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EE-07-2015 - Enhancing the capacity of public authorities to plan and implement sustainable energy policies and measures

Specific challenge: Public authorities play a key role in the reduction of EU energy consumption and the increase of renewable energy capacity. For instance Member States must produce and implement National Energy Efficiency Action Plans (NEEAPs) and National Renewable Energy Action Plans. They also have the obligation to produce detailed action plans in specific sectors such as the renovation of buildings or the application of high-efficiency cogeneration and efficient district heating and cooling systems. Local and regional authorities are also developing plans at their own level and other public authorities play an important role too; national energy regulatory authorities for instance should provide incentives for grid operators (heat, cold, and electricity) to enable network users to produce renewable energies and implement energy efficiency measures.

Doing this requires multidisciplinary skills to e.g. assess different cross-sector sustainable energy options, according to technical, environmental, economic and social criteria. It also requires skills to engage stakeholders in both the definition and implementation of the solutions, and to secure funding.

The situation regarding the availability of these skills varies from country to country; e.g. while certain public authorities have a long tradition of using energy performance contracting, others have not tried yet; or while a few Member States oblige large cities to develop urban mobility plans, such plans are not common practice in other countries.

Scope: Proposals demonstrating an innovative approach in empowering public authorities to develop, finance and implement ambitious sustainable energy policies and plans (for instance under the Covenant of Mayors initiative), on the basis of reliable data and analyses. Public actors should be encouraged to look at sectors with high energy saving potential such as buildings, industry and urban mobility. The geographical coverage should be well justified on the basis of European added-value. Capacity building should be an integral part of project proposals.

The following actions are part of the scope:

  • Raising the capacity of Member States to fulfil their obligation under the new Energy Efficiency Directive.
  • Enabling national energy regulatory authorities to address demand issues (e.g. demand response, tariff design, assessment of generation adequacy assessment).
  • Capacity building on integrated energy, transport mobility and land-use planning at community and city-level.
  • Supporting public authorities in better linking up local, regional and national levels for delivering integrated sustainable energy action planning and projects to achieve synergies and economies of scale.
  • Establishing new or exploiting existing networks and other mechanisms to spread knowledge and facilitating the exchange of experiences and best practice on sustainable energy.
  • Large-scale capacity building on innovative financing to specific groups of public authorities, such as national, local and regional authorities, energy agencies, structural and cohesion funds managing authorities.
  • Defining and implementing standard energy saving packages for households, public sector and industry in particular under Article 7 of the Energy Efficiency Directive.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 1 and 1.5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact: Impacts must be measured in terms of number of public officers influenced and number of new or improved policies and plans. The number of final consumers impacted should also be measured in millions of people. In addition, proposals targeting governments should also demonstrate that they accelerate the implementation of the new Energy Efficiency Directive.

Type of action: Coordination and Support Actions