CONCEPT AND FOCUS
The European Commission presented in late 2018 its long-term strategy for a decarbonised European Union by 2050, putting a special focus on citizens and their role as consumers and prosumers, and including energy efficiency as one of the key drivers of such decarbonisation process. The urgent transition towards a more sustainable and cleaner society requires the development of innovative financing mechanisms, as well as the better implementation of the existing ones. Such transition also requires increased financial support in innovation, which should be scaled up by one third in the period 2021-2027 to achieve the EU’s objectives.
This session will focus on the role of sustainable finance to boost investments in innovation and energy efficiency across sectors. Energy efficiency plays an indispensable role in the European transition towards a decarbonized society, delivering EU added value on strategic affordability, security and emissions reduction objectives while yielding additional benefits through jobs, productivity and improved health. At the same time, it faces the largest investment gap for decarbonization. According to the IEA Energy Efficiency Report 2017, the investments needed for energy efficiency are €120bn short of the €180bn needed annually to 2040. The event will include the presentation of a recent study on the current status of innovation funding and the synergies between different EU funds and financial instruments, and whether they contribute to fostering clean energy.
The session will also put the spotlight on how investments can be directed towards energy efficiency measures, with a special emphasis on the ongoing policy discussion concerning the taxonomy regulation proposal; National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) development and the involvement of National, Regional and Local governments; and the establishment of a strong governance structure on sustainable finance (the Platform on Sustainable Finance). Furthermore, the event will discuss the different existing barriers for public and private investment, how to best tackle them by improving and implementing existing mechanisms and, in particular, how to leverage public resources and EU funds (such as MFF post-2020), to accelerate private investment in energy efficiency and innovation.
RELEVANCE OF THE TOPIC
The topic is timely and relevant because it will propose industry views on how to fill the existing investment gap in innovation and energy efficiency, necessary for the transition to a net zero economy. It will highlight good practices to accelerate private investments and how private resources could work sinergically with public financing mechanisms already in place. Public funds need to be smartly used to unlock private investment. Climate modelling suggests that 75% of the technology and approaches required to meet the Paris Agreement goals are already deployed and working, but need to scale-up more quickly. The remaining 25% of decarbonisation requires new innovation investments in technologies, products, business models and society to deliver optimal scenarios.