Tuesday

27th Sep 2016

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.

Investigation

VW: EU's action plan is 'nothing new'

Consumer affairs commissioner Jourova said Volkswagen has "committed to an EU-wide action plan", but the promise contains little news value according to the carmaker itself.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFAMessages of Hope From the Basque Country and Galicia
  2. Access NowDigital Rights Heroes and Villains. See Who Protects Your Rights, Who Wants to Take Them Away
  3. Martens CentreQuo Vadis Georgia? What to Expect From the Parliamentary Elections. Debate on 29 September
  4. EJCAppalled by Recommendation to Remove Hamas From EU Terrorism Watch List
  5. GoogleBringing Education to Refugees in Lebanon With the Clooney Foundation for Justice
  6. HuaweiAn Industry-leading ICT Solution Provider and Building a Better World
  7. World VisionUN Refugees Meeting a Wasted Opportunity to Improve the Lives of Millions of Children
  8. Belgrade Security ForumCan Democracy Survive Global Disorder?
  9. YouthProAktivEntrepreneurship, Proactivity, Innovation - Turn Ideas Into Action #IPS2016
  10. GoogleTrimming the Waste-Line: Weaving Circular Economy Principles Into Our Operations
  11. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeDon't Miss the Mega Conference to Master Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  12. ACCAKaras Report on Access to Finance for SMEs in a Capital Markets Union

Latest News

  1. Why Putin's union doesn't want to work with the EU
  2. Charges await Danes and Germans for helping refugees
  3. EU migrant quota idea is finished, Fico says
  4. Finland calls for 'pragmatic' EU defence cooperation
  5. MEPs push for oversight on commissioners
  6. EU and US in talks on car emissions cheats
  7. Hollande warns UK not to abandon Calais obligations
  8. Spy agencies launch 'real-time' terror tracker