On the day after the ManagEnergy Talk and Rob Hopkins’ inspiring speech, some members of staff of local and regional energy agencies had the chance to participate in the Inspiration & Innovation Networking Event. Discussions and workshop exercises focused on three areas: new services, large scale projects and the positioning & visibility of energy agencies.
After a round of introductions, participants were divided in 4 groups and were asked to produce a strategy for the development of a new service, project, or to enhance the visibility of their agency. Many great ideas were suggested, from new services in aggregation of public buildings, financing advise, energy positive neighbourhoods to development of a communication service in the agency. All teams had to carefully detail how they would achieve their objectives by listing all the necessary steps. This includes, for example, the business model and selection of staff. Participants were very creative and meticulous in their planning. The majority of the groups insisted on involving the private sector in their initiatives and taking a holistic approach.
Participants then shared their various ideas with their peers, leading to a fruitful discussion on the needs of energy agencies. During the last practical exercise, energy agencies staff were asked to write down their most crucial needs for the durability and expansion of their organisations. These focused on capacity-building needs to enhance skills, potential areas for research and development, and the EU support needed. On this last point, many recommendations conveyed the desire of local and regional energy agencies to be able to count on EU institutions and agencies to be their supporters and legitimizers for the local, regional and national administration.
Some members of the European Commission’s Executive Agency for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (EASME) participated in the event to meet with energy agencies and hear their thoughts and needs. Vincent Berrutto, head of Energy Unit at EASME who gave the welcome speech for the event, shared his positive thoughts on the results of this gathering: “I am glad to see that ManagEnergy fosters exchange on energy efficiency between local and regional energy agencies”.