Acknowledging energy efficiency’s place as the „first fuel” is a significant step forward, says one of the key messages in a publication named ‘Energy Community – Tapping on its Energy Efficiency Potential’. Energy efficiency markets deliver goods and services that reduce the energy required to fuel our economies, the document said. Another point is that energy efficiency financing in the Western Balkans is developing from being a niche to a more established financial market segment.
Nowhere else in Europe does energy efficiency have such great potential than in the Energy Community Contracting Parties, according to the organization. The publication demonstrates, by mapping out the supporting projects, programmes and investment credit lines, that although the contracting parties are lagging behind, energy efficiency is starting to be taken seriously by an increasing number of stakeholders, the report said.
The publication underlines that the uptake of energy efficiency requires an integrative approach. To stimulate the uptake of energy efficiency, the contracting parties should increase their engagement in energy sector reforms, including price and tariff policies, and promote the market penetration of energy efficient technologies, the document said, adding that energy efficiency is the means to reduce energy bills and thus the risk of energy poverty.
According to the International Energy Agency, by reducing or limiting energy demand, energy efficiency measures can increase resilience against a variety of risks, such as energy price rises and volatility, stress on energy infrastructure, and disruptions to energy supply systems, the publication said.
Eight regional initiatives and programmes offer financial and technical assistance in the Western Balkans with the total amount available of over EUR 733.6 million, the analysis found. A large majority of this funding, over EUR 500 million, remained underutilized due to the lack of appropriate delivery mechanisms to link the local energy efficiency projects with the available financing, the publication said.