TAKING

COOPERATION

FORWARD

Project name Enhancing the public authorities capacities to co-design and implement local energy strategies and action plans together with citizen energy groups
Objective Objective 2.2
Priority Low carbon cities and regions
Aim Local authorities face many challenges in implementing their sustainable energy and climate action plans. The first one is the financing required to achieve their ambitious plans. Local governments are oftentimes limited in ways they can spend their financial resources and are subject to strict European regulation. The second challenge is human resources. Most municipalities have small teams of dedicated sustainability officials, in many cases just one- person teams. These individuals are burdened also by other tasks, and hence the overall working time they devote to fulfilling the energy and climate actions is limited. Finally the municipalities often lack the capacity to raise awareness of citizens, mobilise them and generate public support1. In order to implement the infrastructural changes required to achieve their energy goals (for example construct district heating networks, build a wind power plant on municipal land etc.) the public authorities have to gain citizen support. However oftentimes the citizens are not involved in the process of creating local energy strategies, and therefore see the planned interventions as an intrusion into their private lives (one example is the effect of wind power plans on the landscape).

Energy cooperatives or other forms of local citizens engagement can help municipalities in achieving their sustainable energy and climate action plans. Such forms of grassroots citizen movements have taken root in Western European countries such as Belgium, Denmark and Germany. Consequently the acceptance of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies in those countries is higher, than in regions such as Central and Eastern Europe, where municipal planning is still dominated by a top down approach. In order to create greater acceptance of renewable energy technologies, and accelerate the fulfilment of local low-carbon energy strategies, municipal officials in CEE should be trained in fostering engagement and enabling citizen groups (such as energy cooperatives) to take an active part in co-creating local low-carbon energy strategies.

This project aims to enhance the cooperation between public bodies such as municipalities, and citizen energy groups in creating local energy strategies and action plans. Consequently it aims to develop the capacities of public bodies to develop such strategies and engage citizens in their co-design. As explained earlier the engagement of citizens is expected to foster the implementation of local energy strategies, as this could create additional financial resources and human capital on the local level.
Results Energy strategies and action plans have been co-created in 5 cities/municipalities across 5 participating countries including Croatia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland ... (other) ... serving as pilot projects through an active collaboration between municipalities and citizen energy groups

A toolbox aimed at helping public official to identify local energy infrastructural needs and energy potentials has been developed – this includes a methodology for collecting data on energy potentials, identifying the projects with the most desired economic and social outcomes and calculating the exact investment needs, potential energy savings etc.

Public officials from the participating countries have been trained in using co-design methods to engage local citizens and citizen groups such as energy cooperatives in developing their energy strategies and action plans

An online web portal for knowledge exchange among the pilot projects and the regions in question has been developed.
Cost Around 2.5 million EUR
Duration 36 months
Partners involved Starfish Energy

Potentially: IKOSOM, German Renewable Energy Federation (but not confirmed)
Partners requested Lead partner
Municipalities and cities
Regional Development Agencies
Benefit
Innovation The main innovation:

Creation of energy plans together with local citizen groups - enables greater acceptance of plans and easier implementation, as well as potential citizen investments and human capital input

Development of co-design methods and training with public officials - officials gain knowledge on how to involve local citizens, through specific methods

Toolbox for public officials - this would consist of several elements: a) local potentials analysis: would determine the renewables and energy efficiency potentials through on ground data collection based on interviews (for instance on amounts of manure from individual farms that could be used for biogas production) b) workshop methods and materials on how to engage citizens c) communication strategies for public authorities to create citizen engagement in energy planning
Follow up of This project idea is based on:

UNDP Croatia Renewable Energy Cooperatives Project - http://www.hr.undp.org/content/croatia/en/home/operations/projects/environment_and_energy/energy_cooperatives.html

and

Analysis of Gundinci municipality (Croatia) energy potential for communal biogas production
https://www.slideshare.net/makdukan
Follow up fundings