IEA report calls to boost SME energy efficiency investments

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo

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Report highlights difficult challenges facing energy efficiency

A new report highlights challenges in energy efficiency for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) around the world and calls for more energy efficiency programmes, quoting the EBRD’s successful credit facilities as an example.

The IEA report, “Accelerating Energy Efficiency in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises” has been launched today on the fringes of COP21 international climate conference in Paris. The EBRD supported the publication of the report and provided its own data on financing energy efficiency programmes.

The report finds that there are substantial challenges facing energy efficiency SME investments around the world, in particular a lack of information, resources, technical expertise and funding. The report also sets out measures and tools to help overcome these.

SMEs are a central part of economies worldwide, comprising 99 per cent of enterprises and providing about 60 per cent of employment. They are also major energy consumers - estimated at over 13 per cent of the global total final energy demand. Without substantial investment in energy efficiency, industrial energy demand could grow by 44 per cent over the next two decades, particularly in emerging and developing countries. Improvements in energy efficiency not only help the global environment, they also offer considerable economic value. Nevertheless, this investment is lagging.

The report sets out a way for well-designed energy efficiency programmes to address these barriers, unlocking a wide range of benefits.  It highlights lessons learned from around the world, making available the experience in implementing a wide range of policies and instruments to improve energy efficiency in SMEs including the proven EBRD’s Sustainable Energy Financing Facility (SEFF) model as well as other good practices in supporting energy efficiency in SMEs sector.

“Improving energy efficiency is critical for SMEs to become more efficient, competitive and sustainable, as well as mitigating climate change,” said Terry McCallion, EBRD Director for Energy Efficiency and Climate Change. “Supporting local banks in developing their understanding of the business potential of energy efficiency is the most practical way of addressing at scale their financing needs.”

The report comes as COP21 talks in Paris are debating a global agreement to combat climate change. Getting SMEs around the world to use their energy more efficiently will be an important part of the solution.

This report is part of the IEA Policy Pathway series which aims to help policy makers implement the IEA 25 Energy Efficiency Policy Recommendations and has been supported by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Shareholder Special Fund.

The IEA is an autonomous organisation which works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 29 member countries and beyond. The IEA has four main areas of focus: energy security, economic development, environmental awareness and engagement worldwide. More information on:


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