Private Finance For Energy Efficiency (PF4EE): EUR 75m to boost corporate energy efficiency investment in Belgium. Smart Cities, Climate Action & Circular Economy: an additional EUR 400m to support Smart Cities, the fight against global warming and the circular economy
The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Belfius have signed two key agreements to encourage corporate investment aiming to improve energy efficiency in Belgium and help local authorities, inter-municipal utilities and non-profit organisations in education and healthcare to implement their smart and sustainable projects. These will be carried out in the energy, mobility, urban development, water, waste and e-government sectors and focus in particular on the circular economy and climate change.
Dirk Gyselinck, member of the management board at Belfius Banque & Assurances, and Pim van Ballekom, Vice-President of the EIB, have signed an agreement under the EIB and European Commission’s new Private Finance For Energy Efficiency (PF4EE) instrument (LIFE programme) to address the shortage of tailored and affordable commercial financing for energy efficiency investment.
The PF4EE instrument combines three elements. The first consists of an EIB loan for financing eligible energy efficiency projects, to be managed by local banks. The second component covers the losses potentially incurred by partner banks in relation to energy efficiency loans. The third component will bolster the implementation of the PF4EE instrument by transferring the technical and financial experience acquired in the course of other similar projects.
This agreement will enable Belfius to provide businesses with EUR 75m in loans on favourable terms for investments aimed at improving energy efficiency in Belgium, thereby addressing key climate-change issues.
These loans are available to both businesses and Energy Service Companies (ESCOs). Belfius will have access to the technical and financial expertise of specialised consultants and will benefit from a transfer of experience as part of PF4EE. These loans will also be secured by the PF4EE guarantee up to 80% of their value.
Projects financed by PF4EE will aim, in particular, to improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings (insulation, heating, ventilation, cooling, lighting, decentralised renewable energy production, etc.), reduce the energy consumption and strengthen the energy efficiency of industrial sites and processes, refit or extend urban heating or cooling networks, and improve the energy performance of public lighting systems. The projects will be implemented on behalf of either the borrowing companies themselves or their public or private sector customers.
This agreement with Belfius makes Belgium the fourth country to benefit from PF4EE after the Czech Republic, Spain and France. The European Commission and EIB aim to use this new instrument to generate EUR 1bn in energy efficiency investment across Europe. By extending access to this tailored and preferential financing for improving energy efficiency to Belgian businesses, Belfius and the EIB are engaging in targeted action to reduce CO2 emissions and combat global warming.
It is essential to mobilise private finance to be able to implement an ambitious global climate agreement
Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, said: “It is essential to mobilise private finance to be able to implement an ambitious global climate agreement. I am delighted that this new instrument is starting to generate concrete projects aimed at reducing energy consumption and is leading to increased investment in energy efficiency.”
Smart Cities, Climate Action & Circular Economy
In addition to this major agreement, Belfius and the EIB also renewed their partnership for supporting the development of Smart Cities in Belgium.
Following the success of their Smart Cities & Sustainable Development programme – a European first when it was launched in June 2014 – Belfius and the EIB have decided to jointly provide an additional EUR 400m to finance smart, inclusive and sustainable projects mounted by local authorities, inter-municipal utilities and social sector (education and healthcare) non-profit organisations.
The scope of this new programme, dubbed Smart Cities, Climate Action & Circular Economy, has therefore been widened to encompass the social sector, and also aims to make investments “circular” in nature. It covers not only energy performance, mobility and urban development, but also water (distribution networks, sewers, drainage, treatment), waste (selective collection, sorting, biological treatment and sludge treatment, energy production) and e-government (particularly open data). In addition to an integrated, innovative and sustainable approach, the circular economy and climate action are now key components of project appraisal and evaluation.
More than 1 400 000 people have already benefited from EUR 400m across 62 projects
In two and a half years, 62 “Smart” projects have received financing totalling EUR 400m under this joint EIB-Belfius programme, with over 200 applications examined. These 62 projects – which are all either already up and running or in progress – affect 1 400 000 people and mostly fall within an integrated approach combining urban development, sustainable mobility and energy efficiency.
Several further applications are currently being assessed, and Belfius and the EIB are committed to using the new Smart Cities, Climate Action & Circular Economy programme to continue their active support for this dynamic, thereby contributing to sustainable growth – a source of prosperity and social progress for people and businesses.
EIB Vice-President Pim van Ballekom said: “Tackling climate change tops the EIB’s list of priorities. As the EU bank, we have real financial clout in this domain. However, we know that we will make a real difference by catalysing and mobilising even more capital, and by combining our resources, skills and expertise with those of others. We are delighted to support climate innovation once again by signing these two new climate operations in Belgium. Together with the European Commission, our institutional counterpart, and Belfius, our long-standing partner for these operations, we are sure our global approach – better energy performance, improved use of natural resources, circular investment projects, and smart and sustainable urban development – will quickly have a direct impact on our environment and people’s daily lives.”
Dirk Gyselinck, member of the management board at Belfius, said: “Given the numerous challenges to be overcome and climate change in particular, governments, social sector players and businesses have no choice but to work together, and with individuals, to think about and design the world of tomorrow. Our Smart Belgium strategy aims to make Belfius the driving force behind this initiative, providing tangible, local support and applying our financing and expertise to offer a smart and sustainable response to the needs of current and future generations. We are therefore particularly pleased to sign these two key agreements – which are fully in line with this strategy – with the EIB today.”
7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees
As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.
After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:
One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.
While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.
Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies
Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.
The Ability To Work Remotely
It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.
Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.
Unlimited Time Off
This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.
A Full Pantry
Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.
Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!
Top 5 Renewable Energy Stocks to Watch
Do you feel morally obligated to put your money where your mouth is? I totally get it. We all want to make the world a better place, and I want to help you put your investments to work for you and the planet we call home – we only get one.
Questor Technology – CVE:QST
Questor Technology is one of the most promising penny stocks to follow under $5. It turns out that investing in renewable energy stocks doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, you can get in on the ground floor by investing in penny stocks. These are companies that are just starting to make an impact. If they are successful in the long-run, you win BIG. If they fail, you’re only out a couple pennies. Small risk and big potential reward.
Questor Technology is exciting because they are solving one of the biggest barriers to a greener planet – huge waste and pollution from the oil and gas industry. When they first launched they enjoyed a couple of record years. But as the economy took a hit, so did the oil and gas sector.
I love these guys because they didn’t call it quits. Instead of hanging up the towel, they retooled and relaunched. Now, instead of selling clean energy tech to large oil and gas firms, they rent the tech out. This provides a stable, ongoing revenue. And, if the economy takes another dip, they can quickly scale operations back.
I’m expecting a major upswing. If you have a couple of extra pennies in your portfolio, chuck ‘em at these guys.
NRG Yield – NYSE:NYLD
If you’re willing to dance with the devil, NRG Yield is an exciting company to watch. They invest and offer all forms of energy – from renewable to traditional. I’m really encouraged by their massive investment in renewable energy.
In recent years, making energy more environmentally sustainable has become a focus for a company that used to be one of the bad guys. I think we should encourage companies to stop killing our planet. These guys are on a warpath on behalf of green energy – and so what if they showed up a little late to the party. Don’t we want to reward reform?
Oh, and speaking of green, they’ve had a phenomenal year for investors. I definitely recommend adding them to your portfolio.
Brookfield Asset Management – NYSE:BAM
This is an asset management firm that has gone big on renewable energy. Part of their genius is that they stayed on the sidelines while renewable firms launched and fought over access to technology and resources. While they watched the good guys duke it out, they swooped in and picked up green energy firms that stumbled.
This means that their investors are able to invest in green energy at a HUGE discount. Brookfield Asset Management has more than 100 years of experience making strong investment plays. I love that they allow investors to access green technology without paying the hype premium.
Pattern Energy Group – NASDAQ:PEGI
Based in San Francisco, Pattern Energy Group is a pure green energy play. They’ve spent that past few decades building, expanding and innovating with more than 20 renewable energy facilities. If you’re a bleeding heart with a passion for green energy, this is as good as it gets!
You can purchase stock in their company on two different exchanges – the NASDAQ and Toronto Stock Exchange. This allows investors both north and south of the border to avoid international transaction fees. Savvy investors can compare both markets to find the best bang for the green dollar.
Carnegie Clean Energy – ASX:CCE
I saved the best for last with this stock. Carnegie Clean Energy harnesses the kinetic motion of ocean waves to generate energy. Their tech has been proven by the Australian defense sector – helping to power a naval base at Garden Island.
They also have dipped into other forms of renewable energy, so they have a bright future in a variety of markets. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a buyout shortly based on the proprietary, proven technology that this firm owns the rights to.
In conclusion, it is totally possible to be green-conscious while making some green for your investment portfolio. Some companies are more committed than others, but I’m not afraid of rewarding traditional energy companies if they’re making a solid effort to diversify and make the world a greener place.