Low-carbon investment funding: Mazovia
- Mazovian Voivodeship is the largest of the sixteen Polish voivodeships. It is located in the central and eastern part of Poland. Mazovia is one of the most economically developed regions in Poland. The area is characteristic of high diversity of business activity, considerable financial outlays for development of science, high education level of population, high activity of residents and varied professional qualifications. The region is the fastest developing region in reference to developed regions in European Union as a result of the highest participation in GDP generation of the country and high pace of growth of the economy, mazovian Voivodeship has also one of the lowest unemployment rate region in the country.
Unfortunately, Mazovia still belongs to the “black lungs” of Poland, where out of 30 444 GWh energy produced less than 5% comes from renewable energy. To change that, local goverment developed a Regional strategy for the Mazovian voivodeship until 2030. The strategy, in one of its framework goals, is going to provide the region's economy with a diversified energy supply with sustainable management of environmental resources.
- Regional operating programme in Mazovia
Regional Operational Programme of the Mazovian Voivodeship 2014-2020 is a tool for implementing the development policy pursued by the Mazovian Voivodeship Government, it assumes further improvement of potentials through economic growth based on entrepreneurship, absorbent labor market, as well as sustainable development of regional resources. The main objective of MV ROP 2014-2020, i.e. intelligent, sustainable development increasing social and territorial cohesion using the potential of the Masovian labor market will be achieved through strategic goals constituting the answer to three basic challenges of the Europe 2020 Strategy, in the context of supporting intelligent, sustainable and inclusive development:
- The development of a competitive economy of the region based on innovation, entrepreneurship, an absorbent labor market and sustainable resources;
- Counteracting regional disparities leading to increased absorption of the regional labor market through equalization of access to employment, social inclusion and education;
- Support for activities strengthening the sustainable development of the environment in Mazovia;
The program is financed from two European funds: the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund. So far, the greatest support was received by projects in the field of transition to a low carbon economy, research and development and transport.
Axis IV of the programme is fully assigned to the transition to a low carbon economy and reduction of the emissions. As part of the measures, it will be possible to apply for support for investments related to the production of electricity and heat from renewable sources along with the construction and modernization of distribution networks. The scope of support also includes projects in the field of comprehensive thermo-modernization of public buildings and residential buildings, the development of sustainable multimodal urban mobility. The amount of the fund for this axis was ERDF 400 647 506€.
- Other EU low-carbon initiatives
The most significant EU low carbon initiative in Mazovia Region was Horizon 2020 programme. Horizon20202 is the biggest research and innovation programme with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020). Thanks to Horizon 2020 projects, in Mazovia Region more than 225M€ have been used in Innovation Actions or coordination and support actions (630 grants signed). The amount stands for more than 47% of the overall budget allocated in Poland. Mazovian Voivodeship is the first Region in the ranking of Poland.
Mazovia Region was also involved with the LIFE Programme (EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action) and Interreg programmes (Interreg Central Europe, Interreg Europe, Interreg Baltic Sea Regions) with over 100 projects just in Mazovia voivodeship.
- Conclusions and recommendations
The financial support in Mazovia Region is rather well-designed and located. There is a still big need in raising awareness and capacity building of local public authorities for better usage of public funds. There are many challenges facing the energy market in Mazovia. The energy sector is a specific sector - no return on investment in the short term should be expected. Therefore, stability of regulation, long-term vision and strategy that allow investors to assess effectiveness and risks are key to the development of the industry. Regardless of its specificity, investments in the energy sector should be financed, like any other business venture, in a way aimed at optimizing the structure of expenditure. It is very important for the regional energy companies to boldly take advantage of modern investment financing opportunities created by today's financial market.
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