EU Auditors Criticise Energy Efficiency Projects

From BBC News

The projects examined by the Court of Auditors were in the Czech Republic, Italy and Lithuania. Those countries received the most EU funding for such projects in 2007-2013.

National authorities used the funds to refurbish buildings, but the spending would not be recouped for 50 years on average, the report said.

That time scale was “far too long”.

In some cases the savings would not appear for up to 150 years. Such a delay would go beyond the expected lifetime of the buildings concerned.

In a wide-ranging package of green energy measures the EU has set itself the target of increasing energy efficiency by 20% by 2020.

The auditors looked at a sample of 24 energy efficiency projects co-financed by the Cohesion Fund and European Regional Development Fund. Under co-financing, the national governments contribute a percentage of the investment themselves.

The auditors say the European Commission, which allocates EU budget funds, should ensure that such projects undergo a thorough needs assessment first, and that proper monitoring for cost-effectiveness is done.

The report complained of a lack of necessary data, because energy audits are not mandatory in Italy and Lithuania. In the Czech Republic, where they are required, the recommended investment options were far too costly.

Last September the EU adopted a new Energy Efficiency Directive, in a drive to reach the 20% savings goal.

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