The delivery of the Energy Union targets requires the full engagement of the public sector at all governance levels.
Local and regional public authorities have a crucial role in setting ambitious energy efficiency strategies, for instance in the framework of the Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy and Smart Cities & Communities or the Clean Energy for EU islands initiative. The political commitment at local level should be enhanced and the focus should turn to implementation and effective monitoring of concrete energy efficiency solutions and actions, which can contribute to modernise and decarbonise the European economy. Synergies should be sought, whenever possible, with local and regional air quality plans and air pollution control programmes to reduce costs since these plans rely to a large extent on similar measures and actions.
Support should continue and be reinforced in building capacity of public authorities and empowering them to take up their role of energy transition leaders at regional and local level, by permanently improving their skills as public entrepreneurs and supporters of market transformation towards more efficient energy systems.
At national level, the Energy Efficiency Directive has triggered numerous positive developments in the Member States by setting targets to incentivise and enable investment in energy efficiency programmes across all sectors. However, Member States have yet to fully implement the Directive and additional support in building capacity and know-how is needed.
a) Support to local and regional public authorities
The Commission considers it to be equally relevant to address one or more of the following bullet points, as appropriate:
- Enhance decision-making processes of regional and local authorities, to deliver a higher quality, coherence and consistency of energy efficiency measures – and accelerate reaching targets. Actions should foster horizontal and vertical integration of different governance levels, joint application of the energy efficiency measures across local and regional authorities, improved monitoring and verification schemes, and more efficient use of public spending. Proposals should demonstrate political commitment and lead to subsequent institutionalisation of the improved processes in support of the Energy Union Governance Regulation.
- Support public authorities in the development of policy scenarios and transition roadmaps that clearly outline the path to the European long-term 2050 targets and inform the ongoing implementation of SEAPs/SECAPs or similar plans and the development of future plans/targets for 2030 and beyond. Actions should link closely to the Covenant of Mayors initiative and the Energy Union Governance Regulation, where relevant.
- Innovative ways to enable public engagement in the energy transition, developing interface capacities within public authorities to engage with civil society.
- Deliver innovative capacity-building programmes for cities and/or regions to step up their capacity to drive the sustainable energy transition in their respective territories. Proposals should foster a sustained increase in the skill base of public authorities, adapted to their needs and challenges, and support the diffusion of the learning within participating organisations and beyond. The proposed actions should include a strategy to replicate results across Europe and a solid impact monitoring.
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