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European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency
News article1 July 20213 min read

As it happened: Covenant of Mayors Investment Forum – Energy Efficiency Finance Market Place


The 2021 Covenant of Mayors Investment Forum - Energy Efficiency Finance Market Place took place on 15 and 16 June.

The event was jointly organised by the European Commission’s Directorates-General for Energy and Climate Action, and the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA), in close collaboration with the Covenant of Mayors initiative.

This year’s edition, held online due to the pandemic, was attended by more than 500 people representing local authorities, the finance sector and other key stakeholders from across Europe.

Inspirational leaders

Cities and regions play a key role in the clean energy transition and climate change adaptation. Europe needs energy transition leaders with ambitious objectives. The conference saw these leaders sharing experiences of successful initiatives and models with their peers. This interaction is vital as it can help interested parties to plan and finance pioneering sustainable energy and climate projects and encourage their replication across Europe. Both the public and private finance sectors were well represented as they are key for making investments happen on the ground.

Keynote speakers in the opening session, including CINEA’s Director Dirk Beckers, shared inspirational thoughts and developments at local, regional, national and European level.

In addition, Ditte Juul Jørgensen, Director-General for Energy (DG ENER), and Clara De La Torre, Deputy Director-General for Climate Action, presented the latest policy developments from the European Commission. These include the European Green Deal and the renovation wave strategy.

Also, Rafal Trzaskowski, Mayor of Warsaw and Covenant of Mayors Board Member, and Matthias Seewald, Chief Investment Officer at Allianz France, represented cities and local authorities developing sustainable projects, and the finance sector, respectively.

35 project sessions. 5 thematic strands

35 project sessions, divided into five thematic strands, were held over the one-and-a-half-day event. These looked at a multitude of innovative solutions from across Europe to boost large-scale investment in and financing for sustainable energy and climate adaptation. Most of these solutions have received funding under the Horizon 2020 and LIFE programmes. Initiatives supported by the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development were also showcased.

During the first Driving change locally: sustainable plans and strategies for the energy transition strand, it was agreed that cities and regions need to plan now and that local governments can be key enablers of the energy transition, contributing to European climate and energy targets.

The Financing energy efficiency in the public sector strand presented public sector energy efficiency projects on buildings, street lighting and mobility. These projects help achieve national energy targets and support the European Green Deal. But the small size of projects, limited finances, high costs and a lack of staff were identified as barriers to success. Examples of Project Development Assistance (PDA) and European Local ENergy Assistance (ELENA) showed how cities and regions have addressed these barriers by successfully investing in their territories.

Discussions under the Renovation Wave: Boosting investments in home renovation strand focused on how to make home renovations more easily accessible and coordinated. This saw some European homeowner and building managers giving tangible examples of how integrated home renovation services can make the renovation process as painless as possible.

Participants in the Public investments in climate change adaptation innovation strand agreed that obtaining funding, raising support among the public and decision-makers, and showing other benefits beyond the primary adaptation benefits are key to the transition towards urban resilience.

The fifth strand on Innovative solutions to finance energy efficiency and renewables looked at how to make energy efficiency investments more attractive. Potential solutions presented include encouraging companies to view energy efficiency investments as good for their public image. Taking out energy-saving insurance was also deemed an important solution.

A new addition: 7 discussion forums

This year’s conference included discussion forums for the first time. These focused on the latest European climate and energy policy developments, including the renovation wave strategy, the Energy Poverty Advisory Hub, the Energy Efficiency Financial Institution Group and the European City Facility. Financial instruments to support the energy renovation of housing across Europe were also discussed. Crucially, these forums highlighted the key role of citizens, local and regional authorities as well as market stakeholders in the clean energy transition.

The LIFE programme held an online information session on the clean energy transition and climate change adaptation and mitigation sub-programmes. Speakers included Christian Strasser, Head of Unit for LIFE energy and LIFE climate, as well as other European Commission and CINEA representatives. They presented the structure of the new programme and its main areas of intervention.

Finally, a highly interactive virtual fair comprising 15 institutional stands took place during the second day. And a networking platform encouraged interaction among participants.

Want to find out more?

Watch the recording of the sessions here.

See all the presentations here.


Publication date
1 July 2021