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World Energy Efficiency Day

05.03.2020. Today is the 22nd anniversary of the World Energy Efficiency Day. On this day in 1998, experts from around the world for the first time raised the issue of energy crisis; today, more than 2 decades later, we are faced with a far more complex problem of climate change.

Today is the 22nd anniversary of marking the World Energy Efficiency Day. On this day in 1998, experts from around the world for the first time raised the issue of energy crisis; today, more than 2 decades later, we are faced with a far more complex problem of climate change.

All of this is a result of the growing demand for energy, which is mainly generated from fossil fuels and causes greenhouse gas emissions, so significant efforts are being made to increase energy efficiency, reduce unnecessary consumption of energy, and to switch to the use of renewable energy sources.

In the last 20 years, a number of strategies and decisions have been steering the European economy and the economies of other countries in the direction of the solutions in favour of low-carbon development. The latest European Union Green Deal takes it even a step further proposing to achieve the complete climate neutrality of Europe by 2050. One of the key institutions in the implementation of energy efficiency policies in Croatia is the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund, which has been financing and implementing projects across the country for 16 years.

As buildings account for the greatest share of unnecessary energy consumption, in the last several years the Fund has allocated significant resources for supporting the programmes of energy renovation of inefficient buildings, as well as for RES projects, for which grant funding in the amount of HRK 60 million was allocated last year. This included micro solar power plants on houses and apartments, thus increasing energy independence of the citizens and energy generation from renewable sources. Special co-financing programmes were also organised in the transport sector, which is responsible for 25% of GHG emissions. In 2019, more than 40 million kunas were allocated for co-financing the purchase of electric vehicles to the citizens and companies, and for the construction of charging stations. To ensure better local planning of services for the citizens, 56 “smart city” projects were financed with HRK 8 million.

In accordance with the existing plan for reducing CO2 emissions, in 2020 the Fund will continue with the implementation of all successful programmes. To start with, professionals at the Fund will be available as expert assistance to the applicants to the call for energy renovation of apartment buildings, to help them in the preparation of project documentation and application process for co-financing. The programme of energy renovation of family houses will continue this year, and it will again be financed from national resources. One novelty is the percentage of co-financing, which will now be 60% for all citizens, regardless of the area where they live. The citizens should prepare for the call: check whether they have all ownership documents, the certificate of residence, they should have the energy audit and energy performance certificate prepared on time, because all these documents will be part of the application. Besides energy renovation of houses, the co-financing of the purchase of electric vehicles will continue, as well as of the RES systems. The funding will also be available to the local communities for the smart city projects, and the combination of these measures should result in energy savings and the reduction of GHG emissions.

For years, energy efficiency has been recognised as being a sort of new “energy source”, and the investments and innovations launched in this area have also been the new driving force for the economy, which is increasingly becoming responsible and “green”. In the next 30 years, it is expected we will be faced with even more challenges and rapid changes in our daily life and business operations in order to achieve the environmental and energy goals. Of course, the prerequisite for this is having informed and educated citizens, who are aware of the importance of energy efficiency, and who can recognise the benefits of energy renovation projects, or the benefits of use of renewable energy sources, or e-mobility.