Since 2019, the Interreg Europe SME POWER project has been working toward better adapting public policy for the low carbon economy to the needs of non-energy intensive small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), thus enabling them to be a key driver in the low carbon shift at European level.
Across Europe, SMEs form the backbone of the economy. However, their potential for energy efficiency and renewable energy use remains untapped. The huge number of SMEs operating across the EU means that a change in their energy behaviour is an essential part of the shift to a low carbon economy. The specific target of SME POWER, therefore, is non-energy intensive SMEs: a silent majority that does not yet recognise the benefits of committing to this shift. More specifically, SMEs have the ability to drive decarbonisation efforts thanks to improved energy conditions in their buildings and processes, their role as multipliers when developing more energy efficient products, and finally, by setting positive examples for workers when investing in capacity building measures.
As European policy makers approach the complex world of support for low carbon SMEs from different angles, interregional cooperation is key to identifying good practices that can be integrated, merged and adapted. Therefore, SME POWER’s partnership gathers complementary experiences and builds on a shared vision. Policy support must be designed with a synergic approach, promoting measures that target all the drivers for change.
SME POWER groups seven policy partners from Italy, Slovenia, the UK, Spain, Ireland and Finland – improving five European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and one national policy instruments – and welcoming one Advisory Partner (EIfI-Tech) from Germany. Thanks to the design and implementation of an Action Plan for policy improvement, SME POWER achieves reduced emissions and increased use of renewables in non-energy intensive SMEs. SME POWER places itself at the centre of a shift from support to low carbon public sector towards the private sector. If supported by effective policies, as encouraged by SME POWER, SMEs can become a driver to reaching the ambitious EU 2030 energy targets.
Since July 2022, the SME POWER project has initiated its so-called second stage project activities. During this time, the action plans and strategies for improving support for energy-intensive SMEs – which were conceptualised and finalised in the first two years of the project alongside regional stakeholder groups – are now being put into action. For the seven policy partners of the SME POWER project, the implementation of the Action Plans takes on various shapes and forms.
Read up on the latest regional achievements of the SME POWER project