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Sustainable energy - 29.03.2010

Barcelona province to be the first to receive ELENA funding
The province of Barcelona will be the first to receive funds from the European Local Energy Assistance facility (ELENA).

This first agreement, announced at the launch of the EU Sustainable Energy Week (22 to 26 March), will be signed in April. It will allow the Catalan province to implement a €500 million project, which aims at saving 280 gigawatts of hours in energy per year and to reduce annual CO2 emissions by 170 000 to 200 000 tons.
ELENA, which is managed by the European Investment Bank (EIB) on behalf of the European Commission, brings technical support to cities and regions wanting to implement sustainable energy projects, especially in the transport and buildings sectors. The programme is meant to push for the creation of new jobs and "help all of Europe reach its climate related objectives," explains Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Energy.

The ELENA facility, financed by the "Intelligent Energy - Europe II" (IEE) programme, brings technical support to cities and regions so that they may attract funding from local banks and other sources, such as the EIB. More specifically, the programme notably allows for local and regional authorities to finance feasibility and market studies, energy audits, the hiring of additional staff and the preparing of tendering procedures. ELENA is particularly well adapted to projects having been developed in the context of the Covenant of Mayors.

More than 200 cities and regions have thus far asked for more information concerning the programme, while 16 are currently engaged in detailed discussions with the EIB. The Commission and EIB predict that more than €1 billion will be invested in such projects throughout the course of 2010.

EIB President, Philippe Maystadt, announced that the investment bank hopes to work with the Commission in coming months in order to establish similar tools for the Europe 2020 strategy.
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