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Conference #Stuttgart2017 : 2050 starts today !

By Miriam Eisermann on 11 mai 2017

This year, Energy Cities’ Annual Conference took place on 26, 27 and 28 April in the German city of Stuttgart. You turned out in large numbers : 230 energy transitioners (out of which 112 representatives of 61 member cities) enjoyed six speeches and debates in plenary sessions and 40 interactive sessions in small groups.

The 3D strategy, guiding theme of the conference

Among participants there was a consensus that there needed to be a focus in national and EU urban policies on Energy Cities’ 3D, « Democratisation », « Decentralisation » and « Divestment ». As of the first conference day, three experts Jeremy Draper of Milton Keynes, Jean-Jacques Marchais of Schneider Electric and Jan Rosenow of Regulatory Assistance Project asked and debated with participants how to turn those D concepts into long-lasting reality. During the conversation participative policies were as present as digital technologies and the innovative idea of "“divestment through energy efficiency first”.

In over 40 interactive sessions, the participants continued the discussion with best practices from cities, businesses, research and NGOs ! Mobility, cooperatives, smart meter data,... we had all the ingredients for lively debates and exchange of experiences. From Leicester (UK) to Nicosia (Cyprus), members and partners of Energy Cities test innovative solutions to bring societal change by changing the energy system !

A people-powered energy transition : how to mobilise citizens ?

A better, more participative governance is the major challenge for succeeding in the energy transition. The "What’s New" debate, moderated by Energy Cities director Claire Roumet, revealed weaknesses in the current political processes both at EU and national levels. Recommendations on how to structure the energy system in the most efficient and democratic way came from the four panellists : Antonella Battagnili (Renewable Grids Initiative), Ismael Daoud (Energiris), David Holyoake (Bankwatch Network) and Bruno Charles (Grand Lyon Métropole).

The team from Nantes Métropole (North-West of France) embarked the audience on a large-scale peer-to-peer discussion around its experiences with Nantes’ "Great Energy Transition Debate". Divided into smaller groups, participants looked into four questions regarding the mobilisation and capacity-building of citizens.

Stuttgart, birthplace of German climate policy and of the Energiewende

The Stuttgart 2017 conference was the ideal opportunity to have a critical look at the German Energiewende strategy. Rainer Baake, State Secretary at the German Ministry for Economy, witnessed of the progresses as well as the obstacles in implementing the German energy transition. Undoubtedly, the Germany serves as a model for other European countries.

State Secretary R. Baake presents the decarbonisation of energy production and the nuclear exit

Stuttgart being a pioneer in energy policy, participants were given the chance to have a hands-on "Energiewende" experience during break-out sessions in the city : a passive school building, the Stuttgart21 train station construction site as well as a sustainable carpentry company.

Mayors Session - political highlight

Elected people and mayors demosntrated their collective strength during the most political session of the 3-days conference. The political leaders talked about their local challenges and reaffirmed the crucial role of local authorities as intermediaries between citizens and national governments.

Take-away thoughts

And above all :

Let’s meet next year from 18-21 April 2018 in Rennes, in Brittany, the most Atlantic of France’s regions !

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