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Establishing a programme to aid economic recovery by granting Community financial assistance to projects in the field of energy

COMMISSION DECLARATION — Statement by Portugal

The Commission underlines that energy efficiency and renewable energy sources are key priorities of EU energy policy, both for environmental and for security of supply reasons. In this respect, the Regulation will contribute to these priorities by giving substantial support to offshore wind projects.

The Commission recalls in this context the various other new initiatives supporting energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, suggested by the Commission notably in its European Recovery Plan, which was endorsed by the European Council of December 2008. These include:

A modification to the ERDF Regulation to allow investments up to EUR 8 billion in energy efficiency and renewable energies in housing in all the Member States.

A public-private partnership on a European energy-efficient buildings initiative to promote green technologies and the development of energy-efficient systems and materials in new and renovated buildings. The estimated envelope for this action is EUR 1 billion: EUR 500 million from existing EC FP7 budget over the years 2010 to 2013 and EUR 500 million from industry.

The EC-EIB initiative EU Sustainable Energy Financing Initiative. It aims at enabling investments for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in urban settings. The Commission finances a technical assistance facility from the Intelligent Energy Europe programme (annual allocation of 15 M EUR for 2009). This facility, managed by the EIB, will facilitate access to EIB loans with substantial leverage effects.

The creation by EU institutional investors — led by the EIB — of a market oriented equity fund, called Marguerite: the 2020 European Fund for Energy, Climate Change and Infrastructure. This Fund would invest in the areas of energy and climate change (TEN-E, sustainable energy production, renewable energy, new technologies, energy efficiency investments, security of supply, as well as environmental infrastructure). The Commission supports this initiative.

Furthermore, the Commission will present before the end of November 2009 the revision of the energy efficiency action plan as demanded by Council (Conclusions of the European Council of March 2009) and Parliament (EP Resolution P6_TA(2009)0064).

There is agreement among experts that energy efficiency is the cheapest available option to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Commission will provide by November 2009 a detailed analysis of the obstacles for increased energy efficiency investments. It will in particular examine whether there is a need for increased financial incentives in the form of low-interest loans and/or grants, how the European budget could be used to this end, and, if appropriate, the Commission will include, inter alia, additional funds for financing of energy efficiency in the new EU Energy Security and Infrastructure Instrument, to be presented in 2010.

When reviewing the energy efficiency action plan, the Commission will pay particular attention to the neighbourhood dimension of energy efficiency. It will analyze how it can give financial and regulatory incentives to neighbourhood countries to step up their investments in energy efficiency.

Should the Commission, when reporting in 2010 on the implementation of the Regulation under its Article 28, find that it will not be possible to commit by the end of 2010 a part of the funds foreseen for the projects listed in the annex to the Regulation, the Commission will propose, if appropriate and in a geographically balanced way, an amendment to the Regulation allowing for the financing of projects in the area of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, in addition to the above initiatives, including eligibility criteria similar to those applying to projects listed in the Annex to this Regulation.

    Portugal is voting in favour, although in its view, in a review of the programme under Article 28, consideration should be given to the inclusion of renewable-energy and energy-efficiency projects, particularly for microgeneration and for smart grids and meters, to help achieve the objectives in Article 4(a) and (b) of the Regulation.