Cities and municipalities play a key role in Europe’s transition towards sustainable energy. They have tremendous potential to build comprehensive sustainable energy investment programmes (i.e. investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy). Moreover, they can encourage the pooling of smaller projects into larger investment portfolios and mobilise the significant financial resources required for the energy transition. Although the potential is immense, there are fundamental obstacles. In many cases, there is a lack of credible, robust and sufficiently mature investment concepts. However, such concepts, which should include the identification of potential project pipelines, legal analysis, governance analysis, basic financing strategy, and roadmaps for implementation, are a prerequisite to accessing different sources of funding.
In this context, a new pan-European City Facility (EUCF), set up under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, will provide tailor-made, rapid and simplified financial support (grants up to 60,000 euros) and capacity building services to cities and municipalities that will enable them to develop sound investment packages and mobilise finance. The specific objectives of the EUCF are fourfold:
- It aims to provide hands-on, locally rooted technical and financial expertise to cities to deliver at least 225 credible and scalable investment concepts, which will trigger more than 320 million euros of public and private investment.
- Secondly, the EUCF strives to build the capacity of at least 450 public authority staff members to develop substantial project pipelines, with the help of tools, networking and knowledge transfer opportunities. This will facilitate and accelerate the implementation of the investment concepts via innovative financing mechanisms and project aggregation.
- Moreover, the EUCF wants to facilitate access, especially for small and medium-sized municipalities, to private finance, EU funding streams and similar facilities, such as the European Structural and Investment Funds, the H2020 Project Development Assistance and the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) European Local Energy Assistance, as well as advisory services such as the EIB’s Advisory Hub. These will help to implement and amplify the expected investments.
- Finally, the EUCF aims to use the successful investment concepts and knowledge of its beneficiaries to reach out to more than 8,000 cities and communities to encourage replication and catalyse further action across European cities.
The EUCF is implemented by a consortium led by Energy Cities and accompanied by the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. adelphi is responsible for the design of the Facility, including planning and setting up the application, evaluation and investment concept processes and workflow. This also encompasses the development of corresponding methodologies, materials and support tools. Moreover, adelphi is in charge of validating the investment concepts and preparing a comprehensive framework to monitor and measure the impact of the Facility. Finally, adelphi supports the partners in setting up the governance structures, providing technical and financial expertise to the applicants and beneficiaries, ensuring smooth day-to-day operation and raising awareness of the Facility among local, regional, national and EU level stakeholders.