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Press release

Unspent EU money to fund clean and efficient energy projects Plenary sessions

Parliament voted on Thursday in favour of plans to release €146 million of unused EU funds to finance energy saving, energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Amended legislation on the European Energy Recovery Plan (EERP) will channel the unspent money into a new fund, to finance projects such as: • renovations of public and private buildings to improve energy efficiency or switching to renewable energy; • the construction of renewables-based heat-and-power installations, with distribution networks, and their integration into electricity grids; • clean urban public transport solutions, particularly electric and hydrogen vehicles; • local infrastructure, including efficient street lighting, electricity storage, smart metering and smart grids. The fund will focus chiefly on helping local and regional authorities to pay for such projects, which must be economically and financially viable, so as to refund the investment in due course. A total of €146.34 million will be available from 1 January 2011 and must be allocated by 31 March 2014. Contributions from the fund could take the form of loans, guarantees, equity or other financial products. Up to 15% of the funding may be used to provide technical assistance to public authorities to help set up the projects. Geographical balance is to be an important criterion in the selection of projects. Parliament adopted the amended legislation by 582 votes to 27 with 7 abstentions. Background The EERP, which was launched in 2009, aims to boost economic recovery by funding energy projects such as cross-border gas and electricity inter-connectors, offshore wind parks, and Carbon Capture and Storage projects (CCS). In 2010 a total of €3.98 billion was earmarked for such plans. Parliament sought to include energy efficiency and renewable energy in the EERP when it was first proposed. The European Commission has promised to consider this at a later stage, using funds unspent by the end of 2010. The amended regulation provides a legal base to do this, otherwise the money would go back to national budgets. Next steps Legislation still has to be formally approved by the Council before the end of the year. Due to the urgent need to address the economic crisis, it should enter into force immediately on publication. Contact : Janez VOUK

EN

Press Service Directorate for the Media Director - Spokesperson : Jaume DUCH GUILLOT Reference No.: 20101110IPR93912 Press switchboard number (32-2) 28 33000

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Press release ITRE BXL: (+32) 2 28 31053 STR: (+33) 3 881 74897 PORT: (+32) 498 98 33 37 EMAIL: indu-press@europarl.europa.eu Paola BUONADONNA London PORT: (+44) 7 786 060 531 EMAIL: Press-en@europarl.europa.eu ADDINFO: (+44) 207 227 43 35 Eimear NÍ BHROIN Dublin STR: (+33) 3 881 64122 PORT: (+353) 868 559 423 EMAIL: Press-en@europarl.europa.eu EMAIL: eimear.nibhroin@europarl.europa.eu ADDINFO: (+353) 1 605 79 32

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