75% of the fund allocated by AFM for renewable energy, lost

Categorie: Public policies and measures for the energy transition Data postare: 1 September 2022

The Environmental Fund administration managed to distribute to the population only 25% of the funds it had available for the promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency in the period 2009-2021. An analysis of Bankwatch Romania raises a red flag on the administration’s ability to solve and financially support the applications for the installation of renewable heating and electricity production systems.

In the report, attention is drawn to the fact that the administration spent only RON 563 million of the total allocated sum of RON 3.3 billion in the period 2009-2022. Moreover, out of 140,000 applicants, individuals and public institutions, between 46,000-60,000 had their files approved by May 2022. If all the citizens who applied had received funding, then we could have replaced 5.5% of polluting energy, with a reduction of 477,000 tons of CO2.

“Romania needs a more efficient administration. We need now functional programs to promote local energy production and energy efficiency, especially since a reduction in the price of energy is more than necessary, and photovoltaic panels can be a lifeline for both the citizen and the state,” said Laura Nazare, coordinator of the energy transition campaign at Bankwatch Romania.

The main goal of these programs is to reduce carbon emissions and increase renewable energy capacity, but these indicators are not tracked by the administration.

According to the NGO’s calculations, if all 46,000 citizens had managed to install a 3 kw photovoltaic system, the energy produced by them would have replaced 1.8% of the energy produced from coal, the most polluting fuel, and would have saved 156,000 tons of carbon emissions. If all citizens who applied would had received funding, then we could have replaced 5.5% of polluting energy, with a reduction of 477,000 tonnes of CO2.

At the moment, however, it is not known how many of the citizens with approved files have managed to install their projects and settle the sums of money.

“We can only assume that those who have approved files managed to install their photovoltaic panels. But this is contradicted by the reality, where many citizens complain that they have waited 2 years to benefit from their own energy,” added Laura Nazare.

Bankwatch Association proposes a series of measures to streamline the implementation of AFM programs and to better measure results:

  • The establishment of effective mechanisms for measuring and reporting the performance of financing programs, so that an updated database is created on the amount of greenhouse gas emissions reduced as a result of the financed projects, their contribution to improving the level of efficiency energy and the actual number of energy production systems from renewable sources installed.
  • Increasing the level of transparency regarding the evolution of funding programs and their results. Currently, public information about AFM programs and their implementation is incomplete, unclear and in many cases differs from one source to another.
  • Increasing administrative capacity for effective implementation of financing programs. Insufficient staff in relation to the workload is a frequent cause, recognized for several years by the Administration’s management
  • Allocating an amount in each program to hire or contract consultants to assist beneficiaries in completing their files and applications. If this leads to an increase in the final amounts spent and an improvement in the results of the programmes, the expenditure would be fully justified.
  • Changing the way of accessing the available funding by granting the funds in advance to the beneficiaries and not just by the settlement, after the actual implementation of the financed projects. Thus, more financial flexibility would be offered to the beneficiaries who would no longer have to finance the projects from their own funds, subsequently waiting for long periods of time for the settlement.
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