Following on the AER Open Doors week, the King’s Commissioner, Leen Verbeek and the Executive Board of the Province of Flevoland (NL) came to discuss the next steps of their engagement in AER. AER has been very present in disseminating information from Flevoland’s European projects, including Smart Europe, More4NRG and Regions4GreenGrowth. In addition to dissemination, AER also shared its own “peer review” methodology for the implementation of the projects. Finally, Flevoland will look into increasing their political involvement in the organisation as they are already very active in the hands on exchange of experience.Follow AER!
This is the tag for all posts relating to Project MORE4NRJ.
Welcome to our project section! We were involved in the project "MORE4NRG". The articles below relate to sustainable, renewable and green energy.
MORE4NRG final conference: It is time for results!
Almere, Flevoland (NL), 10th June 2011
For the last three years, MORE4NRG project has helped 11 European regions develop strategies that explore their energy potentials and improve their energy efficiency more effectively. The Assembly of European Regions (AER), as a project partner, contributed to the success of this initiative with its unique peer review methodology.
First step – Peer reviews: making assessment of regional energy policies
In the framework of the project, the energy policies of five regions including Maramures (RO), Western Greece (GR), Gabrovo (BG) and Prahova (RO) in 2009, as well as Abruzzo (I) in 2010, were reviewed by their counterparts through a series of tailored peer reviews, conducted under AER coordination.
“The outcomes of these audits are more than satisfying”; said Anne BLIEK, Chair of the MORE4NRG Monitoring Board and Deputy Queen’s Commissioner of the province of Flevoland (NL), adding that “ AER’s Peer Reviews undoubtedly played a key role in the project’s success. They allowed us to share our knowledge and to learn from each other. The regions that hosted peer reviews were offered the unique opportunity to identify their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to developing innovative energy policies. Our project has triggered a major change in their energy policy making, and I am happy to see how fast their energy landscapes are being transformed”.
Some concrete examples confirm this statement: Maramures is currently exploring the possibility of using satellite technologies in the field of biomass-based energy, Gabrovo has integrated a special chapter on energy efficiency into its regional development strategy while Prahova is preparing its regional energy action plan.
Second step – Exchange of good regional practice: the wheel does not have to be reinvented all the time
The project also highlights the regional diversity and creativity in tackling a huge variety of environmental challenges. More4nrg led to the identification of 33 good practices, with10 of them already in the transfer process. One of the most innovative examples originates from Västernorrland (S): the region has set up a snow storage system that helps cool down the local hospital during the summer period. As a result of this project, the electricity consumption has dropped from 450 MWh to 40 MWh.
The “Soap on tap” initiative, implemented by the Italian region of Lazio, encourages reductions in the use of packaging, and subsequently optimizes energy consumption linked to the production of paper, thanks to reusable washing detergent containers installed in the large-scale retail trade. The project is currently being implemented in the province of Flevoland. The Centre for Renewable Energy Sources and Energy Efficiency in Western Greece created the Park of Energy Awareness. The aim is to offer citizens a chance to discover various forms of alternative energy sources and learn more about technologies used to produce clean energy. A similar Park should be created in Prahova, Maramures and Gabrovo to fill a gap in the ecological education system by providing concrete demonstrates that make it more practical.
More4nrg partners expect to continue their successful cooperation with a new INTERREG IVC project Regions4greengrowth, which will focus on energy investment opportunities and be subjected to the European Commission approval.
For more information: [email protected]
AER at Euro-Mediterranean Energy Efficiency forum: presenting Regions’ role to develop clean technologies
Regions in pole position to lead energetic revolution
Monaco, 26 April 2010
Representing the Assembly of European Regions (AER), President Michèle Sabban attended the Euro-Mediterranean Energy Efficiency Forum in Monaco. Held by Johnson Controls and the Prince Albert II of the Monaco Foundation, the event has brought together 160 policy makers, NGOs and stakeholders from both the public and private sector of the European Union and Mediterranean basin. Together they discussed ways to improve energy efficiency outcomes and accelerate the adoption of regulation system through enhanced cooperation.The forum highlighted how energy efficiency practices could directly contribute to the struggle against climate change. It clearly appears that European regions play a crucial role in developing policies and strategies to boost energy efficiency and support environmental sustainability. Their activities include the financial support for research, economic development and innovation as well as the investment in construction and housing rehabilitation.
As a panel participant on “Key enablers to achieve Europe’s energy saving targets”, Michèle Sabban drew attention to the many actions taken by the AER in the field of sustainable energy, such as its participation in the MORE4NRG project, the organisation of the European Regions Energy Day, and the proposal for a strategy aimed at acknowledging the role of federal states and regions in the fight against climate change developed together with the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Manitoba and the Spanish region of Catalonia.
“AER has always placed environmental issues at the heart of its actions. Through its activities, it has engaged Regions in climate change strategies and encouraged them to be environmentally aware in all aspects of their public policies. Today, thanks to these actions, the cause of the regions is increasingly powerful” stated AER President.
The event indeed set the tone for future initiatives from the alliance to further educate and influence governments, businesses and individuals to think and act on energy efficiency and climate change.
For more information: [email protected]
MORE4NRG, Regions are boosting green growth: The examples of Prahova and Gabrovo
Brussels (B), 26 March 2010
A MORE4NRG workshop was organised today in relation to the Sustainable Energy Week – an initiative from the European Commission that aims to highlight best regional practices in the field of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency.
“Bringing together 11 partner regions* from all over Europe as well as the Assembly of European Regions (AER), the MORE4NRG project aims to develop sustainable energy solutions while highlighting the importance of regional action in this area. Regions certainly play a crucial role in the exchange of good practices in the field of energy, and through their know-how they contribute to boosting green growth not only at the local but also national and European levels”, said Anne Bliek, Chair of the MORE4NRG Monitoring Board and deputy Queen’s Commissioner in the province of Flevoland (NL).
The objective of the seminar was to highlight the results of the peer reviews conducted in the regions of Prahova (RO) and Gabrovo (BG). Recommendations from these audits must be now imperatively analysed by the authorities of the two regions and translated into appropriate action plans.
In order to improve energy efficiency within its territory, the region must first assess the consumption of energy in different public and private utilities such as factories, services and public buildings. The energy audit should serve as a departing point for any new reliable and effective regional energy strategy. Once the energy audit is done, appropriate energy efficiency measures should be quickly implemented where important energy profits can be released at relatively low price.
Conclusions of the Prahova energy audit
- Putting in place measures to support the use of sustainable energy sources such as green certificates or preferential tariffs.
- Establishment of public-private partnerships (PPP) in the area of research and innovation
- Evaluation of the regional potential to produce geothermal energy. The region extracts significant quantities of fossil fuels such as coal: it would be wise to use the existing drilling sites to capture the heat of the earth, which is an abundant source of non-pollutant energy.
- Increasing use of the European funds to support green economies, such as INTERREG, 7th Framework Programme for research and technological development (FP7) or ELENA (new financial instrument established jointly by the European Commission and European Investment Bank).
Conclusions of the Gabrovo energy audit:
- Within the enterprises, it is very important to make sure that the leaders are well informed so that they can teach the employees everything regarding the defence of energy efficiency.
- Promote the establishment of PPPs in order to foster the implementation of renewable energy sources and energy services in public premises.
- Create a local energy agency as a link among all relevant stakeholders and to support the implementation of the regional energy policy.
- Implementing a mechanism to benefit the joint use of local and foreign capital, obtaining a multiplication effect (WGr).
AER is a network that allows its members to share their experiences and best practices. Following these purposes, this seminar has served as an opportunity to strengthen the main role of the regions for the establishment of a well performed energy policy in Europe. Today, with the current Europe 2020 strategy, it is particularly important for regions to play their role as main actors in order to successfully implement the European policies.
* Flevoland (NL) – lead partner, Abruzzo (I), Gabrovo (BG), Lazio (I), Maramures (RO), Noord-Brabant (NL), Norrbotten (S), Patras Science Park (GR), Prahova (RO), Valencia (E) and Västernorrland (S).
Note: next peer reviews will take place in the regions of Abruzzo (I) and Western Greece (GR) in June 2010.
MORE4NRG is an INTERREG IVC project to strengthen the delivery of regional strategies for renewable energy sources and energy efficiency by exchanging best practices on sustainable energy policies and jointly developing an integrated monitoring tool for measuring the effect of regional sustainable energy strategies. www.more4nrg.eu
For more information: [email protected]Follow AER!
Big build-up, fizzle finish? Regions pledge to save the hopes of Copenhagen
In spite of the failure of the Copenhagen Summit to deliver a long term agreement, the Assembly of European Regions and its member regions pledge to pursue their efforts in the struggle against climate change
“Although we expected this result, we are very disappointed about the outcome of the Copenhagen Conference. Heads of State have really missed on a unique opportunity to fight global warming. Unfortunately, they tried to protect their own advantages, and made only cautious offers”. This is the first reaction of Michèle Sabban, President of the Assembly of European Regions (AER), when the failure of Copenhagen climate change conference was confirmed.
The Copenhagen agreement between the 193 Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is indeed a minima-agreement: it is not binding, and it does not establish a deadline for a new treaty, while the Kyoto protocol will expire in 2012. The only two progresses are the recognition of a 2 degrees Celsius limit to the rise of the global temperature, as well as a solidarity effort towards developing countries through a 30 billion financial aid until 2012, and 100 billion per year in the following years.
“I want to stress that the failure of the States to find an ambitious agreement for the planet will not influence our determination in finding innovative solutions, in setting up our own criteria and deadlines for increasing the furniture and use of renewable energies in our territories. For us, Copenhagen was a success indeed, and what is really happening on the international scene is the constitution of a true diplomacy of the regions” Ms Sabban added. “The launch of the R20, which aims to organise this emerging diplomacy of the territories, represents a major event for international life, and will a have a major impact policy-making at the international level. AER obviously supports this initiative, and will help by sharing its experience in the field of interregional cooperation.”
AER President concludes: “One of Copenhagen’s issues found here its solution: several actors are already starting working, in spite of the setting or not of an ambitious agreement. They are already producing the necessary changes. We will certainly not wait for next conference in December in Mexico to act!” Thanks to the creation of its “Action tank” in 2010, AER will unite all key actors, regions, federal states and economic stakeholders to deliver concrete actions to territories. A calendar for 2010 activities is under preparation.
Reminder of AER’s activities in the field of energy:
First European Regions Energy Day, Brussels, 29 April 2010:
AER and GE Energy establish a yearly cooperation meeting between regional decision makers and European energy experts. This day aims to propose regional responses to current energy challenges and to prepare the future of regional energy for generations to come. Economic efficiency, security of supply and respect for the environment are the major challenges that face the regions.
Peer Reviews: following this method initiated by the AER, representatives from member regions go to their counterparts and explore with them the best adapted solutions for them to establish adaption and mitigation measures to tackle climate change.
Interreg IVC MORE4NRG project brings AER together with 11 partner regions to develop sustainable energy strategies through exchange of experiences. This initiative shows that regions play a key role in the development of policies and regulations; regions can also provide national authorities with information on what is happening on the ground and assess energy demand at local level.
Survey on energy policies led by AER at the end of 2009 among its member regions*. The answers showed that 78% of the member regions (currently 270) have already implemented a climate policy in their territories. The final conclusions of this study will be presented during the European Regions Energy Day.
*66 regions from 24 countries already answered
AER-Fedarene Declaration (European Federation of Regional Energy and Environment Agencies): since 2006, 96 European regions signed this declaration, which is a strategic tool translating broad energy objectives into more specific ones and a commitment of regions on measurable targets.
For more information: [email protected]Follow AER!
While nations talk in Copenhagen, regions act in Ploieşti
Prahova (RO), 4 December 2009
The third energy audit of the MORE4NRG project was carried out this week in the region of Prahova (R). Over the last few days, experts from Valencia (E) and Lazio (I), along with AER representatives, advised county authorities on tackling climate change and meeting sustainable energy needs with the establishment of a reliable, comprehensive and dynamic energy strategy.
Sunshine and hydro-resources can provide an abundance of green energy in Prahova. The region is beginning to capture some of this potential; but it still encounters myriad difficulties when it comes to introducing renewable energy source (RES) technologies. Some successful projects – such as the PV central station in the town of Cornu and the Floreşti gym equipped with solar roof panels – are already in place. But there is still no coherent legal framework to promote investment in the sector of clean energy. Weak support mechanisms, long payback periods, grid connection and energy conservation problems were some of the issues analysed by the expert team.
“A regional strategy would set out a new vision for the smarter use of energy in our region”, says Ludmila Sfirloaga, President of the Chamber of Regions of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities (CLRAE-Council of Europe), elected councillor from the Prahova county and member of the MORE4NRG Monitoring Board. “This is a challenging target but its achievement will bring wide-ranging benefits to our territory. Deploying renewable energy will help us maximise not only the environmental benefits but also the social and economic ones”.
“There is of course no one-size-fits-all energy strategy”, explains Joaquin Ortolá from the Valencia Energy Agency (AVEN) and member of the expert team. “The content of each energy strategy varies according to regional particularities. That is why we came to Prahova. We would like to get better insight into its current energy situation. It is of crucial importance to understand how energy is used in the county, and to identify key regional stakeholders that are concerned with the issue of energy and who should be involved in drafting such a document. As energy is a cross-cutting issue, all kinds of actors must take part in the consultation procedure so that we make the right connections between energy and other key policy areas. We expect our peer review to catalyse regional corporate commitment to taking the strategy forward.”
Together with members of the Ploieşti energy agency (which was set up under the Intelligent Energy Europe program), MORE4NRG experts visited several regional solar power installations and small hydropower plants. They also interviewed representatives of government, academia, environmental NGOs, the chamber of commerce, energy providers and local investors.
“We hope that our suggestions will help Prahova deliver a successful energy strategy. This document should be quickly supported by an appropriate action plan and regularly updated so that it rightly depicts fluctuating trends of the energy market”, concludes Giuseppa Bruschi, department director for the region of Lazio.
AER Peer reviews:
Made up of international experts from MORE4NRG member regions, the peer review team conducts a four-day visit to assess the performance of a host region’s energy policies. Through a series of field inspections and meetings with energy stakeholders from both public and private sectors, the team investigates the legal, technological, financial and environmental factors that may affect the sustainable development of the host region’s energy strategy.
For more information: [email protected]Follow AER!