Firms fail to absorb EU energy efficiency money
21. 11. 2016 | Source: BusinessInfo.cz
It’s increasingly clear that concerns voiced by EU funding experts were justified: Czech businesses are unable to absorb the full amount of European energy efficiency subsidies.
Six months after the closing of the call for proposals under the Operational Program for Enterprise and Innovation for Competitiveness, the Czech industry and trade ministry has allocated subsidies to 427 applicants, worth a total of around CZK 2bn. Reviews of only 18 more applications are pending. The overall allocations will thus fall considerably short of the CZK 5bn available to the ministry to support energy efficiency and energy savings.
“We received 575 applications, 46 of which were subsequently either withdrawn by applicants or rejected due to formal shortcomings. The 18 applications still pending will be processed by the end of November,” said ministry spokesperson František Kotrba. If all the successful applicants realise their projects as proposed, overall energy consumption should be reduced by 1.1 petajoule, or half a percentage point of the total energy savings the country has pledged to achieve by 2020.
The ministry itself is beginning to sound the alarm bells as the projects with approved EU subsidies are insufficient to ensure the Czech Republic achieves its intended energy savings. Terms and conditions attached to the subsidies have also this year caused heating plants to put modernisation investments on the back burner. But Martin Hájek, director of the District Heating Association of the Czech Republic, said: “If the ministry succeeds in reviewing the new applications, investments could be revived once again come next year.”
Sadly, the results achieved in the Czech Republic under the Operational Program Enterprise and Innovation for Competitiveness are not the worst in utilising available funding. The Integrated Regional Operational Programme that provides funding for apartment building renovations has fared even worse. As much as CZK 1.35bn was available to property owners under this year’s first call for proposals, yet the regional development ministry has so far allocated a meagre CZK 61m.
Originally published in E15 weekly, economic and business newsmagazine. Author: Jaroslav Bukovský