Energy: SME, published consumption estimates in 9 European countries


The LEAP4SME Consortium, coordinated by ENEA, published the estimates of energy consumption of small and medium-sized enterprises in 9 European countries, which show that the share of SMEs on gross domestic energy consumption goes from a minimum of 9% in Portugal to a maximum of 18% in Greece and Croatia. In the case of Italy the calculated range is wider - between 13 and 29% - since the estimates were drawn using two different approaches.

"We have developed two methodologies, one based on the data of the main energy carriers, the other on the analysis of national energy balances and the results of article 8 of the EED Directive",  ENEA researcher Enrico Biele, who coordinates the LEAP4SME, pointed out. "Each Agency could choose whether to apply one or the other depending on the availability of local data; for Italy we chose to apply both and publish the results of all the scenarios, which explains  the wider range ", Biele explained.

The study on energy consumption was conducted by ENEA for Italy and by the respective national energy agencies[1] of the other 8 European countries participating in the LEAP4SME project, namely Austria, Croatia, Greece, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and the United Kingdom.

"This had never been done on a large scale and is the first step toward estimating the energy share of SMEs in nine countries of the European area. Thanks to the joint activities of the nine national agencies, we were able to complete it in a context of wide availability of economic and structural data, but in the almost total unavailability of energy data, especially as regards estimates at an aggregate or geographical level ", Biele said.

"It was a difficult task considering the number of SMEs operating in Europe, which account for approximately 99% of the total companies, the heterogeneity of the sectors considered and, in particular, the difficulty in precisely defining small and medium-sized enterprises ”, Biele concluded.

"Finding the right approach to improving energy efficiency in SMEs is a major challenge. The more information we can gather on energy consumption in SMEs, the better we will be able to draw and implement effective energy policies, and this is the objective of the project LEAP4SME", said Petra Lackner, Director of the Trade and Industry Center of the Austrian National Energy Agency AEA, who coordinated the study on energy consumption.

Further studies on the role of energy-intensive SMEs with the involvement of sector stakeholders and reference associations and testing on new data to improve the approach adopted, are envisaged

The project "LEAP4SME" (Linking Energy Audit Policies to enhance and support SMEs towards energy efficiency) was launched with the aim of providing support to Member States and European institutions to develop programs promoting energy efficiency in SMEs, based on the energy audit tool TO which Article 8 of the Energy Efficiency Directive is entirely dedicated.

The complete report is available at

For more information please contact: Enrico Biele, ENEA – Energy Efficiency Departement Unit,

[1] AEA (Austria), EIHP (Croatia), CRES (Greece), EWA (Malta), KAPE (Poland), ADENE (Portugal), SIEA (Slovakia), EST (United Kingdom).

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