The central question about financing Green Investements is often: How? It can seem difficult to find available money for a first investment, and this is an important issue for households but also municipalities and regions. In Europe, there are more and more interesting cases about what type of innovative financing can work in practice. It was one aim, through the PROSPECT project, to showcase those successes, and enable peer to peer learning in regional and local authorities in order to finance and implement their sustainable energy plans. The programme builds upon successful financing schemes implemented in cities and regions in the European Union. It was designed to help local and regional authorities to benefit from the lessons learnt and the experience of their peers in order to launch their own investment programme.
The PROSPECT H2020 project has been running for about three years now, with four learning cycles. The call for applicants allowed for the selection of 33 mentors from 16 different countries dedicated to show how they are successfully implementing projects with innovative financing. The project permitted the training of 150 mentees from 27 countries.
Proud of its success, the Prospect project organized a Workshop during the 2020's edition of the World Sustainable Energy Days in Wels. The workshop intended to bring the knowledge of these mentors not only to the groups that took part in the learning programmes but to many more.
Mia Dragović Matosović from the Institute for European Energy and Climate Policy opened the session with an introduction on the benefits of the peer to peer learning programme regarding Green Financing and the main outcomes of PROSPECT. She underlined how, when doing peer learning, new ways of doing things remain relevant. An expert from European Investment Bank presented how cooperation can be organised with the banks through the ELENA Facility.
Speakers took the floor to showcase their experiences, and provided the audience with an instructive overview of the existing tools for Green Investments Financing :
- Christine Öhlinger from the Regional Energy Agency of Upper Austria, OÖ Energiesparverband, the host of the Conference, was the first to present the facilitation services of the agency for scaling up green financing
- The Province of Girona, Catalonia, in cooperation with BeEnergi brought technical support to municipalities and bundled sustainable energy investments. They explained how they could work together with politicians, stakeholders including SMEs to make biomass a real option.
- RESCoop explained that Belgian municipalities have a growing number of cooperatives where citizens are at the forefront in making energy-efficient projects happen. The Community Power Project tackled the question of Citizen Financing through the power of Energy Cooperatives. The project took place in Belgium but also several other EU countries, with the aim of creating a European Wide Power Community, integrating people and community into a socially fair energy transformation.
- Litomerice, a city from Czech Republic successfully introduced a revolving fund. This strategy was included in the Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan, aiming at a diminution of 14% of the Energy Consumption and reaching a 50% target for RES. This initiative allowed for the creation of the first energy active building in the country.
- SEM Energies Hauts-de-France explained how they support the roll-out of renewables through regional co-investment
In the workshop, over 70 participants discussed how lighting or buildings can be financed and exchanged experience regarding a wide range of subjects. The vast majority of the speakers also developed on the specific challenge of replication at the EU level. The event also involved a practical exchange of views between groups of participants, allowing them to benefit from an enriching peer to peer experiment. This last learning session focused on replication at EU of locally implemented successful financing practices.
Learn more about the PROSPECT learning program here. If you are looking for a way to finance a smart city, or an energy project, subscribe to the Newsletter and follow future events and webinars. In case you also want to learn more about inspiring local initiatives, check out the growing number of best practices showcased by our mentors and mentees.
In case you work for a municipality or region and wish to give feedback, ideas to what needs you may have on this area, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.