Policy assessment for innovative financing schemes in eCentral project countries

Written by Energy Agency Styria

Poor energy performances of public buildings as well as growing financial issues are at the core of the European Energy Efficiency Directive and Energy Performance Building Directive. The eCentral project supports key stakeholders to realize benefits of nearly zero energy buildings, using innovative financing schemes such as public private partnership (PPP), energy performance contracting (EPC) and crowdfunding (CF). To demonstrate viability of these models they will be tested with pilot actions which will focus on (re)construction of public buildings in three Central European target countries: Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia. These countries generally represent less developed markets in the context of innovative financial models which makes them an ideal ground for testing technical, legal and financial aspects of nearly zero energy building (re)constructions. Austria and Italy, on the other hand, are seen as mature financial markets whose success stories in this segment could be used for replication in Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia. However, findings in this assessment process of 2018 and 2020 have shown that public nZEB projects in all eCentral countries still face certain difficulties when it comes to use of innovative financial models.

The report gives an overview on the European situation of innovative financing schemes, namely PPP, EPC and CF. It summarizes the European legislation and market assessment of different research papers.

In addition, the current legal situation of innovative financing in eCentral project countries was assessed and compared with 2018. For each financing schemes, the market statistics have been updated (if available).

Project partners from Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia shared their experiences and lessons learned with their pilot projects. Each pilot action (PPP in Croatia, EPC in Hungary and CF in Slovenia) was described according to its challenges (legal, financial, constructional), partners highlighted success factors and estimated the potential for replication.

Finally, five national tables, summarizing advantages, challenges and barriers as well as opportunities and recommendations for each innovative financing scheme were developed.

The last chapter of the report provides a comparison between 2018 and 2020. The comparison was done using an online survey among the project partners, after they finished their research for the second assessment round of this deliverable. Therefore, the results of the survey are based on the experiences from the last three years with eCentral project, literature research and expert’s opinions. As conclusion, recommendations for a wider uptake of innovative financing schemes were given in the report.

The partners agreed that using innovative financing schemes encourages to find more creative and innovative solutions for the project itself (e.g. using novel technologies) and that public authorities shall use more innovative financing schemes. Nevertheless, using innovative financing schemes requires additional experts compared to traditional procurement. The highest potential of replication was assigned to energy performance contracting, followed by public private partnership and crowdfunding.