Insights from the ManagEnergy Initiative

ManagEnergy was restarted in 2017 with a strong focus on sustainable energy investments. Energy agencies have many important roles through which they can support sustainable energy investments: as facilitators, aggregators or project developers, and therefore are in a unique position to support energy investments in their regions and cities. ManagEnergy uses and enhances this role by raising the skills of energy agencies’ staff on financing and project development, ultimately making them leaders in the energy transition and increasing sustainable energy investments in Europe. This was realised mainly through capacity-building and networking activities. 8 Master Classes, 19 Expert Missions and 3 Networking Events have been organised, involving nearly 100 energy agencies from 25 countries.

ManagEnergy Master Classes: bridging the finance and energy worlds

The Master Classes consist of 3-day interactive training sessions delivered in Brussels by leading experts from energy agencies. Participants were invited to join each of the 3 modules of the programme: Market Facilitation and Project Aggregation; The Involvement of Banks and Mobilising Private Investment; Risk Analysis and Development of Guarantee Schemes. Class sizes ranged from 20-25 and attendees had a varying level of knowledge of financing investments. The main objective of the trainers was to open the door of the finance world to participants, teaching them how to pitch their projects to banks and financial institutions. In the words of Ivan Šimić, Director of the Regional Energy Agency of North Croatia: "It is very useful in order to understand the perspective of the banks, and how they take decisions on the project we would like to develop. When I go back to my agency, I will definitely adapt my business models to make them more attractive for financial institutions". In total, 177 participants from 70 agencies took advantage of this offer.

ManagEnergy Expert Missions: boosting the role of energy agencies in their cities and regions

In addition to sharing their experience through Master Classes, the ManagEnergy experts also visited 19 selected energy agencies across Europe. These missions lasted for 3 days and provided them with tailor-made support on strategic and business planning, with a focus on creating or expanding services to trigger additional energy investments. The Expert Missions went one step further than the Master Classes as they enabled the entire agency team to participate and focused on actions of key importance for the specific agency as well as their organisation’s long-term strategy. Each Expert Mission also includes a meeting with key local/regional stakeholders, generating discussion, for example, on the opportunities and barriers for sustainable energy investments. Like many others, Florin Andronescu, Director of the Alba Local Energy Agency in Romania saw a real added value in the Expert Mission he hosted: "I did this Expert Mission to enhance the capacity of my agency to provide integrated services in sustainable energy. It made me want to go further, and continue to engage stakeholders in the region."

In addition to gaining new skills in project financing and development, ManagEnergy participants all raised the importance of networking between agencies. "At each Expert Mission I carried-out, I found a team of dedicated colleagues. As energy agencies, our structures and political contexts might differ, but our goal is the same: making the energy transition reality", concludes Christiane Egger, ManagEnergy expert and manager at OÖ Energiesparverband (AT).