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The main aim of the PEA project was to foster regional development through energy related improvement of added value chains. The energy sector can be an important motor for sustainable development of the regions that positively affect the economic situation of the regions. This includes reflecting on the value added chains and a holistic consideration of the regions. For some of the partners this has led to establishing energy self-sufficient regions. New solutions are already far developed; the aim of PEA is to collect, exchange and translate these findings and to make them usable for regions all over the BSR. This is also fostered by new training modules for local authorities, energy related staff (e.g. facility manager) and other users and decision makers, enabling them to implement and further develop strategies and measures. The Baltic Energy Compendium, a comprehensive guide, facilitates rethinking and remodeling of regional energy policy.

Local and regional authorities bear a central role and function in the realization of climate objectives. As closest to the citizens, these levels of territorial administration are to take the lead and guide by good example. This includes targeted measures for saving energy in communal premises and raising efficiency such as in heating and street lighting, but also raising awareness and motivating citizens for an increased individual engagement in protecting the climate. The introduction of programmes and measures to save energy is an area of great potential. Local and regional administrations are responsible for energy consumption in public sector and have common features:

  • many public buildings score high in consumption of energy;
  • a number of services with a relatively high energy uptake, such as public transport and lighting, where capacity for improvement is possible. Even in case of tendering services, the procurement process and contracting can be used to implement reduction of energy consumption;
  • the use of public money for operating municipal institutions requires that local and regional authorities set an example and lead the way in a sustainable use of energy;
  • they give proof of accepting to work in ecologically and economically responsible ways;
  • they demonstrate by own investments in energy saving and efficiency the feasibility of such measures and can thus encourage private investors to follow this pattern;
  • they are responsible for land use planning and organisation of public transport system of most local and regional governments. Thus they can take strategic decisions concerning urban development such as avoiding urban sprawl can reduce the energy use of transport;
  • they can introduce energy issues as a transversal goal to other policies like urban planning, land use planning, town and regional development and even social planning.

Local and regional authorities are best suited by their proximity to inhabitants, enterprise and other local actors to inform and motivate about a more efficient use of energy. Such measures and activities are especially important for asserting the common mandate to bear costs and efforts for sustainable energy consumption. Children and youngsters are a vital target group for such activities too; they multiply their achieved wisdom to their social environment. Being responsible for public schools and kinder gardens provides the opportunity for municipalities to co-operate with the institutions as well as with the pedagogical staff in order to promote the topic of energy to the agenda of children.

The challenges of a turn in energy policy cannot be managed by local or regional authorities alone. The technological innovations of the last two decades opened for previously unthinkable development options in environmental friendly and regional energy supply.

To motivate many people to participate by investments in the energy supply of their regions, in medium and long term through energy saving, increasing efficiency and the use of renewables to adapt to the supply generation largely from renewables local and regional authorities can emphasize several aspects:

  • promote the local generation of energy and use of renewables, e.g. by use of biomass in cogeneration;
  • organise Energy Days in co-operation with the other stakeholders, allowing citizens to benefit directly from the opportunities and advantages offered by a more intelligent use of energy, and to regularly inform the local media on developments concerning the action plan;
  • share experience and know-how with other territorial units and to help cities to implement similar approaches;
  • encourage conducting projects for renewables by supporting local initiatives financially;
  • provide multiple options for citizens to engage in a specific environment policy and in local activities to increase the local creation of value as renewables share a principal degree of decentralization;
  • create the necessary framework by using their competencies for planning, development and decision-making in a focused way for private investments;
  • act in a regulative way to require energy performance levels or the exclusive use of devices running on renewables;
  • take measures for the development and application of new financial engineering mechanisms and instruments, for example energy associations, energy contracting or fostering local energy supply.

Local and regional energy policy follows the principle of „global thoughts locally applied”, by having local initiatives contribute measurably to solving global problems. This does not mean to entail locally isolated or short term activities, but developing a regional specific strategy based on a realistic assessment to achieve a sustainable concept of energy supply and energy saving in a region and consequently a maximised support for climate protection as a whole. Concepts and methods developed in the PEA-project offer this important planning documentation as basis for the political debate.

A local and regional energy policy, based on the principles of energy saving, efficiency increase and decentralised production by renewable and regionally available resources does not only contribute to climate protection, but also strengthens the local and regional economy. It lowers the loss of local spending power for energy supply from further away and creates local added value in energy supply and investment in energetic upgrading.

The options for activities on local and regional level are substantial. It must be acknowledged that also the potential for improvements of the regulatory framework on national scale is very relevant. If achievements of national climate related aims and objectives is largely based on the engagement of local and regional level, then a respective legal framework for a decentralized energy policy needs to be created. This would include supply of sufficient financing for required investments and the legal background as certainty for their implementation.

The Renewable Energy Guide has been prepared having in mind the main objectives of the PEA project and in particular the objective to establish an interregional benchmarking tool to help identify all necessary steps that need to be taken when developing new models for sustainable energy production. The tool should help to establish basic data on energetic and economic potentials (including existing economic and legal barriers) of different energy sources, their sustainability and their environmental impacts. It shall help regions all over the BSR and beyond to rethink their forms of energy production, to raise awareness for alternative energies, to lower barriers and to encourage municipalities and regions to meet European energy standards as soon as possible.

This page is part of the PEA Wiki. PEA (Public Energy Alternatives) is a partly EU-funded project in the Baltic Sea Region.

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