European Court of Auditors finds misuse of €5 billion subsidies for energy efficiency

Hot on the heels of  the criticism in the UK by the Public Accounts Committee of the over-generous licencing of wind-farms comes this criticism by the European Court of Auditors of the €5 billion wasted in the EU ostensibly on energy efficiency projects. (pdf report here).

Subsidies encourage cheating and corruption and green subsidies rarely achieve their objectives and are proving to be an utter waste.

European Court of Auditors:

“The Member States were essentially using this money to refurbish public buildings while energy efficiency was, at best, a secondary concern,” said ECA Member Harald Wögerbauer (AT). Since 2000, the European Union, through its Cohesion Policy funds, spent almost €5 billion for co-financing energy efficiency measures in the Member States. The Court found that the projects selected by Member State authorities for financing did not have rational objectives in terms of cost-effectiveness, i.e. cost per unit of energy saved. The planned payback period for the investments was 50 years on average, and up to 150 years in certain cases.

BBC:  The projects examined by the Court of Auditors were in the Czech Republic, Italy and Lithuania. Those countries received the most EU funding for such projects in 2007-2013.

National authorities used the funds to refurbish buildings, but the spending would not be recouped for 50 years on average, the report said. ….  The auditors looked at a sample of 24 energy efficiency projects co-financed by the Cohesion Fund and European Regional Development Fund. Under co-financing, the national governments contribute a percentage of the investment themselves.

The auditors say the European Commission, which allocates EU budget funds, should ensure that such projects undergo a thorough needs assessment first, and that proper monitoring for cost-effectiveness is done.

The report complained of a lack of necessary data, because energy audits are not mandatory in Italy and Lithuania. In the Czech Republic, where they are required, the recommended investment options were far too costly.

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