechanisms are provided by the case studies.

As a preparation for planned trainings, the partnership prepared a training curriculum, which consists of modules having a theoretical and application part and includes following topics: general training modules (catalogue of evaluation methods and didactics) and specialist modules (leasing, EPC, crowdfunding and project finance). They are available in English, Armenian, Czech, Georgian, German, Croatian and Polish. Common standards for financing of energy projects were defined in the report on energy financing standard for national and transnational energy efficiency financing.

E-FIX ambassadors will be engaged in eliminating financing barriers and in building bridges between potential energy investors and project initiators. They will have access to project tools and results via the Ambassador platform, which will be launched during the mid-term conference in October 2019.

Within the dissemination and communication activities a dissemination and communication plan, a project logo and visual identity were developed, and the E-FIX website launched. Synergies with other EU projects (e.g. Interreg Danube DTP, Horizon 2020) were identified and project partners used the opportunity to present E-FIX at dedicated events/conferences. So far, 16 reference publications were published in the partner countries. In order to provide smooth work for project activities, the partnership conducted regular partner and steering committee meetings on a six-month basis (Austria, Georgia).
E-FIX Project partnership will continue further with implementation of activities in Period 2 as planned in the Grant agreement.
In the next period the project partners will implement high-quality trainings for 120 external participants. The toolbox will be finalised with feedback from training participants and will be available in its final version towards the end of the project. These activities will have positive impact on building capacities and skills for market stakeholders on energy issues.

The Roadmap will define long-term and transnational goals for successful financing of energy projects with a scope until 2030. It will build upon the financing gaps identified by the PPs but go beyond the partner countries and address the energy financing development on a European scale. Action Plans will moreover provide the strategic direction for the foundation of the Energy Finance Competence Centres (EFCC), which are supposed to act as national contact points for practitioners, project developers, financing providers, and possible beneficiaries. These activities will enable inclusion of sustainable energy issues at all governance levels.

The viability of innovative energy financing mechanisms will be demonstrated through the implementation of Pilot Financing Campaigns. The campaigns will address identified territorial financing gaps as well as legal grey areas of local finance regulations. Partners will test financing mechanisms and will ensure which innovative energy financing mechanism are viable and replicable. The targets going beyond project duration will be assured by a project pipeline prepared by the partners and implemented with the support of Energy Financing Competence Centres in the regions. These activities will contribute to the envisaged impact on preparing the ground for investments into sustainable energy projects.
E-FIX Train-the-trainer seminar
E-FIX Kick-off meeting
E-FIX Logo