Sefcovic promises EU funds for energy efficiency programs

Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission vice president responsible for Energy Union, who was in Athens yesterday as part of a tour of European capitals to check on energy union progress of EU member states, promised local authorities the utilization of EU structural and investment funds to help Greece develop energy efficiency projects.

According to sources, Sefcovic elaborated on the positive impact such projects would have on the country’s effort to reach EU energy efficiency targets, adding that consumers also stand to benefit through reduced electricity and gas bills.

The funds discussed by Sefcovic could finance projects such as the already activated “Saving at Home” program subsidizing household energy efficiency upgrades, while new funds could also be created to support the development of ESCOs (Energy Service Companies), which specialize in energy efficiency projects and are paid according to the level of success of projects taken on.

Though legal framework permitting ESCOs to operate in Greece exists, financing issues, including the high cost of money and bank loan restrictions, has kept a lid on their emergence.

Commenting on Greece’s energy union progress, Sefcovic noted that “plenty has been accomplished but much more still needs to be done.” He encouraged the Greek government to continue making ambitious revisions.

On this visit, Sefcovic held a series of meetings with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, energy minister Panos Skourletis, and other local energy officials.