Policy barriers

Specific barriers

Ways to cope with them

Although municipalities develop long term financial plans, the municipal budget system allows effective planning for one year only and makes it complicated to take into consideration financing of perennial projects as sometimes other political targets are more important than energy efficiency and the scarce financial resources are spent on other projects.


A clear commitment of the municipality is helpful to foster energy projects.

As an example, Judenburg in Austria has formulated clear targets in the SEAP and is also member of the European Energy Awards programme (e5* in Austria) and the Climate Alliance.

*) e5 is corresponding to the EEA (European Energy Award). An interdisciplinary team from different departments, politics, ESCO, energy agency works together on energy, climate and environment topics.

General national policy about energy efficiency is subordinated to the achievement of the EU’s EE goals but in some parts it seems sometimes slightly unrealistic if we take into account the level of economic development of the country as well as the level of technological development. EE is priority only to the extent that it meets the EU’s objectives.

For Poland, for instance, the provisions of the European Union's energy and climate policy oblige Poland to reach massive energy consumption reductions in a short time. The Polish energy policy should therefore concentrate on the sources that are fast to do develop in order to cover the gap as quickly as possible

Energy efficiency strategies should become more realistic.

It means that all aspects of development that can have an impact on the implementation of energy efficiency measures, especially on the part concerning finance, should be considered and adjusted to the real needs of the end customers

Recommendations of national level policies are not binding for local actors.

The national level policies define the main directions for energy developments: the share and types of exploitable renewable sources, energy efficiency measures, awareness raising activities. However, their recommendations are not binding for local actors.

Commitments should be made on local level in accordance with the requirements set in the national level strategies.

Integrated Urban Development Strategies, Environmental Strategies and local sectoral action plans such as Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans, Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans, Local Agenda 21 have to define in detail the targets to be reached, the responsible actors, timeframe, financial and technological tools and the monitoring of the results.

The elaboration of these documents should be motivated by the government:

In Hungary, for instance the Territorial and Settlement Development OP provided financial support for the elaboration of SE(C)APs, the amount of subsidy was defined on the basis of the size of the settlement.

Moreover, the settlement level climate strategies – which will be elaborated from 2020 – will enforce the municipalities in improving their energy performance.

Incoherent financial regulatory frameworks

Framework of regulations exist particularly because of the transposition of the European directives, however, specific application norms are not completed or updated. There is not any certainty about the timing of availability of financial instruments.


An adjustment to financial regulatory frameworks to better support capital market innovation

To ensure that risk assessment and related capital requirements for long-term energy efficiency investments correctly reflect their risks and develop market potential for more innovative sources of financing for energy efficiency

Risk assertiveness of the local authorities

If an investment fails to achieve its goals there is always the risk that after elections the new authorities will accuse the former ones of mismanagement

Authorities have already taken action including subsidies, preferred loans and tax deductions of expenses related to this kind of investments.


Lack of coherent energy plans in border areas


Mutual use of the potential of a neighbouring country and communication between them, making use of, for example, EU cross border cooperation programmes

Control of the implementation of investments in EE is carried out mainly in terms of meeting the requirements of public procurement regulations, and not the actual quality of investments


Creating the possibility for public authorities to choose the best contractor for the investment, not the cheapest.

Checking if the selected contractor is the most optimal option, as well as the quality of the investment, and not only the contractor selection procedure itself.

Prioritizing other types of investments (like roads and infrastructure), implementation of “soft-projects” etc.

In some cases, also the priority of EE implementation on local and regional level depends on co-financing opportunities and available funds in municipal budgets.

Defining a set of specific indicators on the national level, to be met by the regions / municipalities in a specified period