Skip to main content

SIMPLA - Sustainable Integrated Multi-sector PLAnning

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SIMPLA (SIMPLA - Sustainable Integrated Multi-sector PLAnning)

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

‘Energy production and consumption, transport and mobility are crucial, transversal elements affecting all aspects of socio-economic development in Europe, central to each European citizen’s quality of life and essential in any urban development planning in a continent characterized by growing urbanization. European policies have set ambitious sustainability targets for all levels of governance for 2020 and the coming decades, expecting important reductions in GHG emissions, a significant increase in energy efficiency and in production from renewable sources, and a dramatic reduction of Europe’s dependence on imported oil. The role of local authorities through their local strategic energy, transport and mobility plans is pivotal to meet these targets. However, individual sectoral plans dealing with energy, transport and mobility separately have often proved inefficient to provide effective, long-term solutions’ (SIMPLA Guidelines for the harmonization of energy and mobility planning (November 2018), Foreword, available at:
SIMPLA has enhanced the capacity of public authorities to plan, implement and finance integrated sustainable energy and mobility policies and measures by creating the conditions for a smart harmonization of SEAPs (Sustainable Energy Action Plans) or SECAPs (Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans), SUMPs (Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans) and similar plans in the frame of wider urban development and land-use planning.
SIMPLA’s approach and work plan entailed 4 subsequent steps.
As a first step, a National Focal Point (NFP) was established in each project country. NFPs involved an organization with strong skills and experience in energy, mobility and sustainable development (a so-called ‘technical partner’), and one or more public authorities at regional/county level. Technical partners provided the sectoral skills and competences necessary for the harmonization of local energy and mobility plans, while public authorities brought about their regulating capacities and political support to the harmonization process.
As a second step, extensive consultations took place in the regions of the SIMPLA partnership. More than 350 stakeholders – including public authorities, academy and research centres, energy agencies, utilities, associations and environmental NGOs – took part in a series of focus group sessions and workshops to discuss governance strategies, policies and operational measures for energy and mobility. Their input was elaborated by an international team of energy, mobility and climate change experts to develop a sound methodology for the harmonization of energy and mobility planning, eventually embedded in ‘SIMPLA Guidelines for the harmonization of energy and mobility planning’. The guidelines were complemented by a set of solutions implemented in virtuous territories to serve as best practice examples (SIMPLA ‘turn-key energy-saving packages’) and an online observatory merging the guidelines with useful tools and resources in a hypertext logic.
As a third step, SIMPLA’s methodology was tested on the ground. 82 local authorities in the six project countries were selected by means of public calls to benefit from 6-day in-class trainings on the SIMPLA guidelines. In-class trainings were complemented by 6 webinars, each providing an insight on a specific relevant topic. Following the in-class trainings, the most motivated local authorities were granted 80 hours of coaching provided by qualified experts for the actual harmonization of their energy and mobility plans. Coaching services led to the harmonization of energy and mobility plans in 28 local authorities by the end of the project and seven more expected in the following months.
The last step focussed on fostering mutual learning and replication for further disseminating and exploiting SIMPLA’s results. To this end, 12 replicating organizations were selected by means of an international public call and engaged in setting up new NFPs in their respective countries to take up the SIMPLA approach. A final 3-day event, involving replicating organizations, project partners, local authorities having benefitted from SIMPLA’s coaching, and external guests, offered a unique opportunity to exchange knowledge, experiences and success stories at European level on themes related to integrated, multi-sector energy and mobility planning with a perspective on the sustainable future of cities, thus paving the way to the uptake of SIMPLA’s results beyond the partnership’s boundaries and the project’s lifetime.
SIMPLA’s short-term results are measured most significantly in terms of influenced public officers (1.029) new and improved policies and plans (28), impacted final consumers (3.336.271) consultation events involving stakeholders and main actors in pilot territories (8 focus group sessions and 8 workshops), number of National Focal Points (NFPs) established (6) and of international organizations committed to replicate the actions and create NFPs in new countries (12).
However, the most significant impact is methodological, in that a scarcely expressed need for integrated strategic energy and mobility planning in the wider framework of urban and land-use planning finds in SIMPLA a comprehensive, standardized and easily replicable solution, likely to be widely embraced and lead to more integrated strategic planning and synergistic use of available EU, national and regional funding.
Planning energy and mobility together: it's SIMPLA!