How can regional bodies help to deliver the Europe 2020 targets on energy and climate change? This workshop aimed to present good practice examples of regions planning, financing and implementing concrete actions to deliver sustainable energy measures. The workshop reflected the variety of important actors at regional level and their different approaches to stimulate the uptake of energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions. The engagement of public authorities in delivering the European 2020 targets has also been highlighted in the European Energy Efficiency Plan.
The presentations focused on the achievements of a regional development agency, a regional energy agency and a managing authority of operational programmes. It also showcased a recently developed toolbox for regional bodies in the framework of DG ENER's Intelligent Energy Europe programme.
According to Martin Eibl from the Executive Agency for Competitiveness & Innovation (EACI): "Low carbon regions can easily become a reality when actors collaborate together and capitalise on the experiences and skills available."
The workshop illustrated how regional actors can support sustainable energy planning which is an important starting point for mobilising investment for energy efficiency and renewable energy measures. Regional sustainable energy action plans provide the content for the implementation of financing tools such as ERDF.
There is a wealth of helpful guidance available for regional and local authorities on energy planning which is based on practical experiences. Regional development agencies and regional energy agencies should be engaged in energy planning as they provide useful skills and capacity to assist regional authorities in the development and implementation of action plans and the mobilisation of funds for concrete projects.
The managing authority demonstrated that it is possible to amend the current operational programme and allocate a higher share towards energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. The Dutch managing authorities are starting a network to share experiences amongst managing authorities on the topic of sustainable energy.
The chairperson concluded the workshop by presenting the following summary of the discussion:
Common objectives are set at EU level, but action needs to take place at the local level involving the mobilisation and engagement of all actors. There were useful contributions from:
There is support for all committed regional authorities who are striving to become a low carbon region. The EU cohesion and energy policies offer dedicated funding programmes including the Intelligent Energy - Europe programme which promotes the uptake of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures.