Scaling up Public Energy Efficiency Investments
via Standardising Citizen Financing Schemes
CitizEE is a European funded project that supports European public authorities to scale up investments for energy efficiency in the building sector through attracting citizen private investments.
Energy efficiency is a decisive factor of the European Union’s energy policy as it is considered essential for competitiveness, energy security and to meet international goals on climate change. In the building sector, reaching the EU targets demands overcoming social, financial and technical barriers. Renovation of existing buildings can lead to significant energy savings and support the clean energy transition. However, to meet the objectives the sustainable energy financing models need to be reviewed and cooperation between all actors (such public authorities, financial institutions and project developers), especially with citizens, should be maximised. It is therefore essential to make a more effective use of public funding, mobilise innovative private financing and address specific barriers faced by energy citizens and communities’ projects wishing to invest in sustainable projects at a greater scale.
CitizEE will address these goals by means of creating national or regional Investment Platforms backed by European Fund for Strategic Investments that will support the integration of tailored and widely adopted citizen financing schemes, crowdfunding and cooperative models, with adequate available or to be developed Public Financing Instruments (PFIs). As a result, CitizEE will enable the set-up of large-scale community energy efficiency programs while strengthening know-how of regional/national key stakeholders.
To meet its ambitious goals the work has been structured for achieving the following objectives:
- Prepare the groundwork for the establishment of CitizEE Investment Platforms EFSI-backed in the project pilots.
- Evaluate competitiveness of the innovative financing schemes to be developed by the project, so-called “CFs4EE Financing Schemes”, based on the integration of citizen financing with public financing instruments.
- Demonstrate the viability and market potential of CitizEE’s “CFs4EE Financing Schemes”.
- Develop recommendations for improving the market and regulatory framework.
- Enhance the in-house capacities of the relevant stakeholders.
- Promote the project concepts and its advantages among those who could support citizen financing schemes deployment.
Citizen financing schemes, crowdfunding and cooperative models alike, have been a success in financing renewable energy projects. However, citizen access to such alternative financing mechanisms is still far from having reached its full potential, especially when energy efficiency projects are the ones seeking funding.
The development of Citizen Financing Schemes for Energy Efficiency projects (CFs4EE) is, in fact, a relatively new concept, in some cases, with limited capacity to increase investments levels due to unfavourable boundary conditions.
CitizEE’s ambition is to put in place a sound enabling legal, financial and operational environment aimed at: (i) making a more efficient use of public funds (ii) mitigating performance & credit risks,(iii) closing financing gaps, (iv) enlarging citizen access financing, (v) reducing transaction costs, (vi) enhancing capacity of local crowdfunding operators and cooperatives and (vii) stimulating the required investment towards higher renovation rates and thus a more efficient building stock.
CitizEE Investment Platforms
Investment facility channeling public and private financing from several co-investors to provide funding to designated final beneficiaries and/or projects. To be established at the pilot demonstrators kick started and supported by CitizEE regional/national stakeholders working groups, aimed at:
- Identifying market gaps and providing financing or support to sectors and/or projects that are not currently sufficiently serviced by traditional financial intermediaries
- Facilitating the inclusion of investors towards the financing of projects
- Maximizing the interaction with Investment platforms under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI)
- Facilitating the implementation of the “CFs4EE Financing Scheme”
- Contributing to aggregation and pooling of projects.
CitizEE CFs4EE Financing Schemes
Innovative financing mechanism to be developed by CitizEE and constituted by citizen financing schemes integrated with Public Financing Instruments (CFs4EE + PFIs), aimed at:
- Putting in place a sound financial and operational environment to attract citizen private investments and to use public funds more effectively.
- Enhancing capacity and know-how of public authorities, local crowdfunding operators and cooperatives.
- Stimulating the required investment towards higher renovation rates and thus a more efficient building stock
Four demonstrators have been selected to establish the CitizEE platforms as well as to demonstrate the replication possibilities of the project financing schemes at regional or country level.
Portuguese pilot case
CFs4EE Financing scheme implementation to foster the investment in community used infrastructure
Belgian pilot case
Development of a regional CFs4EE Financing Scheme to co-finance a large-scale public investment program on school’s energy efficiency upgrades through EPC Contracting
Croatian pilot case
Development of a regional CF4EE scheme to co-finance or finance EPC contracts and/or EPC portfolios
Lithuanian pilot case
Development of a regional CF4EE scheme to co-finance or finance Energy Efficiency projects (in condominium) and Renewable Energy projects (solar PV program)
Aimed to provide with a better understanding of the adoption of citizen financing for energy efficiency. This toolkit will be for any citizen, private investor, project promoter, region, local authority, energy company and other stakeholder organisations, coalitions and individuals that wish to get involved in developing and financing energy efficiency projects.
CitizEE toolkit will highlight:
- Top Tips: snapshots of ideas and hints that could help to build an effective financing strategy.
- Tools: planning exercises, workshop activities and templates that will help to work through the toolkit content in practice.
- Case Studies: key results from CitizEE’s pilot cases implementation on how the project developed and implemented financing initiatives in pilot regions.
- Figures: processes or ideas that are displayed clearly in illustrations or flow charts for easy reference.
Expert Workshops and Webinars
CitizEE will organise a series of workshops and webinars aimed at increasing capacity on citizen funding and enabling participants to provide first guidance to local energy efficiency projects about alternative finance solutions. Participants involved will get basic and more advanced knowledge on financial structures and learn from CitizEE’s experiences focus on insights on how to take advantage from specific financial structures for different projects.
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