SMEs Contribute to and Receive Back from EU Renewable Energy Strategy
Tuesday, May 31st, 2016
Nowadays society consumes more energy than ever. It has become absolutely necessary to develop a plan to ensure that energy is used extremely efficiently and that we transition to a system of renewable energy, where the consumption of finite resources to produce energy is kept to a minimum. The European Union is acutely aware of this need and has set a strategy to ensure that European countries move towards a sustainable and renewable energy system. It has set energy targets for its Member States to be achieved by 2020 (20% cut in greenhouse gas emissions, 20% of EU energy from renewable, 20% improvement in energy efficiency).
These targets can be reached if the Members of the EU work together in what has been called an “Energy Union”. A program aiming to fulfil five key points of improvement over the current standards: security of supply for all Member States, a fully-developed European internal market for energy, a focus on technologies leading to energy efficiency, a reduction of CO2 emissions and an increase in research and innovation in the energy sector. SMEs, as the predominant actors in the European economy, are particularly important for the realisation of this strategy. They also are among the groups which could rip the greatest benefits.
According to a 2012 Eurobarometer study, only 64% of all SMEs were taking action to save energy compared to 82% of large companies. However, according to the same study a third of the SMEs saw energy efficiency as a key issue as it can lead to some notable budget savings. With the new EU system of legislative and financial incentives, SMEs can become the real protagonists of the European energy revolution. Not only they can indirectly benefit by improving their efficiency and sustainability, but some of them can specialise in providing services in the energy sectors aimed exactly to comply with the new EU energy targets.
SMEs, to embark on this vision, need to develop international networks, which they can build through MobiliseSME, starting by taking our survey.