A European-wide partnership is pooling its expertise to promote an innovative model for energy efficiency in manufacturing SMEs. The recent European Commission Communication on Energy Efficiency 2014 sets ambitious targets for 2030 and specifically cites the importance of reduced energy consumption in Industry.
The Commission notes that European businesses, particularly the manufacturing industry, have already contributed to improving energy efficiency. However, SMEs continue to face barriers: they have insufficient information; they cannot cover all the necessary skills; they lack access to finance for the implementation of new systems. Given the key role that our SMEs play in terms of energy consumption (they may be small, but they make up 99% of European companies, so their combined impact is massive!) new, creative and concrete means of supporting them are necessary.
9 European partners, including EEIP, have developed the EnErgoS methodology to provide multi-stakeholder support to manufacturing SMEs in the phases of energy audit and of design, funding and implementation of their energy management systems. EnErgoS - Energy Efficiency in SMEs, adapts the CONNECT model for company support and uses it for the first time in the field of Energy Efficiency. The CONNECT Global Network runs through national-wide networks of representatives from the business community and government as well as investors, entrepreneurs and researchers all working to create sustainable growth amongst starts-ups and small businesses. Representatives are brought together to provide support to a specific business idea brought to them by a company. Network members provide guidance and strategic advice on finance, technical issues and business development in order to address weakness presented by the SME and build on their strengths. The key to the approach is the provision of an individual programme tailored to the SME, customised to their development stage and challenges and supported by the range of expertise that the members can bring.
Within EnErgoS, partners have created 6 local multi-stakeholder groups and 1 EU supervisory board, which combine the necessary expertise to provide a range of services to SMEs during a pilot phase (involving around 120 SMEs) and a subsequent phase of wider application (involving a further 300 SMEs). The services will help them to: define an energy management system, build capacity to apply the system, access financing and implement targeted energy saving measures.
The proposal was presented for funding on the European Commission's H2020 programme for research and innovation and evaluation results are pending. Fingers crossed!
By Jessica Huntingford, Resolvo Srl & Giulia Bubbolini, CISE