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Capacity building and technical assistance

The EU supports energy efficiency projects and initiatives, from idea to implementation, by financing legal, technical and financial support.

Many public or private investors such as cities, individuals or businesses, need assistance to take their energy efficiency projects from idea to implementation. The EU has a number of facilities to finance legal, technical and financial support for large-scale projects with high investment advantage for each public euro going into them.

Sustainable Energy Investment Forums

The Sustainable Energy Investment Forums (SEI Forums) initiative is part of the European Commission’s efforts to

  • activate private-sector investments
  • enhance access to finance for energy efficiency projects
  • help replicate and scale up best practices and innovative approaches

It supports both the Smart Finance for Smart Buildings initiative and the Renovation Wave strategy. Moreover, it is in line with the EU Sustainable Finance strategy, which recognises the importance of addressing energy efficiency finance.

Since its launch, the SEI forum initiative has cooperated closely with the Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group (EEFIG), which facilitates dialogue between the financial sector, public authorities and all stakeholders involved in delivering investments in sustainable energy at EU and national levels.

Since 2017, a series of SEI forum events have been organised across Europe, and online.

InvestEU Advisory Hub

The InvestEU Programme acts as a single investment support mechanism replacing all the existing, centrally managed, financial instruments as well as gathering technical assistance support under the common umbrella of its Advisory Hub.

The Advisory Hub can provide technical assistance and advice for energy efficiency projects, including dedicated project development assistance grants for the preparation of aggregated investment projects through the ELENA facility.

European local energy assistance

The European local energy assistance (ELENA) is implemented by the European Investment Bank (EIB) on behalf of the European Commission. It provides project development assistance in the form of grants to final beneficiaries for the preparation of their investment projects in energy efficiency, integrated renewable energy and sustainable transport in cities. The grant covers up to 90% of the technical support cost needed to prepare the investment programme for implementation and financing.

ELENA is the main EU instrument for project development assistance for energy efficiency. It helps public and private entities create profitable projects at local level, increase investments, and stimulate aggregation by allowing beneficiaries to reach critical mass.

ELENA has proved a very successful tool to address key barriers that prevent finance and to trigger real investments for building renovation. Since it was established in 2009, it has helped mobilise more than €7 billion in sustainable energy and transport investments with a leverage factor of 34, meaning that every euro spent on ELENA led, on average, to 34 euros in investment.

In EU policy, ELENA was a key element for the implementation of the Smart Finance for Smart Buildings initiative that was launched with the 'Clean energy for all Europeans' package, and the Renovation Wave Communication identifies ELENA as one of the main pillars to increase EU renovation rates. The Commission, together with the EIB, will help EU countries to design national or local programmes replicating the ELENA model.

Project development assistance

Horizon 2020 funded dedicated calls for projects from €7.5 and up to €50 million, which help public and private promoters to develop sustainable energy investments projects. This funding support continues as of 2021 under the LIFE- Clean Energy Transition sub-programme.

The thematic coverage of the support includes energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions in buildings and urban infrastructure.

European City Facility

The European City Facility (EUCF) was funded as a pilot project under Horizon 2020. The funding of EUCF will continue under the LIFE- Clean Energy Transition sub-programme. It supports local authorities and their groupings with tailor-made, fast and simplified financial support (in the form of €60,000 lump sums) and related services to enable municipalities in Europe to develop relevant investment concepts.

Technical Support Instrument

The Technical Support Instrument (TSI) is a programme that provides tailor-made technical expertise to EU countries to design and implement reforms. The support is demand driven and does not require co-financing from EU countries. It is an important pillar of the EU’s initiative to help countries mitigate the economic and social consequences of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The TSI provides technical support in a wide range of policy areas, such as the green transition, including climate action, circular economy and energy transition.


ManagEnergy is a Horizon 2020 funded initiative dedicated to regional and local energy agencies with the objectives of assisting them in becoming leaders in the energy transition and increasing sustainable energy investments in regions and cities. It provides information, know-how, visibility and networking opportunities and supports local and regional energy agencies in delivering new services or boosting existing ones.