Tuesday

17th Jan 2017

EU energy projects: no benefit for 150 years

  • EU funded energy efficiency projects are not making energy-efficient buildings, says the European Court of Auditors. (Photo: National Nuclear Security Administration)

EU energy efficiency projects in member states are too expensive and have little environmental benefit, says a new report by the European Court of Auditors (ECA).

The study, released on Monday (14 January), found that money spent to cut energy expenditure in public buildings will not show any benefits for 50 years.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

In some cases, the benefits will not be felt for 150 years - long after the lifespan of certain components like windows would have expired.

The worst offender was Italy.

The auditors found that energy efficiency paybacks in relation to the costs involved in one project would take between 288 and 444 years.

"The member states were essentially using this money to refurbish public buildings while energy efficiency was, at best, a secondary concern," said Harald Wogerbauer, an ECA member and author of the report.

The audit narrowed in on the Czech Republic, Italy and Lithuania.

The three member states collectively received the largest contributions, or just over €1 billion in 2011, from the European regional development fund for energy efficiency projects.

The figure represents 33 percent of the total amount of projects selected at the time of the audit for a funding period that runs until the end of this year.

Some 24 energy efficiency investment projects on public buildings were signalled out.

Construction and renovation was launched without any prior assessment or audits in Lithuania and Italy on the specific requirements to improve on energy efficiency.

"It was not clear why the various sectors should be funded and to what extent the energy savings potential could be achieved," says the report.

Most managing authorities were also unable to explain how they achieved overall energy saving targets.

Only the Czech Republic produced a result that met and even exceeded its target.

The European Commission is also at fault, says the report, for allocating the funds without requiring member states to justify their energy efficiency measures.

The commission's target to cut energy consumption by 20 percent by 2020 is now off target and will only achieve a 9 percent reduction under current policies.

"The commission has not monitored the contribution of these measures to the achievement of the 2020 energy savings objective, nor has it envisaged the use of such performance indicators in the energy efficiency sector," said the court.

Focus

A world without waste

A garbage crisis in Naples, Italy, gave birth to the "zero waste" movement, but is the rest of Europe brave enough to change the way it thinks about trash?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Caritas EuropaEU States to Join Pope Francis’s Appeal to Care for Migrant Children
  2. UNICEFNumber of Unaccompanied Children Arriving by sea to Italy Doubles in 2016
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers"Nordic Matters" Help Forge Closer Bonds Between the UK and the Nordic Region
  4. Computers, Privacy & Data ProtectionThe age of Intelligent Machines: join the Conference on 25-27 January 2017
  5. Martens CentreNo Better way to Lift Your Monday Blues Than to Gloss Over our Political Cartoons
  6. Dialogue PlatformThe Gulen Movement: An Islamic Response to Terror as a Global Challenge
  7. European Free AllianceMinority Rights and Autonomy are a European Normality
  8. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Create EU Competitiveness Post-Brexit? Seminar on January 24th
  9. European Jewish CongressSchulz to be Awarded the European Medal for Tolerance for his Stand Against Populism
  10. Nordic Council of Ministers"Adventures in Moominland" Kick Off Nordic Matters Festival in London
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhDs Across Europe on the Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU - Apply Now!
  12. Dialogue PlatformInterview: Fethullah Gulen Condemns Assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey

Latest News

  1. Are you forgetful? Outsource your memory to the cloud
  2. EU counter-terrorism laws "stripping rights", says Amnesty
  3. Gulen did not order Turkey coup, EU spies say
  4. Theresa May outlines 'hard Brexit'
  5. Liberals and centre-right unite in EU parliament
  6. UK economy faring better than expected, says IMF
  7. Theresa May: UK cannot be 'half-in, half-out' of EU
  8. Dutch PM: coalition with Wilders 'not going to happen'