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Review of regional energy efficiency policies towards industrial SMEs from within Europe

Panel: 1. Policies and Programmes to drive transformation

This is a peer-reviewed paper.

Ida Johansson, University of Gävle, Sweden
Patrik Thollander, University of Gävle, Sweden
Dietmar Baurecht, Regionalmanagement Burgenland GmbH, Austria
Christian Engers, House of Energy, Germany
Enrique Esteban, Agencia de Desarrollo Económico de La Rioja, Spain
Maya Jansen, Province of Groningen, The Netherlands
Mihai Marian, South-West Oltenia Regional Development Agency, Romania
Katrin Schalk, House of Energy, Germany
Giovanni Scimemi, INVITALIA for the Ministry of Economic Development, Italy


Industrial SMEs represent 99 % or more of the total number of companies in most countries, and one-third of the total industrial energy use. Despite this, industrial SMEs have not received much attention both in terms of research and policies. The scientific papers published in the field covers national energy efficiency policy programs and evaluations of these, while scientific studies of regional policy programs are few. SMEs in general have a low capacity to work on improved energy efficiency, and the term SME is generally too vague to provide any guidance on how to design public policy programs. Administrative policies might be a sound approach for mediumsized enterprises but for small-sized enterprises the administrative policies could be less effective. For medium-sized and energy-intensive industrial SMEs, economic and/or regulatory incentives are important, while for small-sized and non-energy intensive industrial SMEs there is a need for a more supportive approach.

The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of existing regional energy efficiency policies targeting industrial SMEs in seven selected EU member states. This overview also provides an insight of the type of policy approach (informative, economic or administrative) that is most commonly used in regional policy activities.

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