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Cities and regions invest in the Energy Union

Some takeaways from the OPEN DAYS 2015

Brussels, 28 October 2015 | Published in Energy

Key highlights from a conference within the framework fo the OPEN DAYS 2015 where cities and regions presented some successful investment examples as part of the Energy Union.

Local authorities are now facing the urgent socio-economical challenge to ensure secure, sustainable, affordable and competitive energy for their communities. The Energy Union aims to address the current challenges of the integration of variable renewable energy. Local authorities should facilitate the roll-out of policies and planning for the energy transition. Low carbon investments can implement climate policies, as well as the generating of local employment through utilising Structural and Cohesion Funds and innovative financing models involving citizens and business participation.

The debate showed how regional-local chains can support sustainable development and job creation.

Miriam Badino from the Metropolitan city of Genova (Italy) presented the new energy efficiency project which is about the refurbishment of flats in block house areas. The city also organized a training session for building managers to be more familiar with the requirements.

Mihai Belala, from Romania presented 4 important solar panel projects in buildings funded by ERDF grants (part of the 100 000 € package on green projects).

Brenda King, member of the Economic and social committee, politician in the UK, talked about the role of housing in the energy Union. She explained that bringing energy efficient solutions and using renewables are advantageous for housing (the lower energy prices and surplus of energy produced). Further, we should put an emphasis on the training of tenants and the creation of work opportunities for them. 

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Two good examples from the Mayors in Action initiative:

  1. Community Energy engages citizens when implementing sustainable energy actions and policies. This way can help to reduce opposition to renewable energy within the community and can support leveraging local private investments that would not be available otherwise. Within this sub-initiative, the city of Bath in the UK aims to increase the production of energy from renewables by 30 % by 2020.
    The Council of the city of Bath supports community initiatives and transition groups. The Bath and West Community Energy, a Community Benefit Society, was founded in 2010to deliver renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy supply services via a strong community model to maximise local investment and build community resilience. Energy schemes include solar panels in schools, renewable energy in council offices and the so-called Solar farm.
  2. CondominiIntelligenti is a model for local governance inspired to local participative development principles, following Community Led Local Development. Its main objective is to identify an innovative and concrete approach to reduce energy consumption in private buildings in urban areas and to foster building sector in green.
    Retrofitting costs can be financed with direct investment through ESCo mechanisms, bank loans or private funding. Thanks to this example, the region Liguria recently is planning to approve a fund under FSE to develop a training offer in the territory, specifically linked to energy retrofit and energy efficiency.