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Frontpage News 2009 A greener Europe through the EEA and Norway Grants

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A greener Europe through the EEA and Norway Grants

Through the EEA and Norway Grants, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are supporting more than 200 environmental projects in Central and Southern Europe. Support to energy efficiency and renewable energy make up the most significant contribution.

Environmental protection, clean energy and climate change are issues on the top of the agenda for European policymakers. The European Union has made a commitment to reduce its energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent (below 1990 levels), as well as increase their share of renewable energy to 20 percent by 2020.

These goals are also supported by the EEA and Norway Grants. Protection of the environment and sustainable development is today one of the largest priority sectors under the grant schemes, with over 200 supported projects valued at almost €170 million. Around one quarter of the EEA and Norway Grants will be channelled towards projects to protect the environment. According to Joanna Huczko of the Polish Environmental Inspection, the EEA and Norway Grants have a significant influence on the improvement of the environment in Poland.

Energy efficiency and renewable energy

The largest chunk of environmental support goes to energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, which contribute to reduced greenhouse gases. With more than €60 million of such project grants approved so far, this is one of the most significant contributions of the EEA and Norway Grants.

Most of the energy efficiency and renewable energy projects take place in Poland, which is by far the largest recipient of environmental support, so far receiving over €90 million in grants. More than 300 school and hospital buildings being modernized with the support of the EEA and Norway Grants. Coal powered heating is replaced by renewable energy and more efficient heating sources, insulation is improved and doors and windows are replaced. This gives a reduction of energy consumption, heating costs, pollutants and greenhouse gases. In addition the learning, working and treatment environment for pupils, patients, teachers and staff is improved.

Other supported areas

Other significant supported areas are water pollution and water management, waste management and biodiversity. Also, the EEA and Norway Grants contribute significantly to basic environmental research and environmental monitoring programmes in the beneficiary states. Creating a sound foundation of relevant knowledge is imperative in order to protect the environment.

‘Improving the efficiency of Polish Environmental Inspection, based on Norwegian experience` is one of the environmental projects supported by the grant schemes. "The EEA and Norway Grants have a significant influence on the improvement of the environment in Poland," said project manager Joanna Huczko. Huczko also praised the successful collaboration with the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority. "The very professional approach of our Norwegian partner facilitates our search for efficient environmental inspections in Poland," she added.

To read more about this project, read the article Monitoring our shared environment.

To read more about the EEA and Norway Grants` environmental efforts, see the environment and sustainable development fact sheet.