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The promotion of sustainable, competitive and secure sources of energy is a key EU policy objective and an important sector for EIB financing. The EIB applies strict energy lending criteria established on the basis of a comprehensive review to ensure that our lending in the energy sector reflects EU energy and climate policy, as well as current investment trends. As a result of the review, our energy lending focuses on energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy networks, as well as related research and innovation. In the transition to a low-carbon global economy, we also introduced an Emissions Performance Standard which is applied to all fossil fuel generation projects to screen out investments whose carbon emissions exceed a threshold level which reflects existing EU and national commitments to limit carbon emissions.

In 2017, our loans helped to construct 76 557 km of power lines and generate 10 924 MW of electricity, out of which 99.6% from renewables.


We finance projects that support:

  • sustainability through renewable energy sources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on finite energy resources
  • competitiveness in energy supply to create a genuine European single energy market to boost efficiency and control consumer prices
  • energy efficiency technology to support energy-related research, development and innovation
  • supply security through diversification, particularly with indigenous sources to cut the risks from dependence on external supplies

Focus on renewables and efficiency

Energy renewables

We support the development and expansion of renewable energy projects to make Europe’s energy supplies more sustainable, competitive and secure.

By investing in renewable energy we support the European Union’s climate policy and will help to achieve our target of 20% of overall EU energy consumption being met from renewable energy sources by 2020. We not only finance mature renewable energy technologies, such as onshore wind farms, hydropower, geothermal and solid biomass, but also strongly encourage the expansion of early-stage or evolving technologies such as solar, offshore wind, photovoltaic, concentrated solar power and second-generation biofuels. We require the best available technology to be used in all the projects we finance.

Energy efficiency

Increased energy efficiency lowers costs and improves competitiveness in the production of goods and delivery of services. Investments in energy efficiency also have the potential to create significant numbers of jobs.

Our financing of such projects supports the EU’s goal of increasing energy efficiency in the Union by 20% by the year 2020 so as to reduce energy consumption. Projects typically include retrofitting and expansion of existing social and urban infrastructure and services. This involves district heating and cooling, cogeneration, rehabilitation and modernisation of buildings and improvement of industrial processes, as well as improving and upgrading the energy values of urban transport, waste and water management networks.

We streamline energy efficiency considerations across the whole range of our lending activities. We apply the highest EU standards with regard to cogeneration and the energy performance of buildings and, in most cases, we ask for energy audits to be undertaken in order to assess whether investments are in line with these standards.

Light up the night and brighten the harvest

Solar energy isn’t just about light or mobile phones. It irrigates and fertilises farms, benefitting the 791 million Africans who have no electricity.

3 ways volcanos help cool the planet

Iceland uses its volcanos to produce energy and fight climate change

Meeting climate and energy challenges

Click to play the videoPlay the video

The EIB plays a major and growing role in providing finance to the renewable energy sector. This film illustrates the EIB’s financing for renewable energy as one of the pillars of the Bank’s climate action.


Loans – the main source of our backing for energy projects. We also offer structured financing options.

Investment – We and our partners have raised billions of euros for climate investment through funds of funds such as the Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund, European Energy Efficiency Fund and vehicles such as the Marguerite Fund, the Crescent Clean Energy Fund, the Facility for Energy Sustainability and Security of Supply and the Climate Awareness Bond.

Initiatives - Energy efficiency is supported via the joint EIB/European Commission initiatives such as ELENA (energy project feasibility assistance),  and JASPERS.

Partnership – We work with others to provide funding, such as through the Mediterranean Solar Plan.

RDI support – We share risk in the research, development & innovation (RDI) process through our InnovFin programme.