22 September 2020
CITIZEE Project - Scaling up Energy Efficiency investments through Citizen Financing Schemes


Spring 2020

In the renewable energy sector, initiatives such as CrowdFundRES (H2020 project) or REScoop.eu (European federation of renewable energy cooperatives) have proven the potential of citizen financing for RES projects. However, the enforcement of citizen fi nancing schemes for energy effi ciency projects is still far from having reached its full potential.

Energy efficiency is a decisive factor of the European Union's energy policy as it is considered essential for competitiveness, energy security and to meet international goals on climate change.

In the building sector, to meet these objectives, it is key that energy effi ciency financing models are consolidated through innovative financing solutions that leverage the cooperation between all actors (project promoters, public/private financial institutions, end users), especially with citizens. Not only that, but it is essential to establish mechanisms that enable making more effective use of public funding, mobilising private fi nancing towards large-scale energy efficiency programs and helping to overcome specific barriers faced by energy citizens and communities' projects wishing to invest in sustainable projects.

In this context, CitizEE is a European funded project aimed at supporting European public authorities to scale up investments for energy efficiency in the building sector by attracting citizen private investments.

CitizEE will address this goal by means of creating national or regional Investment Platforms that drive the integration of tailored and widely adopted citizen financing schemes, crowdfunding and cooperative funding, with adequate available or to be developed Public Financing Instruments (PFIs). As a result, CitizEE will facilitate the set-up of largescale community energy efficiency programs while strengthening the know-how of regional/national key stakeholders.

CitizEEs' project strategy is therefore conceived to support public authorities with a two-fold purpose:
1. Setting up Citizen Investment Platforms (IP). IPs backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI)1 are considered as Investment facilities channelling public and private fi nancing from several co-investors to provide financial products to designated final beneficiaries and/or projects. Focused on:

  • Identifying market gaps and providing financing or support to sectors and/or projects that are not currently sufficiently serviced by traditional financial intermediaries
  • Facilitating the inclusion of investors towards the financing of projects
  • Focus on blending/crowding-in public and private funds
  • Contributing to aggregation and pooling of projects
  • Focus on geographic and/or sectoral/thematic scope (e.g. building renovation)
  • Flexible structuring options (cofinancing, risk-sharing, managed accounts, special purpose vehicle)
  • Easing the integration of the citizen financing scheme


2. Developing, testing and evaluating tailored and widely adopted citizen financing schemes for energy efficiency. So-called by the project as CFs4EE2 Financing Schemes, these are composed of citizen financing mechanism, crowdfunding or cooperative funding, supported by Public Financing Instruments (PFI). These mechanisms will include different financial, private and public alternatives, aiming at progressively maximising the leverage ratio of public funds to private financing, in accordance with the European Smart Finance for Smart Buildings initiative under the Investment Plan for Europe to make more efficient use of public funds.

  • The competitiveness and market potential of the CitizEE CFs4EE Financing Schemes will be evaluated through four pilot demonstrations at regional or country level in Portugal, Belgium, Lithuania and Croatia. The typology of projects addressed by the pilots ranges from energy efficiency retrofitting in buildings, schools, lighting and used infrastructure to renewable energy integration via photovoltaic modules installations.


The strategy followed by the project will be completed with the development of policy recommendations for improving the market and regulatory framework and the creation of a network of experts with enhanced in-house capacities to support the project concepts and its advantages among those who could support citizen financing schemes deployment.

CitizEE celebrates its first year in May 2020, during this time CitizEE’s actions geared towards preparing the groundwork for the establishment of the Investment Platforms in 3 of the 4 pilots, since the Lithuanian pilot has already an investment platform established.3 These activities include:

  • Identification of stakeholders that will be convened into groups at pilot level to support the kick start of the platforms.
  • Legal, regulatory4 and market characterization.5
  • Analysis of the institutional, organisational and procedural aspects concerning EFSI-backed Investment Platforms.6
  • Development of a master plan for the founding of the Investment Platforms in the CitizEE’s pilots.7

In addition, first steps were taken to assess the market opportunities for the citizen financing solutions for energy efficiency and to outline a map of structured financial solutions for CFs4EE Financing Schemes that will be used at the implementation stage of the project.

This project has received funding from the European Union‘s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 847147. The sole responsibility for the content of this publication lies with the authors. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Commission. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.

The project results are available in the project webpage: www.citizee.eu

For further information please contact:
Pablo Alonso //WIP Renewable Energies //pablo.alonso@wip-munich.de
Silvia Caneva // WIP Renewable Energies //silvia.caneva@wip-munich.de

1. D2.1 Institutional, organisational and procedural report - Page 11 - https://www.citizee.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/D2.1-Institutional-organisational-and-procedural-report_PU_compressed.pdf
2. CFs4EE: Citizen Finance Schemes for Energy Efficiency
3. EU support for first energy efficiency investment platform in Lithuania: https://www.citizee.eu/news/eu-support-for-first-energy-efficiency-investment-platform-in-lithuania/
4. D2.10-Legal & regulatory investment framework analysis report: https://www.citizee.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/D2.10-Legal-regulatory-investment-framework-analysis-report_PU.pdf
5. D2.11-Report on Market characterization: segments and boundaries analysis: https://www.citizee.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/D.11-Report-on-Market-characterization-segments-and-boundaries-analysis_PU.pdf
6. D2.1 Institutional, organisational and procedural report: https://www.citizee.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/D2.1-Institutional-organisational-and-procedural-report_PU_compressed.pdf
7. D2.2 Master Action Plan for the Establishment of the Citizen Investment Platforms: https://www.citizee.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/D2.2-Master-Action-Plan-for-the-Establishment-of-the-Citizen-Investment-Platforms_PU.pdf