GREENER-Ex, our ELENA project was born because AGENEX (Extremadura Energy Agency) had developed various preliminary energy studies, both in public lighting and public buildings belonging to the public administration in Extremadura (Spain). These studies have proved a high potential for savings; and though Extremadura’s regional government is very committed with energy efficiency and renewable energy, its administration did not have technical personnel capable of carrying out this work Therefore, it was decided to apply for an ELENA project called GREENER-Ex through its regional energy agency. The application process went smoothly and the contract was signed in December 2014.
The fact that the EIB grants an ELENA project does not mean that it finances the energy investments. Instead, it finances technical assistance that depends on the amount of investments that are mobilized. It also offers support to local and regional entities and accelerates their investments in energy efficiency and renewable energies. In the case of Extremadura, this has been possible thanks to the following:
- Feasibility studies to identify the best technologies that could be used.
- Energy audits both in public lighting and buildings.
- Identification of possible financial models that would allow these investments to be executed, in some cases they were supported through JESSICA.
- Management of contracts and public tenders, and monitoring of the works.
The implementation of an ELENA in Extremadura has had important benefits for the region. For instance, it has allowed over 160 municipalities to make investments in energy efficiency and renewable energies. These investments can be divided into four main groups depending on the technology used: 1) roughly 50% went to more efficient technologies for public lighting; 2) 30% to energy efficiency in buildings; 3) 10% to e-mobility investments; and 4) 10% to biomass heating.
The main difficulty has been the long timing periods required for public tenders, and the delays occured from reclamations. Unfortunately, these times are mandatory requirements according to Spanish Law and it is impossible to overcome. This is one of the reasons why some of the planned investments have not been executed within the project’s lifetime.
Offering advice and assistance in the financial aspects is especially relevant when dealing with small municipalities Debt calculation in ESCO contracts has also been a problem during the implementation phases. Many efforts have been devoted to promote this type of contracts, and even if it hasn’t been possible within the regional administration, it has been successful at local level, particularly for public lighting. It must be said that, having solved the initial issues with this kind of contract thanks to GREENER-Ex, this model will be used for future energy improvements that will be developed in the 11 hospitals of the region, with a total estimated investment of over 40M€.
Even if some troubles were fund in the way, an ELENA has many advantages for a region, and the overall experience in Extremadura has been very positive: the investments that have been executed have almost reached 30M€ but, this figure increases to 50M€ if we consider the amount tendered, and over 75M€ if we consider the technical support given altogether.
MORE: EIB Factsheet
- Publication date
- 19 April 2023