RENERGY is directly relevant to the concerns and objectives set out in EU Energy 2020 Strategy. EU and national energy policies/strategies are essential for setting targets, objectives and a clear line of direction. However, for better chances of long-term success integrative, inclusive and smart actions at local/regional level are needed to devise policy packages and initiatives which are tailored to the local needs, resources, capacities and infrastructural setting.
Municipalities are a major actor of the required change, thus initiatives like the Covenant of Mayors should be further strengthened. Cities and urban areas consuming up to 80% of energy are part of the problem as well as part of the solution to greater sustainable energy use. 16% of EU GDP, around € 1,500 billion, is spent by public authorities on energy. The development of secure and competitive sources of energy is therefore a must. For instance, investments should lead to nearly 2/3 of electricity coming from low carbon sources by 2020, the current level being 45%. Europe is therefore a long way from achieving the 20% energy savings objective.
RENERGY partners decided to pool their resources to contribute to this goal, focussing on those aspects which can really be influenced by local action and policies. Energy efficiency and renewable energy sources with targeted, concerted action at local/regional level help communities to move more quickly towards low carbon economy where both business and stakeholders are empowered and engaged. Stimulating a higher business uptake in renewable energy and energy efficient products, services, applications, focusing on local/regional SMEs have ample spin-off effects on regional cohesion and socio-economic development through generation of local green jobs.
Improve, through interregional cooperation, the effectiveness and approach of local/regional sustainable energy policies, as a response to overarching EU strategies and commitments, notably Energy 2020 Strategy, Covenant of Mayors and EU 2020 Strategy. Creating better conditions for investments in Green Economy will also contribute to economic growth, job creation and enhanced quality of life.
A new and more effective approach to policy-making could boost energy efficient behaviour and optimize local renewable energy production through close cooperation between local communities, energy producers/suppliers and public authorities.
Demonstrate the relevance of an integrative bottom-up stakeholder engagement process through the "Energy Labs". Developing sustainable energy policies that build on needs of local/regional communities sounds obvious but this is quite often not the case. Stakeholder engagement should enable local/regional authorities to tackle energy efficient behaviour and renewable energy by fully integrating local capacities, needs of key stakeholders, available energy resources, infrastructure, taking into account the socio-economic context and cultural background in a clear and structured way. This cooperation process can be relatively slow in the start-up phase but will lead to sustainable, long-term energy policies in a stable and more reliable policy environment.
Emphasise the role of local energy business sector in policies, focusing on creating a financially, legally and administrative enabling environment. Not all the solutions will be found on local level but new approaches to cooperation between local authorities and energy business (especially SMEs) will better respond to their needs and production/supply potential to be able to maximise uptake of local renewable energy and energy efficiency. RENERGY partnership has gathered extensive experience, data and good practices which will be transferred and disseminated through integrated local implementation plans.
Highlight the role of local/regional public authorities in developing and implementing sustainable tools and instruments, and closer connections with communities and local energy companies. However it requires new competences, sufficient capacity and relevant knowledge of various energy technologies and their pros and cons. These authorities will then better target action where it is most needed and create better conditions for access to funding and incentive schemes, based on cost/benefit assessment in line with local culture, attitudes and preferences.
These objectives will jointly lead to efficient energy governance models supporting inclusive and sustainable energy policies and actions, e.g. ensuring a better mix of renewable energy and energy efficiency in residential, tertiary and public buildings in the project territories. Hence, RENERGY seeks to feed the outcome/ results from the work with SMEs and local communities into the energy policy-making cycle in order to continuously improve it.
SELF - ASSESSMENT REPORTS: Each partner region will produce a Self-Assessment Report centred on energy efficiency and renewable energy potential.
ENERGY LABS: Open labs will be oriented to the creation of a real synergy between users, producers, businesses and politicians and public sector and as a result marketable products, tools and instruments.
GOOD PRACTICES GUIDE: Each partner region will identify a set of good practices related to energy efficiency and renewable energy to be shared and transferred to other regions.
11 REGIONAL/LOCAL IMPLEMENTATION PLAN: Each partner region will produce a Regional Implementation Plan related to the integration of the lessons learnt during the cooperation process into its local/regional policies.
EUROPEAN POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS: A Policy Recommendations document will be produced focused on energy efficiency and renewable energy.
[Italy] Province of Potenza - lead partner
[Portugal] INTELI - Intelligence in Innovation, Innovation Centre; [Austria] City of Tulln; [Italy] National Research Council of Italy; [Germany] City of Worms; [UK] Durham County Council; [Poland] The Association of Municipalities Polish Network "Energie Cités"; [Lithuania] Kaunas University of Technology; [Romania] Municipality of Avrig; [UK] Sheffield City Council; [Denmark] Municipality of Slagelse; [Hungary ]Municipality of Szentes.