Small and medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) still have a high potential to raise their energy efficiency. To use this potential and to initiate change is the aim of the newly started interreg Europe SMEPlus project. To reach this, the partner regions will compare and rethink their energy policies, liaise with important stakeholders, exchange solutions and improve their instruments towards SMEs. As industrial SMEs represent 95% of the companies, their impact on economies is immense. On 9 September 2019, the partners met for the kick-off at the University of Gävle.

The Interreg Europe programme aims at enhancing policies or policy preconditions in different thematic fields. To reach this it is important to establish regional networks and stakeholder groups. Thus, as a first step, the SMEPlus partners will identify major regional stakeholders involved in energy efficiency in SMEs in their regions. Political, economic and social preconditions will lead to individual stakeholder groups in the partner regions, including municipalities, business associations environmental protection agencies, etc. To be able to use their experience, expertise and networks, a series of regional stakeholder meetings will take place. The first stakeholder meetings will be organised in Austria (March 2020) and Romania (May 2020).

A visit to industrial SMEs in Sweden is planned for November 2019. The visit will help partners to understand how SMEs deal with energy efficiency issues and which barriers are preventing SMEs from utilizing funding from support programmes. Results from the study visit will be taken into account when working out measures necessary for improving respective policies.

In the upcoming months, the SMEPlus partners will also evaluate the energy policy instruments addressing the industrial SMEs in the regions by means of a questionnaire addressed to SMEs and stakeholders: evaluation of processes and impact, barriers and drivers for energy efficiency as well as major non-energy-based benefits are being considered.

To learn more about the project and to stay up to date on the partners’ work you are welcome to follow the project’s Twitter and YouTube accounts. A short video is already available online. Join us at #SMEPlus to get the latest insights!

Link: SMEPlus project website