EU Invests in Energy Efficiency and Environment, Reports Increased Energy Consumption
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The European Commission launched a €98.2 million investment package to support environmental quality of life projects, including for climate action.

The European Investment Bank approved the 'Smart Finance for Smart Buildings' initiative to improve energy efficiency in residential buildings.

Eurostat announced that Europe's 2016 primary and final energy consumption exceeded 2020 reduction targets.

8 February 2018: The European Commission and the Board of the European Investment Bank (EIB) announced investments in environmental quality of life and building efficiency. Eurostat announced that Europe is lagging in its energy efficiency goals.

The Commission approved a €98.2 million investment package under the new Financial Instrument for the Environment, (LIFE) funding program. The investment will cover 10 projects in eight Member States to address quality of life issues in the areas of nature, water, waste, air, and climate action. According to Karmenu Vella, Commissioner of the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, the package could mobilize an additional €2 billion in funding as Member States also make use of other EU funding sources. Supported projects will support harvesting biomass from natural areas, investments in water treatment, home renovations to improve energy efficiency, and introduce early warning systems for river floods.

EIB funding aims to take 3.2 million European families out of energy poverty.

The Board of the EIB approved the creation of the Smart Finance for Smart Buildings initiative. The initiative will invest in residential buildings to improve energy efficiency, aiming to use EU grants as a guarantee to incentivize energy efficiency investments of €10 billion from public and private sources. It is estimated that this funding will help establish a small business renovations market worth up to €120 billion, supporting up to 220,000 jobs, and taking 3.2 million European families out of energy poverty. The Smart Finance for Smart Buildings facility is expected to help de-risk investments in the buildings sector, and will offer assistance with project development for households lacking the skills and capacity to establish, execute and finance projects to improve energy efficiency.

In related news, Eurostat announced that Europe’s 2016 primary energy consumption was 4% above the EU’s 2020 target to reduce energy consumption by 20% below business as usual projections by 2020. Final energy consumption exceeded the target by 2%. Primary energy consumption measures total energy demand of a country, while final energy consumption is the total energy consumed by end users, excluding energy used by the energy sector itself. Though primary energy consumption in Europe has always remained above target, it has fluctuated significantly. The EU met its final energy consumption efficiency target in 2015, however in 2016 consumption rose to 2% above the goal. Eurostat also announced that over the last decade energy consumption fell mainly in Greece, Malta and Romania, whereas growth in energy consumption was recorded only in Estonia and Poland. [European Commission Press Release – LIFE Investment] [European Commission Press Release – Smart Finance for Smart Buildings] [Eurostat Press Release – Energy Consumption Statistics]

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