The topic aims to provide local and regional authorities with the necessary capacity to deliver and implement plans and strategies for the clean energy transition. To successfully support the achievement of European energy and climate targets, transition plans and strategies need to be institutionalised, cross-sectoral and tailored to the level of innovation, ambition and specific geographic context of the involved authorities.
Local and regional authorities are a decisive lever for the EU to achieve its 2030 climate and energy targets as set out in the European Climate Law and the relevant ‘Fit for 55’ legislative revisions, as well as the carbon neutrality objective by 2050. Policy-makers and administrations at all sub-national levels need to commit to and effectively plan and implement the clean energy transition in their territories at an unprecedented level of ambition and pace with a long-term carbon-neutral horizon. Local and regional authorities also have a very relevant role to play in the framework of the REPowerEU plan to phase out EU dependence on fossil fuels imports, as the case for a rapid clean energy transition across EU Member States has never been stronger and clearer.
However, in some cases local and regional authorities lack capacities to develop and implement such plans and strategies, including small municipalities, rural and isolated areas and carbon-intensive regions that are lagging behind in the clean energy transition, and have the potential to have a high impact in reducing their fossil fuels consumptions. Many municipalities still need support to design medium and long-term transition plans and strategies, such as Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans – SECAPs – or similar. Furthermore, existing plans and strategies need to be aligned to the updated European energy and climate targets and, in turn, deliver more ambitious actions in the short, medium and long term. Therefore, development and reinforcement of skills within local and regional authorities are needed, for instance through training programmes for policy-makers and public officers, which could be tailored to their specific needs; through development of long-lasting knowledge structures; or through replication and rollout of best practices and information tools, etc.
Another challenge commonly faced by local and regional authorities is the holistic energy planning required to deliver the clean energy transition. A successful and fair clean energy transition requires an integrated approach in planning and implementing the appropriate measures, supported by robust and long-lasting coordination structures and appropriate resources. These elements would lead to mainstreaming the carbon neutrality goal within all relevant sectors (energy production and consumption, buildings, district heating, mobility and transport, land-use, waste, water, health, etc.), mutually reinforcing sectoral policies and improving the efficiency of the planning processes. Moreover, enabling the participation of public and private stakeholders, including citizens and/or communities, would be critical to consolidate a sustained political commitment beyond electoral cycles.
Clean energy transition plans and strategies should reflect high levels of ambition (tailored to the specific geographical, societal or political context) and/or consider the application of innovative elements through local pilots, for instance transition management, carbon budgets, decentralisation of energy production, or green procurement practices. Moreover, they should be fully in line with the energy efficiency first principle; the National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs); the EU Green Deal and its initiatives such as the Renovation Wave; the transposition of the ‘Fit for 55’ legislative revisions into national laws – in particular the Recast of the Energy Efficiency Directive, which calls for municipalities to set up local heating and cooling plans; the national Long-Term Renovation Strategies; the European Climate Pact; the Covenant of Mayors; the National Recovery and Resilience Plans and the Regional and National Programmes under the Cohesion Policy Funds; the Horizon Europe mission on climate-neutral and smart cities; the REPowerEU plan to phase out EU dependence on fossil fuels imports, and any other relevant elements of the EU and national climate and energy policy frameworks, in order to contribute to the 2030 and 2050 EU energy and climate targets.
Proposals should address one or both of the following areas of work:
- Actions should provide support to regional and local authorities and build their capacities to deliver, implement and monitor ambitious short and medium-term clean energy plans and strategies for 2030 – with a potential to pave the way for the 2050 carbon neutrality goal – in coherence with EU and national energy and climate targets and frameworks. Actions should focus at implementing the right mix of activities that will build/increase the technical, legal and social skills among local and regional authorities.
- Actions should aim at institutionalising holistic, integrated and collaborative energy planning in local and regional authorities, seeking approaches that facilitate the integration of clean energy, and thus reduce fossil fuels consumption, with other relevant sectors, supported by relevant coordination structures. The aim is to professionalise and accelerate the planning and implementation processes, and support higher ambition, while enabling and increasing the participation and engagement of all the relevant public and private stakeholders.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 1.5 million would allow the specific objectives to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
Proposals should result in providing capacity to local and regional authorities for delivering and implementing plans and strategies for the clean energy transition.
Proposals should quantify their impacts using the indicators listed below, where relevant, as well as other project-specific performance indicators:
- Number of policies/plans/strategies established through the action.
- Number of policy-makers/public officers with improved capacity/skills.
- Number of institutionalised collaborations/exchanges within and beyond public authorities, including peers, private stakeholders and/or civil society.
- Number of public and private stakeholders engaged.
- Secured political commitment and resources.
- Primary energy savings and renewable energy generation triggered by the project (in GWh/year) to be delivered by clean energy transition plans/strategies developed through the action.
- Investments in sustainable energy triggered by the project (cumulative, in million Euro).
These impacts should be demonstrated during the project and within 5 years after the project lifetime.
16 November 2022
For further information: Funding & tenders