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Supporting PUBLic Authorities for Implementing Energy Efficiency Policies

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - PUBLENEF (Supporting PUBLic Authorities for Implementing Energy Efficiency Policies)

Reporting period: 2017-08-01 to 2019-01-31

PUBLENEF is a 3-year (2016-2019) project funded by European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme, aiming to assist EU Member States in implementing effective and efficient sustainable energy policies (with the focus on energy efficiency). The project helps to empower policy-makers to make use of best practices and policy processes implemented in other Member States at national, regional and local levels.
The specific objectives of PUBLENEF include to assess and learn from existing energy efficiency policy implementation practices in EU countries, regions, and cities; to strengthen the networking opportunities for relevant public agencies; and to develop and adjust tools for public agencies to help them to implement energy efficiency policies. The target audience of PUBLENEF consists of the following groups: national, regional and local authorities, policy implementation bodies, networks of local and regional authorities, and market actors and bodies participating in energy efficiency policies
The overall approach of PUBLENEF is:
a) to identify the needs from national, regional and local authorities for the implementation of EE policies,
b) to collect the best practices and tools for overcoming these needs and replicate them to various MS, regions and municipal authorities,
c) to develop roadmaps and enhance the process of successful implementation of policies,
d) to build and strengthen existing networks of policy makers enabling the knowledge exchange from national to regional to local level in EE policy.
PUBLENEF collected input from national, regional, and local policymakers on specific needs for their energy efficiency policy implementation as well as good practices adopted based on in-depth interviews, in relation to the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) Articles. This led to the compilation of a set of 55 good practices, as well as a needs assessment based on 15 national level responses and 40 local/regional level responses. The dominant needs on the regional and local levels are “insufficient budget” Art 12 (25); “stakeholders' lack of available time” Art 17 (19); “difficulties to mobilise all the stakeholders” Art 17 (17); “insufficient own funds requirements” Art 20 (16); “insufficient in-house expertise about legal and administrative aspects” Ar 17 (13); “lack of expertise and capacities in the concerned organisations (banks, private sector and public institutions);” Art 17 (12). In addition, a set of good practices in energy efficiency policy implementation was collected. Showcasing these practices can help other policymakers to better understand the processes of policy implementation. Furthermore, PUBLEnEf gathered over 200 ‘tools’ on policy implementation in energy efficiency. These tools include digital handbooks, stakeholder engagement guidance, resource planning or process monitoring tools, e-learning courses, software and others. All tools, as well as the aforementioned ‘good practices’, have been collected in an online repository titled as the PUBLEnEf Toolbox (www.publenef-toolbox.eu). Another activity of PUBLEnEf was the development of 15 roadmaps at the national, regional, and/or local levels in 11 EU MS. Roadmaps refer to technical assistance policymakers in overcoming specific barriers they faced in implementing their existing plans (SEAPs or regional strategies). The roadmaps covered local, regional and national cases (from public lighting to Monitoring and verification systems) and provided inspirations to policymakers outside PUBLENEF. The main EED Article addressed was 17 (Information and Training), linked to PUBLENEF key objective to further the knowledge and information on energy efficiency policy issues. PUBLEnEf has been presented in a series of meetings and events at EU level (such as the EU Sustainable Energy Week, the UNFCCC COP24 and others) and in various MS, while customized events have been organised specifically in the framework of the various roadmaps. Based on the information in the various monitoring reports, at least 80 events have been organised with in total more than 3,500 participants. Finally, in terms of outreach of activities, more than 2,500 representatives of the scientific community, 2,800 representatives of the civil society, 6,500 policy makers, 1,700 representatives of industry and market sector, 700 stakeholders from the media and over 22,000 from general public have been reached through project dissemination activities.
PUBLENEF has identified in detail what are the main challenges (needs) among policymakers at national, regional, and local level in the EU, for implementation of energy efficiency policies and measures. As a result, PUBLENEF has a good insight in the most pressing needs. These are now addressed through the roadmaps as well as events and the communication of relevant tools. Through these methods, PUBLENEF is expected to enhance energy efficiency in the EU, as policymakers will be supported to overcome existing challenges. Apart from the overall impacts related to the roadmaps (overcoming challenges and sharing experiences), each roadmap led to specific impacts in the region concerned, such as energy savings on public lighting, use of funding for energy efficiency projects, the set-up of an energy cluster, and the increase of the number of renovations for energy efficiency among households. Although the scopes, dimensions and applications of the various roadmaps are quite different, all of them have contributed to energy savings in Europe. Based on the monitoring and projections in the consortium, the total annual primary energy savings as a result of the roadmaps are set at 26.64 GWh. Finally, this figure can increase substantially, and the lessons from the roadmaps can be replicated, and in many cases the established institutions and networking opportunities can lead to more initiatives in the coming years. The events organized showed that local and regional authorities can play a key role in implementing and scaling up energy efficiency strategies. Local and regional governments can e.g. partner up with energy advisory services, ESCOs and (local) banks to maximise their impact of their renovation programmes, and also set up one-stop-shops to better support citizens in their home renovation efforts. However, local and regional authorities participating in the events deemed it critical to have a strong and obligatory EU energy efficiency policy framework that enforces an enabling national regulation to facilitate their ambitious action. The EU energy efficiency policies should not only put local and regional authorities, citizens and energy advisory services at the centre, but also channel significant European funds into local and regional energy efficiency investments, as the EU funding programmes continue to be the major financial tool for energy efficiency investments for local and regional authorities, in particular in the CEEC area. These PUBLENEF events made it clear that EU energy efficiency policies can benefit greatly from engaging with local and regional authorities as they can provide valuable feedback to the EU and national level policy gaps. Moreover, local authorities can also support EU and national policymakers in better identifying and meeting the needs of citizens in terms of energy efficiency policies (especially in terms of housing renovation) increasing social acceptance.