Public Consultation on the EIB Energy Lending Policy

Citizen participation in the energy transition represents significant potential investment. The new Clean Energy Package (CEP), and its resulting EU legal framework to support ‘citizens’ and ‘renewable’ energy communities, as well as renewables self-consumption, should contribute towards meeting this potential.

The existing EIB lending policy will need to be amended to fit the new context of the CEP, including its intent to ensure citizens can participate both individually and collectively through energy communities across the energy market. The CEP explicitly acknowledges the unique characteristics of energy communities, citing them as providing added value in terms of different environmental, economic and social benefits, as well as challenges in operating in the market.

Citizens and communities face unique challenges in investing in renewables, energy efficiency and other clean energy technologies, compared to larger commercial enterprises. In order to promote a democratic energy system, the EIB will need to ensure that its lending policy guidelines acknowledge these differences, and should help smaller and non-traditional market actors to access EU funds on a level playing field with other traditional market actors.

To ensure that the EIB's Energy Lending Criteria supports Europe's long-term decarbonisation objectives as well as energy democracy in the energy transition, in revising its Energy Lending Criteria, the EIB should:

  1. Stop all funding for nuclear energy and exploration, extraction and use of fossil - both in and outside of Europe.
  2. Improve access to citizen, community and local authority-led projects focusing on renewables, energy efficiency and innovative distribution-level energy technologies, including those that focus on rural areas and facilitating participation by vulnerable and low income households.
  3. Improve technical assistance to energy communities and local authorities so they can aggregate smaller projects, including simplified administrative procedures and hands-on support from the EIB.
  4. Revise the ELENA Programme rules for citizen energy community projects, including extending timelines for coming up with binding contracts, and extending funding beyond building-related projects (e.g. wind and solar pv projects).
  5. The EIB and the EU Commission should consider launching a 'Citizens Facility' to fully unlock the potential of community energy and get more people involved in the energy transition.