In a press release, European Court of Auditors announced that EU-funded projects still do not focus on achieving the greatest potential energy savings per euro invested, despite the improved guidance from the European Commission.
Building sector has the largest energy-saving potential and plays a crucial role on reaching the set targets for cutting back EU Member States’ energy consumption by 32.5% by 2030. For 2014-2020, the EU allocated some €14 billion to improving the energy efficiency of buildings, from which the €4.6 billion was allocated for the renovation of the residential buildings; an amount that was supplemented by Member States’ budget by €2 billion.
The auditors criticize national authorities in Member States that when they set up EU-funded programmes, they do not always assess initial energy consumption, potential energy savings and investment needs. According to their report, this results to direct EU funds towards projects that are less likely to realise energy savings; by funding simple upgrades that may have happened without EU support (e.g. installation of LED lighting).
The report concludes that the operational programmes and the project selection are not driven by a cost-effectiveness rationale and recommends that improvements are needed in the planning, selection and monitoring phase of the investments to improve cost-effectiveness of spending.