2016 EU Sustainable Energy Week: Energy Cities' events as if you were there!
By on 30 June 2016
Energy Cities organised several events in the framework of the EU Sustainable Energy Week (13-17 June) and participated in a few others. Floriane - our communication officer - was there and takes stock of the event.
Empowering Europe - The role of energy citizens, local communities and innovative financing
Organised by REScoop, WISE Power, GreenPeace, Energy Cities, Crowdfundres, citizenergy, PV Financing, Community Power, CITYNVEST, Cooperatives Europe, Climate Alliance, ICLEI, Housing Europe.
First conference of the day. After the usual security checking and a cup of coffee, I find my way to the room of the first conference I’m attending: "Empowering Europe: The role of energy citizens, local communities and innovative financing". Energy Cities is a co-organiser of this one.
The room is not very suitable for that kind of event, but at least my occasional neighbour is friendly. Notepad, laptop... Ready! The first part of the conference is a succession of political statements, some of them more lively than others (MEP Claude Turmes is always a blast to listen to). I learn that there are 2,800 energy cooperatives in Europe, among which 772 are in Germany and 500 in the Netherlands, a country where there were only 19 back in 2008.
Focus on the EU RES Directive. Although “The opportunity for RES to be developed in that space is too important to be wasted” according to Marie Donnelly (DG ENERGY), for MEP Turmes the question is: "How can we develop a small investors-friendly framework in the RES directive?" in a highly variable market still dominated by big traditionnal energy companies.
The case studies coming after are evidence that energy cooperatives work. Dirk Vansintjan (EcoPower) insists on citizens’ creativity "to adapt to changing policies and not to depend on support mechanisms". Thomas Maidonis (WIP Renewable Energies) confirms that such locally-rooted initiatives are flourishing: crowdfunfing platforms are currently developing at a pace of +50% each year. Yey! The conference wraps up on this positive note.
Energy Union: What local leadership can tell us about energy transition
Organised by Energy Cities, ICLEI Europe, Eurocities, Climate Alliance and CEMR.
Coffee break. I like this buzzing atmosphere that you find at the EUSEW. Everyone has someone to talk to, something to read, or at least a nice cup of coffe and a piece of cake to hang on to.
And it is already time to pick a seat for the next conference we co-organised: "Energy Union: What local leadership can tell us about energy transition". Ronan Dantec (a senator from the French Loire-Atlantique Region) insists on the urgency to respond to the fast re-organisation of the energy system. He says local authorities are still not involved in the EU policy making process despite the highly important part they play in the energy transition. Couldn’t agree more.
Mayor of the Dutch city of Delft Stefan Brandligt (who is an Energy Cities’ Board member) says energy transition is about social affairs too (social innovation, economics, jobs…) and calls for "more power to be transferred to local governments to make decisions for the energy transition". #DEVOLUTION!
The energy transition now needs to jump from a niche to mainstream. Redirecting financial flows and strengthening international solidarity are key.
Seems interesting? We hope to see you there next year!