Climate Alliance response and joint statement of networks of local and regional authorities on the governance of the EU Energy Union
Climate Alliance along with five other major networks of local and regional authorities has released a joint statement on the governance of the EU’s Energy Union. he networks call upon the European Commission and national governments to intensify their work with local and regional actors in the design of future national energy and climate plans and thereby to move from a policy of “action by a few to action by all”. The paper points to the crucial role of local and regional governments in delivering energy policy and warns that failure to formally recognise this in the Energy Union puts both European and national climate targets at risk. The networks thus call on the European Commission to include a chapter dedicated to multi-level cooperation in the guidance documents on planning and reporting of national energy policies which it will provide to national governments.
Climate Alliance has also released a more detailed set of recommendations on the issue.
Climate Alliance position paper and response to the Consultation on the Renewable Energy Directive
2016 is the year for the EU to deliver the policies which will turn the Energy Union “with a forward-looking climate policy” into reality. In response to the European Commission’s consultation on the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive for the post-2020 period, Climate Alliance has developed a detailed response along with a position paper outlining four suggestions to accelerate the transition to a decentralised energy system 100% based on sustainable renewable sources.
Climate Alliance advocates four main points in the consultation process for the review of the existing EU Renewable Energy Directive, in order to achieve an improved legislative framework to enable local and citizen-based initiatives on the ground:
- Provide an ambitious and reliable political and regulatory framework
- Remove barriers to self-generation and self-consumption of renewable electricity
- Ensure interaction and policy coherence between national and local levels in terms of planning and implementation for renewable energy
- Improve financial support for capacity building and wide-scale roll out of local renewable energy projects
Climate Alliance’s full response to the consultation on the Renewable Energy Directive
Climate Alliance response to the Consultation on the Energy Efficiency Directive
The European Union stands at the eve of reviewing its energy efficiency target for 2030, which is currently set at 27%. Climate Alliance urges the European Commission to embrace the multiple benefits a higher EE target would bring about and investigate different scenarios, including the 40% target, which was endorsed by Climate Alliance’s members and the European Parliament. The main messages Climate Alliance wants to highlight during the process of revising the Energy Efficiency Directive are the following:
- Alongside the Paris Climate Agreement, the EED revision provides a major opportunity to trigger adequate energy efficiency measures in all Member States. Initiatives such as the new Integrated Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy show the political commitment of thousands of local authorities to take ambitious action towards 2030. The EED should as well provide a clear, long-term vision with more defined, measureable and tangible targets set at Member State level. Many European municipalities and cities aim to fully contribute to the EU energy efficiency targets but are slowed down by inadequate national policies. Therefore, the European Commission should assess the adequateness of national policies and targets to ensure that the 2030 target will be achieved, and, if progress is not sufficient, propose additional measures.
- If the EU chooses to tap into the cost-effective potential of energy savings, it would drive €714bn of investments and create or maintain 11 million jobs. This means more than twice the aimed potential of the current Juncker Investment Plan. In order to do this, the EED should upscale the European and national financial support structures, according to the energy efficiency first principle, to intermediaries that leverage further private finance participation and facilitate aggregation of local projects bottom-up.
- The revision of the EED should lead towards an enforced directive with binding targets at Member State level which are expressed in absolute amounts (Mtoe) of both primary and final energy savings. It should also introduce a stronger monitoring system for compliance and unquestionable definitions to be applied in the national obligation schemes for energy efficiency.
View Climate Alliance's full response to the Consultation on the Energy Efficiency Directive here
Climate Alliance response to the Consultation on the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive
If we want to reach collectively the 2°C objective and Europe’s 80-95% CO2 reduction target by 2050, the energy performance standards of buildings will play a decisive role in this and should therefore be further enforced. The Energy Union gives a clear mandate to implement a decentralised, demand-side based approach to the energy transition, endorsing the energy efficiency first principle across the entire energy system. Following elements are crosscutting principles throughout Climate Alliance’s response to the EPBD consultation:
- Given the indispensable role of local authorities when it comes to implementing effective measures, mobilising citizens and incentivising local businesses in the buildings sector; adequate (capacity) support and their integration in the EPBD revision should be defined.
- The EPBD should be further enforced with more ambitious binding objectives to exploit the full potential of energy efficiency in the building stock (consuming 40% of Europe’s energy) and recognising this as Europe’s biggest domestic energy source. The energy efficiency first principle should be embodied by an at least 40% binding EU target for 2030, mutual reinforcing EED-RED-EPBD directives and scaled-up national renovation rates of at least 3% per year.
- The EPBD has played an important role for giving a clear signal to investors in the energy performance sector. The revision of the EPBD should enable the real acceleration of investments that has proven necessary to achieve the EU 2030 target, exceeding 100 billion/annually.
View Climate Alliance's full response to the consultation here
Climate Alliance Position on the European Energy Union
Climate Alliance very much welcomes the ambition of the EU Commission’s Energy Union Strategy to fundamentally transform the European energy system in order to put citizens at its core, taking a decentralized, demand-side based approach. Only with a decentralised and sustainable energy system will the EU be able to reach its commitment of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% by 2050. Climate Alliance members have been working towards this goal for many years and are committed to continue to do so. However, this transition can only succeed if all levels of government work together and local authorities are acknowledged and supported as full players of the Energy Union.
- The energy transition is well underway and will bring about a large number of direct and co-benefits for Europe, on an economic, environmental, and social level
- A decentralised energy system can only work with a strong role for local authorities. They have been taking action on the five dimensions of the Energy Union for decades and are ready to continue to do so, as demonstrated by the members of Climate Alliance and the signatories of the Covenant of Mayors.
- This is why they need to be further supported by the national and the EU levels, in order to continue this work and upscale it all over Europe.
- The governance system of the Energy Union needs to be based on local potentials. Before investing in heavy infrastructure and conventional energy sources, the potential for local and sustainable energy sources needs to be considered and reinforced.
- View Climate Alliance's Position Paper on the European Energy Union here
- View a briefing on the European Energy Union here
Climate Alliance response to the Consultation on Electricity Market Design
In Climate Alliance's view, the EU is in dire need of a clear vision for sustainable energy system of the future. In order to reach the goals of the Energy Union and keep global temperature rise to a minimum, the bloc needs an energy system which is first and foremost based on saving energy and using it efficiently. The remaining energy needs should be covered close to 100% by renewable energy sources.
- The system needs to make use of local potentials first. A local holistic approach at the local level allows matching supply and demand, tackles volatility of renewable energy sources, and entails multiple co-benefits. A large number of players are involved in the implementation of the transition: local authorities, citizens, local businesses, energy agencies and energy utilities providing energy services. These measures create regional value and jobs and involve the public into the new system.
- In order to put this in place, barriers to local energy generation and implementing savings measures need to be removed and a system built around a market for energy services should be enabled. This is only possible within a clear and reliable policy framework with binding targets which creates certainty for investments, e.g. through feed-in tariffs in the take-off phase and DSOs being obliged to integrate increasing amounts of renewable energy into their energy mix and generate decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.
- View Climate Alliance's full response to the consultation on the electricity market design here
- View Climate Alliance's Resolution A market model for the energy transition- a new energy system design here
Climate Alliance Input to the Heating and Cooling Consultation Forum
Climate Alliance was invited by the European Commission DG Energy to contribute to its Consultation Forum on Heating and Cooling.
Climate Alliance points out that local authorities are best placed to take action on heating and cooling. Heating and cooling markets are local. Thanks to the scope of their competences and capacities, local authorities are key to putting a heating and cooling strategy in place.
Local authorities are the closest level to consumers/citizens and other stakeholders and thus best suited to involve them in the energy transition. Furthermore, they take a holistic approach on long term energy and urban planning on their territories: They have a comprehensive view and competences on and can thus take integrated action on sustainable energy supply for heating and cooling, building energy efficiency and energy storage and thereby make sure that energy is not wasted but used in an optimal way, to the best benefit of their citizens.
Climate Alliance response to the Consultation ‘Towards a new European Neighbourhood Policy’
Climate Alliance contends that empowering local authorities and building a decentralized sustainable energy system should become central pillars of the revised European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). Experience, notably with the Covenant of Mayors East and the CES-MED, has shown that this approach is suited to tackle central challenges of the ENP.
Based on experiences notably with the Covenant of Mayors East, Climate Alliance puts forward the following recommendations for the new European Neighbourhood Policy:
The ENP should
- put a further focus on cities / local authorities and their role in increasing energy security and other policy priorities identified by the background paper;
- enhance its focus on local climate and energy action and strengthen the Covenant of Mayors as a tool in this context;
- consider the developments of the Covenant of Mayors becoming a worldwide initiative and linking it to the continuation of the Covenant of Mayors initiatives in the European neighbourhood;
- consider completing the initiative with elements such as adaptation and further focus on peer to peer learning and city to city cooperation between European and Eastern neighborhood countries;
- consider local authorities when drafting the ENP Action Plans and use the governance model put forward by the Covenant of Mayors a model to implement these Action Plans
- Climate Alliance’s full response to the Consultation on the future of the European Neighbourhood Policy
- Further information on the consultation
Climate Alliance response to the Consultation on revision of the EU ETS Directive
Climate Alliance is urging European policy makers to propose a fundamental reform of the EU Emission Trading System (EU ETS) Directive. Only a reform that takes effect well before 2020 will ensure an effective price signal and trigger urgently needed investments. Surplus allowances need to be permanently removed as they undermine an adequate pollution price signal. If this revision does not provide the needed fix, other solutions such as a carbon tax must be explored. Climate Alliance members have already asked for a fundamental reform of ETS system in the resolution passed last spring in Luxembourg.
Last year, the European Council agreed on the 2030 framework for climate and energy policy, including a binding domestic target for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 40% in 2030 as compared to 1990. According to the European Council, the reformed ETS remains the main instrument to achieve the emission reduction target.
ETS must be considered only one tool of many that tackles EU decarbonisation. A variety of policy instruments are necessary. Decentralisation and the energy transition, which calls upon an increasing number of smaller actors, will further change the role of ETS in the decarbonisation efforts of the EU.
All ETS auctioning revenues should be earmarked for climate policies, inside the EU and internationally. Revenues should also be used to support local action, implementation of local climate plans or Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPs) in the context of Covenant of Mayors.
- Climate Alliance response to the Consultation on revision of the EU Emission Trading System (EU ETS) Directive
- Further information on the consultation
Climate Alliance response to the EIB consultation on financing climate action
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is renewing its approach to supporting climate action. The bank has recognized climate change as one of the most urgent challenges faced today and consistently supports low-carbon and climate resilient growth in Europe and around the world.
Climate Alliance is asking the EIB to provide more and better suited financing for local authorities. Local authorities, for example, still face many barriers in launching wide-scale energy efficiency investments. The possibilities for local authorities to access European funding and use alternative financing schemes must be amplified. The current financing instruments available are often too complex for smaller and medium-sized cities and should be better tailored to fit various municipal needs and sizes. Efforts such as the newly launched CITYnvest project, coordinated by Climate Alliance, are crucial for building capacities on innovative, alternative financing schemes.
The EIB financing should support the EU climate and energy objectives or 2030 and 2050. Implementing energy efficiency measures and investing in energy efficiency is still a bottle neck in EU energy policy. EIB should make energy efficiency a priority in its activities. The market for energy efficiency is fairly recent and the needs of local administrations are many. Existing EIB initiatives on energy efficiency should be reinforced and the new European Fund for Strategic Investment should dedicate a significant part of its financing on energy efficiency.
Climate Alliance has offered to create a partnership with the EIB; its Working Group on Financing isan interesting platform for further exchange on this topic that can provide concrete recommendations on new and existing financing instruments.
- Climate Alliance response to the EIB consultation (674 KB)
- Further information on the EIB consultation on supporting climate action
Climate Alliance's response to the Draft Guidelines on Environmental and Energy State Aid for 2014-2020
In December 2013 the EU Commission launched a public consultation on the "Draft Guidelines on environmental and energy State aid for 2014-2020". In its response to the consultation Climate Alliance strongly argued that the Draft State Aid guidelines are not in line with the energy transition process in which citizens and local authorities are leading the way.
The proposals included in the draft State aid guidelines can be seen as another attempt to “save and protect” conventional energy producers and the “old energy infrastructure” based on centralised fossil fuels and nuclear. In addition the State aid guidelines for 2014-2020 must be in line with the Lisbon Treaty, as well as existing legislation such as the Directive on Renewable Energy.
- Climate Alliance response to consultation "Draft Guidelines on Environmental and Energy State Aid for 2014-2020" (743 KB)
“Competitive Europe” – the local authority vision for 2030 climate and energy policy”
The local examples presented in this portofolio demonstrate the high potential of local action in light of local green economy and job creation. The current negotiations on the 2030 energy and climate framework are a real opportunity to set the course for a Europe to stand at the forefront of secure and clean energy supply, decentralised, but stable energy infrastructure, smart cities and municipalities, innovative industry and social cohesion. So, let’s go for it!
- “Competitive Europe” – the local authority vision for 2030 climate and energy policy- How the local level secures energy supply, creates jobs and ensures social cohesion (704 KB)
A 2030 framework for climate and energy policies
Following the Resolution adopted by our members during Climate Alliance General Assembly in The Hague, Netherlands -May 2013, Climate Alliance responded as well to the public consultation launched together with the Green Paper in order to better reinforce the role of local authorities in the light of the 2030 climate and energy framework.
Climate Alliance highlights the fact that the efforts of local authorities need to be recognised and supported both with adequate policies and financing.Therefore, as response to the Green Paper, Climate Alliance calls for binding and ambitious targets for energy efficiency, renewable energy and CO₂ emission reductions. The three targets reinforce each other and need to be continued.In addition, the EU Emissions Trading System needs to be strengthened and its proper functioning guaranteed.
- Climate Alliance response to consultation "A 2030 framework for climate and energy policies" (187 KB)
Designing the 2015 Global Climate Change Agreement
In March 2013 the European Commission was launching a public debate on how best to design a new international agreement to combat climate change, following the adopted consultative paper. As this is a crucial moment for ensuring the role of local authorities as drivers for change in the international negotiations, Climate Alliance actively supports the EU in the negotiations for the up-coming 2015 agreement and made some suggestions on how to pave the way for an ambitious and effective agreement in Paris.
- Climate Alliance response to consultation "Designing the 2015 Global Climate Change Agreement" (416 KB)
Climate Alliance’s statement on The Urban Dimension of the EU Transport Policy
Following the consultation launched by the European Commission on “The urban dimension of the EU transport policy“, Climate Alliance provided proposals on how the EU-level could best contribute to high-quality and sustainable urban mobility. Our key messages include the need to support local strategies and to find consistent and long term financing for sustainable local transport systems. Much work is needed in order to achieve the ambitious objective of GHG emissions by at least 60% by 2050 in the transport sector.
Climate Alliance’s Statement on the Future of the Intelligent Energy Europe programme
The current IEE programme considers local authorities as an important target group in the field of sustainable energy and climate change mitigation. It finances the Covenant of Mayors initiative, the most successful European initiative related to sustainable energy. The Covenant of Mayors currently brings together more than 4,000 local authorities, with 166 million European citizens, committed to reducing their CO2 emissions at least by 20% by 2020. Climate Alliance in its amendment proposals, sent to the members of the European Parliament in June, highlighted the need of introducing explicitly the key elements of the IEE Programme within the Horizon 2020. As a response to the consultation on the future of the Intelligent Energy Europe programme, Climate Alliance highlighted that the programme should have a clear focus on local and regional energy action. Local and regional authorities can apply an integrated approach providing multiple benefits for energy policy but also social inclusion and green growth.
- Statement (542 KB)
Climate Alliance's Statement on the EU Adaptation Strategy
The European Adaptation Strategy is set to respond to the impacts of climate change in the EU, its Member States and regions, down to the local level. Climate Alliance wants to highlight that the adaptation to climate change should be perceived as an important part of climate policy and that it should be integrated from EU wide regulatory procedures down to local planning. Even if adaptation is largely a local issue, the European level has a great potential in pushing forward the adaptation agenda through awareness raising, integrating climate issues in the existing and new policy initiatives and in supporting future research and concrete projects in this field.
- Climate Alliance's statement supporting the on-line consultation on the EU Adaptation Strategy (620 KB)
Amendment proposals on the European Commission proposal establishing Horizon 2020 - The Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020)
On 15 June 2012 Climate Alliance sent amendment proposals to the members of the European Parliament, highlighting the need of introducing explicitly the key elements of the IEE Programme within the Horizon 2020 Framework programme. A separate sub-programme with its own identity (similar to the IEE programme) with a focus on sustainable energy policy, capacity building and mobilizing financing, should be included in the Horizon 2020 (under chapter 3: Secure, clean and efficient energy).
- Amendment proposals (385 KB)
Financial Support for Energy Efficiency in Buildings
The current economic situation in Europe creates concerns and barriers for local sustainable energy action. More attention needs to be placed on introducing innovative financing models, and redefining and improving existing funding schemes. Also more incentives are needed to stimulate private investments. The European Commission consultation on "Financial Support for Energy Efficiency in Buildings" collected views on how to improve the current financial schemes targeting energy efficiency.
- Climate Alliance response to consultation “Financial Support for Energy Efficiency in Buildings” (431 KB)
- Further information about the consultation
Renewable Energy Strategy (post-2020)
As recently pointed out in the Commission's Energy Roadmap 2050, renewable energy sources will play a major part in Europe's long-term decarbonisation efforts. While the Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/EC sets a clear framework for further growth in renewable energy until 2020, the debate about how our policy should develop beyond the 2020 horizon needs to start now. The European Commission is currently preparing a strategy document that will look at the policy framework for renewable energy in a post-2020 perspective, to be published in the second quarter of this year. In order to prepare the strategy the Commission has conducted a stakeholder consultation (closed 7 February 2012).
- Climate Alliance response to the consultation on the renewable energy strategy (300 KB)
Energy Efficiency Directive
The draft Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) is an attempt to set Europe in the course of achieving its 20% energy efficiency target by 2020. According to the European Commission Impact Assessment only 9% of energy savings will be achieved by 2016 – leaving a considerable reduction gap. If Europe is to meet its 20% energy efficiency target, a much more ambitious directive must be adopted
Smart Cities and Communities Initiative
The Smart Cities and Communities Initiative aiming for energy efficiency and for accelerating the large scale deployment of innovative low carbon technologies will be launched in 2011. In order to receive feedback and additional ideas on this proposal, the European Commission organised a public consultation in the preparation stage of the initiative.
The Climate Alliance members’ debate on the Smart Cities and Communities initiative during the annual event of the network forms the response to the consultation.
- Outcomes of the Smart Cities debate (90 KB)
- Information on the Smart Cities and Communities initiative
Energy roadmap 2050
Energy Roadmap 2050 will follow the Roadmap for a Low-Carbon Economy by 2050 presenting different pathways on how to reach the ambitious CO2 reduction objective in the energy sector. It will address the EU energy policy objectives – sustainability, energy security and competitiveness, and focus on how energy security and competitiveness can be improved throughout the transition to a low-carbon energy system. Climate Alliance response highlighted the need for a coherent step by step approach, better involvement of local level and ambitious work in energy efficiency and renewable energy.
- Climate Alliance response to the Energy Roadmap 2050 questionnaire (85 KB)
- Background information on Energy Roadmap 2050
Roadmap for a low carbon economy by 2050
Achieving a very ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction target – up to 95% less of CO2 - requires a new strategy in Europe, which will be developed in the form of a roadmap. Climate Alliance contributed to the first step developments of this roadmap by responding to the European Commission's consultation on the subject. Key topics of our response are the prioritisation of decentralised energy supply based on renewable energy and a reinforcement of the local level in the design of energy policies in Europe.
- Low carbon economy 2050 - Climate Alliance's response (90 KB)
- EU's Roadmap for a low carbon economy by 2050
Energy 2020. A strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy
The energy priorities for the next ten years and the actions to be taken are defined in the communication "Energy 2020" of the European Commission. Climate Alliance contributed to the development of the strategy by responding to the public consultation of the European Commission's stock taking document "Towards a new Energy Strategy for Europe 2011-2020". The five top priorities of the new strategy are saving energy, achieving a market with competitive prizes and secure supplies, boosting technological leadership, and effectively negotiate with international partners. The strategy establishes a basis for concrete legislative initiatives and proposals of the Commission and also sets the agenda for the prospective discussion by Heads of States and Governments.
- EU stock taking document "Towards a new Energy Strategy for Europe 2011-2020" (80 KB)
- Climate Alliance's response to the EU's stock taking document (90 KB)
- Resolution of Climate Alliance for a turning point in power generation: decentralised renewable energies instead of nuclear power, 5th of May 2011
The Climate Alliance resolution takes a strong view on the need to phase-out nuclear energy and to create a more efficient and decentralised energy supply system based on renewable energy.
- Resolution regarding the allocation of remaining funds in the European Economic Recovery Plan to cities, 15th of April 2010 (50 KB)
Climate Alliance urges the European Commission to allocate the unspent funds from the European Economic Recovery Plan to actions of cities on energy efficiency and renewable energy sources and stimulation of "new" climate friendly economies.
Public procurement is an important strategic domain for climate protection. Responsibly designed public procurement can significantly contribute to a sustainable development. For this reason Climate Alliance advices cities and communities to include ecological, social and ethic concerns in their procurement decisions.
Working towards a 100% renewable energy goal
Climate Alliance organised a joint event with EUBIA at the European Sustainable Energy Week 2010 on 24th of March. More information and a summary of the event can be found here.
Climate Alliance also supports the RE-thinking 2050 - Initiative (EREC): A 100% Renewable Energy Vision for the European Union.