Solutions for energy efficiency. 10 years of European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA)

Published by Build Up

The European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) is a successful joint initiative between the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Commission (Smart Finance for Smart Buildings).

It offers technical assistance for investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy in buildings and innovative urban transport projects through schemes.

The objective is to accelerate investments by building experience, facilitating financing and overcoming barriers.

Moreover, to encourage even more investments, ELENA has a minimum investment level of €30 million and supports the efficient use of investment grants.

Three eligibility rules are identified:

1-Sustainable energy: technical assistance helps prepare energy efficiency and building-integrated renewable energy investments.

2-Sustainable transport: innovative transport and sustainable mobility projects that save energy and reduce emissions.

3-Sustainable residential: energy efficiency and building-integrated renewable energy projects in existing residential buildings.

Flagship projects are:

  • “Picardie Pass Rénovation” programme: hundreds energy efficiency homes made affordable.
  • “Energy efficient Superhomes in Ireland”: ELENA grant helped prepare energy audits and feasibility studies for hundreds of residents wishing to increase energy efficiency of their homes.
  • “Embracing efficiency in Ljubjana”: ELENA helped plan the budget for upgrades and schedule renovations measures for 70 public buildings.
  • “Revolution on rails in Denmark”: ELENA provided a grant to finance technical studies to make sure that the tram network would be sustainable in order to cut emissions and improve mobility in Aarhus.
  • “Shining a light on energy efficiency” in Barcelona: ELENA grant provided technical support to implement an energy performance contract that improved energy efficiency of public lighting through biomass plants and solar panels.
  • “Energy efficiency lessons in Paris schools”: hundreds of schools in Paris were renovated to improve energy efficiency.
  • “Changing the way a city is heated”: ELENA helped to investment for a biomass heating plant in Purmerend.
  • “Electric mobility in Copenaghen”: ELENA helped to make the transition from petrol-powered to electric buses and boats.

The report also includes an evaluation study made by an external consultant.

The study shows how ELENA projects are generally successful in helping the investment process and making potential investors less reluctant to take over upfront costs for project identification and preparation.



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