The need to improve resource and energy efficiency is at the heart of the Europe 2020 strategy. We function in a complex globalized economy, where shifts in supply and demand anywhere can affect prices and economies everywhere. In this context, regions and cities must increase the resilience of their economies, and the health of their natural environments, by preparing for these unpredictable international tides. While the problem is global, this does not preclude local action. It does, in fact, necessitate action at all governance levels. However, change does not come fast, particularly in the field of energy, where decades of previous decisions regarding energy infrastructure and policy have ‘locked-in’ particular energy pathways. Addressing this past requires thinking about the future, so that when decisions are made, they are made in accordance with a vision for ensuring the health and happiness of a people.
The project ‘Energy Vision 2020 for South East European Cities’ (EnVision2020), coordinated by the Sofia Municipality, has been designed to address this challenge. It was based on the assumption that the energy consumption patterns of the target cities ha d not been optimized, and aim ed to identify the steps that w ould be needed in order to bring about this positive change. It consider ed the present energy dynamics of the target cities, and consider ed what a desirable energy consumption pattern might look like in 2030. Filling in the specific actions to get ‘from here to there’ include d:
- An analysis of the energy resources consumption patterns in the target cities while considering EU targets, as well as the mapping of legislation and institutions charged with the development of energy strategy;
- The identification of key technologies determined to be essential for the more efficient use of energy resources;
- The identification and development of financial instruments to support renewable energy systems in collaboration with the business and financial sector;
- The development of technology roadmaps, and the validation of these roadmaps at high-level meetings, which include policy recommendations to the local and national levels;
- The organization of mutual learning workshops to facilitate the formation of a common vision and joint policy priorities among the target cities. This allow ed for the sharing of experiences and practice in order to most fully realize these energy objectives.
EnVision2020 was supported by the South East Europe Transnational Cooperation Programme. It run from December 2012 until November 2014.
The project br ought together 10 partners from 7 countries, including:
Sofia Energy Agency – Bulgaria
Sofia Municipality – Bulgaria
City of Zagreb – Croatia
City of Hannover - Climate Protection Unit – Germany
Municipality of Thessaloniki – Greece
Municipality of Fermo – Italy
Municipality of Potenza – Italy
Bucharest-llfov Regional Development Agency – Romania
Energy Agency of Podravje - Institution for Sustainable Energy Use – Slovenia
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