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Reporting period: 2017-08-01 to 2019-07-31

EU energy and climate targets for 2030 and the EU carbon neutrality target for 2050 require effective planning for energy & climate policies with strategies engaging multiple actors across different territorial scales. Municipalities can play a crucial role in fighting climate change. Local entities often lack the required capacity, including the coordination between different levels, technical, administrative, financial and managerial skills, to recognise challenges, opportunities and deliver solutions, needed to transform actions in concrete investments, translating the European policies successfully into established and accepted practices. This is particularly true for small and medium sized local authorities. Then, the main idea was to involve local municipalities and regional authorities in a sound transnational exchange and peer-capacity building activities (on integrated energy, sustainable urban mobility, land use planning and innovative financing solutions & adaptation). The transnational exchange programme (study visits, transnational seminars and peer to peer exchange) was designed to enable policy makers and public officers to learn from each other’s experiences and adapt effective responses to the major energy challenges. The capacity building programme was elaborated to bridge identified knowledge gaps, consisting of capacity building workshops, consultations and series of thematic webinars, aiming at defining 82 Sustainable Energy & Climate Action Plan (SECAP), including a Joint SECAP or updating the existing ones (involving 34 New Municipalities, including 11 participating to the Joint SECAP, and 48 existing signatories of the CoM). In the framework of the capacity building programme, specific training tools were elaborated in order to improve local authorities’ energy planning skills
EMPOWERING project was organized in 6 Work Packages. WP1 - Project management and coordination, ensures an efficient running of the project. WP2 - Communication activities, set and develops an appropriate communication strategy. WP6 - Dissemination and Exploitation of project results started to diffuse first information towards identified target groups, WP3 - Transnational exchange and Learning Activities has been fully developed, WP4 - Local capacities building activities and WP5 - Integrated Sustainable Energy plan and regional strategy adoption. EMPOWERING strategic planning model reached:
• 20 New adhesions to Covenant of Mayors were finalised and 11 New adhesion in a Joint Adhesion;
• 19 Municipal Decisions/ letters of acknowledgment for the new SECAPs elaboration (only mitigation part) and additional 11 regarding the Joint Adhesion of 11 Municipalities, and 41 Municipal Decisions/ letters of acknowledgment for adopting the updated SE(C)APs (only mitigation part), within the Covenant of Majors initiative have been delivered;
• 61 SECAP drafted / SEAP Upgraded, of which 1 Joint SECAP drafted (composed by 11 municipalities), 7 SEAPs in updating process, 3 SECAPs in drafting process;
• 10 EMPOWERING Municipalities delivered not only the mitigation plan but the Climate Plan too (which was not foreseen with in the project EMPOWERING duration);
• 6 regional visions towards 2050 shaped, 6 models of financial tools/mechanisms (Marche in IT, Andalusia in ES, North-East Region in RO, Istria in HR, , Central Macedonia in GR, Borsod-Abauj-Zemplen in HU) were designed in order to foster and secure the transition towards a low carbon emission economy, to pursue an integrated multi-fund strategy (e.g. ERDF and ESF funds) and to accelerate public and private energy investment in their territories;
• 10 live interactive webinars, 3 micro-education, 26 capacity-building workshops for municipalities aiming at Sustainable Energy Action Plan definition, 26 capacity-building workshops for municipalities aiming at Sustainable Energy Action Plan update,12 capacity-building workshops for regional representatives about innovative financial solutions were organised;
• 1 e- platform was developed with a complete toolbox (of more than 150 learning material pieces online), to bridge the gap in skills needed to plan energy measures in line with the new Energy and Climate Framework 2030;
• More than 308 City officers and 12 Regional ones, enabled on energy saving and substitution policy and actions for the development of effective sustainable energy plans;
• 1 Best practice database composed by 52 examples, is accessible on and the Municipalities SECAP elaboration experiences shared with the peers in the e-platform section “Inspiration and good examples of actions for your SECAP/Material and links” to support local authorities by sharing examples from other local authorities on how they deal with these challenges and by presenting what initiatives at international level offer to strengthen local action;
• More than 60 million people, including citizens and stakeholders were reached in the context of all dissemination and communication activities;
• Participation to nearly 64 dissemination events at National and EU level as best practice to enhance the Municipalities role in the Energy and Climate Planning (ie. at the EUSEW -European Energy Week and Investment Forum in Brussels, Final Conference in Miskolc);
• EMPOWERING experience with the Joint SECAP development, was shared with the INTERREG Learning Platform, used as case study for the successful implementation of Joint SECAP;
• EMPOWERING method and experience, is going to be replicated in Marche Region, in involving the remaining municipalities in the region in the CoM, using and capitalising EMPOWERING training tools developed within the project;
In terms of energy performance the project reached:
Target 2030
• Estimated Energy savings: 8.231.171 MWh/a (Final Energy Consumption)
• Estimated CO2 reduction: 2.858.644 t CO2/a
• Estimated RES production 1.116.710 MWh/a
Furthermore 1 Municipality (Morón de la Frontera, Andalusia – Spain) set targets for 2050 which include:
• Estimated Energy savings: 270.481 MWh/a (Final Energy Consumption)
• Estimated CO2 reduction: 110.300 t CO2/a
• Estimated RES production 38.933 MWh/a
The total implementation cost is estimated up to 2.751.762.586 €
Four years ago, 6 regional development agencies/regional authority, from 6 EU regions (Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Spain), 1 research institute (Sweden) and 1 energy agency (Greece), decided to empower local and regional authorities (policy makers and public officers) of each region involved to shape sustainable energy plans in line with the European climate and energy policies. The EMPOWERING project, in the framework of the Covenant of Mayors, contributed to reach the 2030 energy and climate objectives through a multilevel governance and targeted peer-capacity-building programme (on mitigation and adaptation) of more than 78 local authorities, participating to the 6 Local energy Boards- the permanent energy communities, in 6 Regions.The experimented innovative strategy plan consisted of e-platform (with webinars and training material) and practical toolbox which is easily transferable to even more authorities at EU level-