7 European Green Energy Projects in 2022 So Far
Let’s see what the first half of the year brings for our bright future.
When we talk about green projects, Europe is the first continent that comes to mind. It manifests in statistics ranking the greenest countries in the world. You bet they’re all European.
According to Yale University’s Environmental Performance Index (EPI), the top 10 most environmentally-friendly countries are Denmark, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, France, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Germany.
Most of these countries are member countries of the European Union, currently headed by France. President Ursula von der Leyen of the EU Commission pushes for the European Green Deal which she defines as “Europe’s man on the moon moment”.
What is the European Green Deal?
The European Green Deal, launched in 2019, is a commitment of EU members to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 as a whole. If all efforts come to fruition, the roadmap makes Europe the first climate-neutral continent.
It’s a bold vision that requires painstaking endeavors. For one, the EU targets a 55% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. All EU member countries must comply because it’s legally binding through the European Climate Law. There are still a lot of government policies to be polished, business strategies to be re-evaluated, and finally a change in consumer behavior.
LIFE Programme 2021–2027
EU is dedicating funding of approximately €1 trillion to be allocated to sustainable or green projects in both public and private sectors. Through the LIFE Programme, the EU will fund green projects that will solve problems in
- Nature and biodiversity
- Circular economy and quality of life
2. Climate Action
- Climate change mitigation and adaptation
- Clean energy transition
Every year, the LIFE Programme calls for proposals to find worthwhile projects to finance. The total budget for LIFE Programme 2021–2027 will be €5.4 billion — €3.5 billion goes to environmental projects while €1.9 billion goes to climate action projects. For 2022, the proposals will be published on May 17, 2022, here.
But some of the proposals in 2020 are still ongoing. These are great opportunities for ethical investors to look into.
Here are 7 ongoing LIFE Projects in 2022 that the EU Commission had partly fund.
1. Waste Reduction and More Effective Waste Management in Cyprus
This project is for the improvement of waste management in Cyprus. The majority (~80%) of Cyprus’ waste goes to landfills, while only a small percentage gets recycled. Because of this, Cyprus slacks in the EU Landfill Directive and EU Waste Framework Directive targets. This is mostly due to the lack of infrastructure and collection systems.
The EU is supporting this project to produce better waste management systems for agricultural, municipal, and hazardous waste. Among others, they have already demonstrated 20 Green Kiosks for the separate collection of dry recyclables; 4 fully mobile units and 2 household waste centers for the waste collection and management in municipalities and communities; and 20 pay-as-you-throw schemes plus landfill tax for a circular economy model.
Similar projects are also being done in Slovenia and Latvia.
2. Implementation of Moravian-Silesian Region’s Climate Adaptation Strategy to Czechia
In Czechia, only the Moravian-Silesian Region (MSR) formed a vulnerability analysis based on the climate change impacts. With ample funding, the goal of this project is to improve the tools and systems used by MSR and implement them in the rest of the regions. Overall, this will increase the country, and the rest of Europe’s, climate resilience.
Results have already been seen in at least 20 buildings with a 30% decrease in GHG emissions; 20 municipalities implementing strategies for greenery and rainwater management; and adaptation plans are already approved for cities with a population over 10,000.
3. Danish Action Plan for Circular Economy
Denmark is one of the greenest countries in the world already, but that doesn’t stop them from further increasing their recycling and reducing their waste generation. Denmark is known for its waste-to-energy plants which supply electricity to homes. However, there are still problems with the overcapacities in incineration factories.
This project will be focused on the circular economy — waste prevention, circular waste management, and regulation. Among its 2030 goals are: increasing recycling from 69% to 90%, reducing waste generation by 40%, and reducing annual incineration from 3.95 to 2.6 million tonnes.
4. Green Building Renovations in Estonia
To help preserve the environment, we need greener buildings. That’s why in Estonia, climate actions are focused on renovating all of its existing buildings into more energy-efficient and low-carbon buildings by 2050. In the near future, 2030, they’re aiming for a decrease in CO2 emissions by 32%.
For demonstration, they will do pilot renovations on 25 different types of buildings — apartments and detached houses in Tartu, detached houses and historical buildings in Rakvere, and historic wooden buildings in Voru. When successful, the process will be replicated in Estonia’s existing building stock.
5. Protecting the Biodiversity of Marine Areas in the Åland Islands (Finland)
Finland is protecting the biodiversity of areas in and surrounding the Baltic Sea, especially the Åland islands. Human activities on land and sea are disrupting the marine ecosystem in these brackish waters.
The main focus of the project is to map out marine species and habitats in the Åland Islands. Through extensive mapping tools and underwater species data, Marine Protected Areas will be determined. This project will also raise awareness of the Natura 2000.
A similar project on preserving biodiversity is also being done in France, particularly in the Grand Est region.
6. Improving Flooding Resilience in The Netherlands
The Netherlands is also one of the greenest countries in the world, but they too are also vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Because of its dense population, there is limited space in implementing urban infrastructure solutions. Also, it has a high risk of getting flooded especially when about 26% is already below the present mean sea level.
As part of the climate adaptation strategies, it will focus on improving flood resilience on approximately 11,000 ha; 30,000 ha of surface water with improved water quality; and the conservation of about 8,600 ha of Natura sites, among others.
7. Air Quality improvement in Poland’s Silesia
With regular exceedances in particulate matter and carcinogenic pollutants, the Silesian Voivodeship has one of the worst air quality conditions in Poland and Europe. Thus, immediate actions have to be implemented to keep industrialization more sustainable in this region.
This project hopes to reduce about 15% of air pollution concentration (e.g. particulate matter, NO2, SO2, and benzo(a)pyrene. This can be done by replacing solid-fuel heating devices below 1 MW that are used in domestic and municipal sectors. In degraded areas, green infrastructure must be implemented. And to complement all these, consumer behavior must also change through awareness and education programs.
These are just some of the LIFE Programme Projects that show where the European Green Deal is going with. In recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic has overshadowed the climate crisis. But let’s not lose focus on our perspective — on a more sustainable, greener future.
Making climate policies is just the first step. The implementation takes up the most part. Green projects like those mentioned above can’t mobilize without sufficient funding. You, as a potential investor, can make a difference. It’s time to put our money into green projects that will benefit future generations.