To achieve European and economic objectives, local authorities have a key role to play in improving energy efficiency (urban renewal, mobility, biomass energy, etc.). The RenoWatt project is focused in that direction and opens to all Wallonia with the support of the European Union’s ELENA Programme and the European Investment Bank.
The European Union’s Climate and Energy Objectives
By 2030, the European Union (EU) is committed to achieving:
- a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990: -43% compared to 2005 (Emissions Trading System – ETS) and -35% compared to 2005 (non-ETS such as transport, construction, etc.);
- a renewable energy share of at least 32% in the energy mix (binding target);
- a 32.5% increase in energy efficiency (primary energy consumption compared to 2007).
In view of these upcoming EU requirements, it is vital to set up structures to promote the energy-efficient renovation of buildings. Public and private buildings alone account for more than 40% of final energy consumption: the thermal refurbishment of buildings will create jobs and help limit the use of petroleum products.
The potential impact of this project goes beyond the EU’s obligations; investment in energy renovation sectors means investment in activities that generate value and wealth in terms of Wallonia’s GDP. The energy savings and the mobilisation of the construction sector will lead to the acquisition of expertise, within the Region and in financial tools. The deployment of appropriate training initiatives aimed at local recruitment by companies that can enter into energy performance contracts (EPCs), the introduction of new techniques for financing the transition, the development of new energy services operators in the private sector and the professionalisation of the “Walloon energy transition” are all benefits that this project can bring. More specifically, the development of an “industrial/economic” sector would result in an investment potential of more than EUR 30 billion and the creation of more than 17 000 jobs over the next 30 years.
Background to the RenoWatt project
The RenoWatt project aims to improve the energy efficiency of public buildings. It is a one-stop shop which is responsible for the conclusion of EPCs, selects buildings that are suitable candidates for renovation, launches the public procurement procedure and assists municipalities with the implementation of EPCs. This project will be partly financed by a grant from the EU’s ELENA programme via the European Investment Bank (EIB).
Its pilot phase was carried out in the Liège area between 2014 and 2017 by the non-profit organisation GRE Liège and led to the conclusion of five EPCs totalling EUR 59 million and covering the renovation of 136 buildings. In May 2017, the European Union awarded it the prize for the best European energy project.
This project must now be developed and extended to the whole of Wallonia (recommendations included in the Air, Climate and Energy Plan 2030). RenoWatt is now a “delegated mission” of the Walloon Government. It is handled by the specialist company B.E.FIN, which is 51% owned by the Walloon Government and 49% by SRIW Environnement.
Operation and financing of RenoWatt
The RenoWatt project will support municipalities in their energy transition by focusing on three areas: energy performance contracts (EPCs), pooling of buildings and central purchasing. The objective is to offer free technical assistance to Wallonia’s 262 municipalities with a view to carrying out at least EUR 100 million of investments under EPCs covering more than 500 buildings. In economic terms, this represents:
- 31 000 hours of training and/or use of social integration companies amounting to at least EUR 2 million;
- energy savings of 53 GWh/year;
- emissions reductions of 15 600 tonnes CO2e/year;
- RenoWatt will pay particular attention to municipalities that are members of POLLEC (Local Energy and Climate Policy). Currently, twelve municipalities have joined the RenoWatt project, ten have shown interest, and three have expressed interest but are postponing their involvement until after the municipal elections.
A budget of EUR 5.2 million for a duration of up to 3.5 years is planned: EUR 3.5 million financed by the EU (ELENA) and EUR 1.7 million financed by the Walloon Government.
For the EIB, which manages the ELENA technical assistance programme on behalf of the European Commission, RenoWatt is an excellent example of how ELENA supports the preparation and implementation of investments in public buildings to reduce energy consumption and increase the use of renewable energy.
Note to editors:
The RenoWatt project aims to improve the energy efficiency of public buildings. RenoWatt provides comprehensive assistance to local authorities to support them with the energy-efficient renovation of their buildings. It is a one-stop shop which is responsible for the conclusion of EPCs, selects buildings that are suitable candidates for renovation, pools them together, launches the public procurement procedure and assists municipalities with the implementation of EPCs. These are all tasks that small local authorities are unable to perform but are crucial for meeting the objectives of renovating public buildings and complying with the relevant EU requirements.
This project is financed by an EU ELENA grant of EUR 3.5 million from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and by a EUR 1.7 million contribution from the Walloon Region.
RenoWatt is implemented by the limited company B.E.FIN S.A. (owned by the Walloon Region and SRIW Environnement) via a delegated mission. The initial duration of the delegated mission is 42 months. To find out more, go to http://www.gre-liege.be/renowatt/25/renowatt
ELENA is a joint initiative of the EIB and the European Commission under the “Intelligent Energy – Europe (IEE II)” programme, and is currently financed by EU funds from the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
ELENA supports project promoters by providing technical assistance grants for the preparation of major investment projects worth more than EUR 30 million to improve energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the renewable energy share of energy consumption. It also backs the development of sustainable urban transport. To find out more, go to www.eib.org/products/advising/elena