Supporting investments in energy efficiency and sustainable transport. ELENA is a joint initiative by the EIB and the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme. ELENA provides grants for technical assistance focused on the implementation of energy efficiency, distributed renewable energy and urban transport programmes.


The grant can be used to finance costs related to feasibility and market studies, programme structuring, business plans, energy audits and financial structuring, as well as to the preparation of tendering procedures, contractual arrangements and project implementation units.

The ELENA facility is led by a team of experts consisting of engineers and economists with extensive experience in the transport and energy sector. Established in 2009, the ELENA facility has awarded more than EUR 130 million of EU support triggering an estimated investment of around EUR 5 billion on the ground.

What kind of projects does ELENA support?

Typically, ELENA supports programmes above EUR 30 million with a 3-year implementation period for energy efficiency and 4-year for urban transport and mobility. It can cover up to 90% of technical assistance/project development costs. Smaller projects can be supported when they are integrated into larger investment programmes.

The annual grant budget is currently between EUR 40 and 50 million. Projects are evaluated and grants are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

ELENA may co-finance the preparation of investment programmes in the following fields:

  • Energy efficiency and building integrated renewable energy
    • public and private buildings (including social housing), commercial and logistic properties and sites, and street and traffic lighting to support increased energy efficiency
    • integration of renewable energy sources (RES) into the built environment – e.g. solar photovoltaic (PV) on roof tops, solar thermal collectors and biomass
    • investments into renovating, extending or building new district heating/cooling networks, including networks based on combined heat and power (CHP), decentralised CHP systems
    • local infrastructure including smart grids, information and communication technology
    • infrastructure for energy efficiency, energy-efficient urban equipment and link with transport
  • Urban transport and mobility
    • investments to support the use and integration of innovative solutions for alternative fuels in urban mobility
    • investments to introduce on a large-scale new, more energy-efficient transport and mobility measures in urban areas including passenger transport, freight transport, etc.
  • Residential sector

Accelerating the energy refurbishment of residential buildings is an important European priority and a key focus of the ELENA Facility. For that reason, in 2017 the European Commission allocated a substantial budget to support the deployment of the “Smart finance for Smart Buildings” initiative. The main objective of the ELENA budget increase is to help private individuals and homeowner associations prepare and implement energy renovations in private and public residential buildings. Possible activities to motivate and convince residential building owners are:

  • Assessing the energy performance of buildings and providing guidance for future works: the Facility could provide pre-assessment checks, support for energy performance certificates or energy audits.
  • Supporting access to financing: project development services could help households access financing from financial institutions, and/or available grants from schemes supporting energy efficiency (also in combination with guaranteed loans).

Whereas most of the project development services should be directed to households and homeowner associations (typically 80% or more of the total PDS costs), in duly justified cases, assistance could also be provided to other bodies, such as financial institutions (e.g. commercial banks) and public authorities to help them establish and deploy financial instruments and loan products targeting energy efficiency improvements in the residential sector.