With 113 applications submitted, Energy transition proved to be a very popular topic among urban authorities applying under the 1st Call for Proposals. This article aims at exploring the topic’s importance for the UIA within the overall EU context and what our three first funded projects are implementing. One of the reasons why so many urban authorities showed their interest for this topic is that urban areas are the places in which the greatest progress can be made on energy transition. How cities grow and operate has a huge impact on energy demand as they account for 60 to 80% of global energy consumption and around the same share of CO2 emissions.
Energy transition is therefore at the heart of the many environmental, social and economic challenges faced by European cities and requires an active engagement of citizens and communities.
For years cities have been pushing ahead with local initiatives and projects on sustainable energy and have been leading from the front through concrete actions and voluntary commitment (for example under the Covenant of Mayors initiative) on the issue of transition to a more efficient and secure energy outlook.
UIA aims to help accelerate this transition by supporting the most innovative and promising solutions co-designed by urban authorities with key local stakeholders.
Energy efficiency is not only extremely relevant for urban authorities but also very high on the European political agenda (one of the key objectives of EU energy and climate policy but also one of the 12 topics of the Urban Agenda for the EU) and the focus of many opportunities across the whole spectrum of EU policy and funding instruments.
The coming months will notably see a series of conferences and events, among which the Green Week, the JPI Urban Europe Conference and the EU Sustainable Energy Week, during which urban authorities and a great variety of other stakeholders will share ideas and experiences on innovative and bold solutions for energy transition.
Three cities proposing new energy transition integrated paths
In the first Call for Proposals, Urban Innovative Actions has supported three frontrunners urban authorities with their bold energy transition projects: Gothenburg (Sweden) with the FED project, Paris (France) with CoRDEES and Viladecans (Spain) with Vilawatt.
The City of Gothenburg will look to reduce the use of fossil fuel energy and increase the security of supply by developing and testing a novel district level energy system, integrating a local energy system and market including demand and supply. The City of Paris will look at optimal energy performance at district scale by integrating a multi-Stakeholder governance system with a management platform to monitor, consolidate and analyse data helping Stakeholders achieve energy performance targets. In order to tackle the challenge of fuel poverty, the City of Viladecans will seek to secure a stable energy transition through the deep energy renovation of residential buildings in a deprived neighbourhood by setting up an innovative Public-Private-Citizen governance Partnership.
The projects implemented in Paris and Viladecans aim at fostering multi-level and sectoral governance. The kick-off meeting of the Energy New Deal took place in Paris last March. Viladecans has kick-started its activities and has notably started the definition of the requirements of the implementation of the innovative Public-Private-Citizens Partnership. The city has also started to engage local communities to integrate them into this new PPCP structure. The first steps towards the definition of the local energy system and market have been taken in Gothenburg and will soon lead to their first prototype version.
The cities of Gothenburg, Paris and Viladecans will start working over summer with the UIA Experts selected to support them as well as capture and share the knowledge generated from their projects. It is expected that the first publications will be available by the end of the year.
Projects will be posting regular updates on their implementation through frequent articles and reports in order to inspire other cities in Europe facing similar challenges but also to inform future policy developments at EU, national and regional level. So make sure you regularly visit the different project pages on our website to stay tuned.
In this newsletter, thanks to 3 interviews with representatives from the cities of Paris, Gothenburg and Viladecans, you will have the opportunity to better understand their approach as well as the challenges related to an effective implementation on the ground of innovative and sometimes disruptive projects.