European Call for Energy Efficiency Aid for SMEs

Small and medium-sized firms need financial help to recruit experts to apply for loans for energy efficiency projects, industry representatives said at a workshop in Brussels on Wednesday. SMEs do not have sufficient resources to do so at the moment, they said.

Guido Lena of small business association Ueapme told delegates there should be greater support through the European Commission's Environmental Compliance Assistance Programme (ECAP) and tax breaks at national level for efficiency investments. He would like the ECAP to fund expert centres for SMEs.

Yvonne Finger from the commission agreed that SMEs were facing difficulty. She noted that, according to the latest figures from the Observatory of European SMEs, only 29% have adopted saving energy measures compared with 46% for large firms. Only 4% of SMEs have comprehensive efficiency systems in place.

The official said the commission did not have plans to establish specific efficiency benchmarks or standards for SMEs, since progress is evaluated by sector rather than by business size. The workshop was organised by European chemical industry association Cefic as part of Sustainable Energy Week.

Thursday 25th March 2010

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