SEAP Development in Slovenia
Municipal representatives • regional authority representatives • national authority representatives • other stakeholders from energy agencies and the financial sector
The financial crisis has affected the capacity of municipalities in Slovenia to engage in sustainable energy activities. Meanwhile, energy costs are continuing to rise. The ManagEnergy workshop in Kamnik addressed these leading issues. Day 1 of the workshop looked into how the municipalities can put in place Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPs) as a framework for local development. Day 2 followed this up by showing how to turn the SEAP into reality, bearing in mind that energy saving is somehow a hidden asset that is difficult to release. Energy performance contracting (EPC) is a financial instrument that can help SEAP implementation in a time of scarce public funding. A key discussion point was how to make EPC viable in the Slovenian context. Read more in the workshop highlights below.
The two-day event gathered representatives of nine Slovenian municipalities, two local energy agencies, four energy advisors from local offices of the national ENSVET network, and several invited experts. The topics of the first day focused on SEAP initiation and design, and of the second day on SEAP implementation. The workshop was organized by EC Network (Denmark) and Building and Civil Engineering Institute ZRMK (Slovenia), and hosted by the town of Kamnik, one of twelve Slovenian Covenant of Mayors signatories.
The national legislative scheme and various strategies aimed at energy and environmental issues provide a comprehensive framework for sustainable actions on the local level. Apart from EU directives and regulations there are relevant national documents, for example, mandatory preparation of Local Energy Concepts (an excellent step towards SEAP, if conducted properly) and the Decree on Green Public Procurement. Under the 6th national development priority (Sustainable use of energy) key activities include energy renovation of public buildings, efficient use of electricity and innovative measures for local energy supply.
In theory this framework sets the necessary (mandatory and voluntary) foundations for implementation of sustainable activities on the municipal level, which includes preparation, realisation and monitoring of sustainable energy action plans (SEAP). In practice the process is taking longer than initially expected, due to obstacles such as insufficient human resources, financing limitations, lack of necessary skills, organisational issues, priority setting, and political will. The ways to overcome these obstacles were intensively discussed among the workshop participants during both days, where presentations of good practices served as a stimulus to find specific solutions.
Although to some extent already familiar with the SEAP concept the participants learned more about its scope and benefits, and about the phases from initiation through design and implementation to monitoring. To substantiate the importance and usefulness of the SEAP framework, examples and practical results presented from Danish and Italian municipalities were most valuable.
An important part of the workshop was dedicated to energy performance contracting (EPC) and the role of energy service companies (ESCO). Despite some quite successfully realised EPC projects this is a little-used instrument in Slovenia. Debate during the workshop cited reasons connected primarily to various budgetary, financial and crediting rules, often beyond the control of local authorities.
As SEAP also requires investments the workshop focused on another important aspect: funding opportunities. Often local authorities (especially smaller ones) do not have a clear overview of possibilities to overcome financial limitations, or simply do not know how to effectively apply for funding either from EU or national sources. Various financial mechanisms were presented and practical cases highlighted. One of the encouraging conclusions of the discussion among the participants was that for example joining forces and efforts to apply for funding as a cluster of neighbouring smaller municipalities can be a very feasible way to demonstrate economies of scale.
Several more specific SEAP-related topics were EU projects with municipal participation, green procurement in the building sector, adaptive public lighting as an important element of local sustainable strategies, and of course some detailed technical aspects such as preparation of the baseline emissions inventory.
The participants were deeply involved in the workshop activities, with fruitful and animated discussions at the end of each day. Their overall feedback was very positive. Probably one of the most important things about SEAP and SEAP-related activities was that they learned not only how it should be done, but saw that it can be done, and that with appropriate and adequate planning and control this can be a most efficient action with long-term positive impacts – economical, environmental, and social ones.
Links for more information
Covenant of Mayors www.eumayors.eu
Intelligent Energy Europe Programme http://ec.europa.eu/energy/intelligent
Organised by: EC Network, ZRMK
Event website: http://managenergy.ne...
Name: Nils Daaurgard
Telephone: +45 32 50 88 00