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Reporting period: 2017-06-01 to 2018-07-31

Integrated Sustainable Energy Planning (ISEP) implies the integration of the energy theme in spatial planning, physical and socioeconomic landscapes. The area-based conditions for the accommodation of energy initiatives, which can be supported by the local society and connected to the local economy, are identified within the framework of a sustainable energy plan. Nevertheless, it is not merely a matter of spatial design, but also of institutional design as it involves several actors with diverse and sometime conflicting objectives that must come to a consensus. Therefore, the conduction of an effective energy related planning presupposes deep changes in the structure and organization of the society.
Inspired by these findings, INTENSSS-PA aimed to develop and implement a human and institutional capacity building process related to ISEP in order to support public authorities and societal stakeholders to enter a new era of ISEP through a multi-level, interdisciplinary decision making process.
To achieve this aim INTENSSS-PA developed and implemented a holistic approach that involved the: (i) organization and structuring of existing knowledge related to the integration of energy theme into spatial planning, physical and socio-economic landscapes, so as to provide public authorities and stakeholders with meaningful and systematically organized knowledge, (ii) development of a capacity building environment that goes beyond training by involving experiential learning based on active inclusion of alternative expertise and (iii) organization of an interdisciplinary team to support public authorities and stakeholders involved in or affected by sustainable energy planning to work together within this environment in order to: (a) raise awareness and transfer knowledge on major issues related to ISEP, (b) identify together in an open, sustainable and realistic basis an ISEP concept appropriate for their contextual factors and (c) apply this concept in order to develop an integrated sustainable energy plan for their region.
To implement the INTENSSS-PA capacity-building process the Living Labs (LL) concept was applied. In particular a Regional LL (RLL) was organized in each regional area involved in the project, where different public authorities and stakeholders related to the integration of energy theme into the spatial planning, physical and socioeconomic landscapes were invited to collaboratively innovate, i.e. design, experiment and evaluate an innovative energy and energy related planning concept. To ensure a meaningful representation of EU and real transferable results, INTENSSS-PA established a network of 7 RLLs focused on ISEP within 7 different MS, i.e. Regional area of Karditsa-Greece, Calabria Region-Italy, Region of Castilla y Leon-Spain, Pomurje Statistical Region-Slovenia, Municipality of Groningen-Netherlands, Municipality of Middelfart-Denmark and Zemgale Statistical Region-Latvia.
INTENSSS-PA started on 1/2/2016 and ended successfully on 31/7/2018. INTENSSS-PA within 30 months has developed, operationalized and applied the INTENSSS-PA ISEP Approach through the RLL environment in order to develop seven Integrated Sustainable Energy Plans, i.e. one in each European Regional Area participating in the project. RLLs, public authorities and societal actors participated in the development and application of the INTENSSS-PA planning approach. They were supported by an interdisciplinary team of experts and an online Database of Practice developed within the project, where they could easily access and retrieve scientific, technical and training materials on ISEP. The Database of Practice includes, at the project's closure, 359 peer-reviewed materials by the interdisciplinary experts team of the project. They are mainly case studies related to ISEP, technical papers and training materials.
The overall performance of the: (i) developed Integrated Sustainable Energy Plans, (ii) INTENSSS-PA approach and (iii) project overall, were evaluated by the RLLs participants through a systematic process. A last and very important technical part of INTENSSS-PA was the development of proposals in relation to the integration of the INTENSSS-PA approach within the institutional framework of the involved European countries/regions. The feasibility of these proposals was assessed through a survey addressed to policy makers and politician and through 14 awareness events organized at different regions than those participating in INTENSSS-PA. During these events the project outcomes and results were discussed and assessed in terms of feasibility and potential for replication by the participants, i.e. almost 350 policy makers, public servants, urban planners, engineers, consultants and politicians.
In parallel, training and awareness tasks were implemented. In particular, training on several aspects related to integrated and sustainable energy planning has been performed on site, by organizing leaning sessions within the regional areas where RLLs were established. Furthermore, 2 INTENSSS-PA RLLs network workshops were organized, i.e. in Groningen - October 2017 & in Maribor - February 2018, where 8 experts in fields of interest to the 7 RLLs were invited to discuss their experience and present their work to the RLLs.
The progress beyond the state of the art is related to the application of participatory methods and techniques to support multilevel decision making and by introducing a concept of ISEP and a holistic approach for energy-spatial planning within the socio-economic requirements, restrictions and opportunities, that is based on the co-decision making of public-private and people. In addition, the concept of Regional Living Lab as a planning environment and its systematic establishment and performance evaluation process developed within INTENSSS-PA constitute an innovative application.
Few major concluding remarks that demonstrate the progress beyond the state of the art achieved through INTENSSS-PA can be summarized as follows:
•RLL approach sustains the change and embeds new approaches for local energy transition.
•LL concept is a very effective structure for the creation of social capacity since it creates trust that is the major driver for the society to participate in governance even in cases that appropriate institutional mechanisms are in place. Therefore ISEP through the RLL environment constitutes a meaningful tool to support local energy transition.
•A sound institutional framework is required to strengthen the role of RLLs and ISEP.
The impacts achieved through the experiential learning process that are related to energy and also to the socio-economic environment can be summarized as follows:
a) 4,765 persons from all categories of stakeholders were influenced/affected by INTENSSS-PA. Among them, 413 persons from public authorities and societal actors participated in the learning sessions of the project and about 50 interviewees and bi-later meetings participants were policy makers and politicians.
b) 7 Regional Sustainable Integrated Energy-Spatial Plans were developed within INTENSSS-PA that in total will:
•Affect approximately 2.59 million people in the participating regional areas.
•Lead to 830.5 GWh of primary energy savings on annual basis until 2028.
•Consider 4 billion euros to be invested on RES and EE projects according to the designed policies and measures.
•Consider 26,000 people to be additional heated appropriately and adequately.