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With a little help from Regions 202020… fulfilling the EU’s sustainable energy policy goals

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The objective of the ENNEREG project was How can regions contribute to fulfilling the EU’s sustainable energy policy goals? The project, supported by the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme, ran for 3 years from 1st May 2010.

ENNEREG developed and implemented regional Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPs) to steer the sustainable energy process in the following regions: Upper Palatinate, Germany; Cyclades, Greece; Triangle, Denmark; Basque, Spain; Madeira, Portugal; Silistra, Bulgaria; Kaunas, Lithuania; Blekinge, Sweden; Rhône Alpes, France; Wales, UK; Pomerania and Wielkopolska, Poland.

The network oriented approach engaged the regions’ key stakeholders. The process can only succeed if a broad level of stakeholders from both the public and private sector get involved, creating long term momentum.

While some partner regions had more mature starting points and were able to progress further, all regions took essential steps to create a sustainable energy region. The successes, strengths and weaknesses have been evaluated for the benefit of other regions so they can also make a start and progress along the path towards becoming sustainable energy regions.

The work on regional SEAPs was accompanied by the promotion of specific sustainable energy actions. The project team succeeded in triggering almost 300 Sustainable Energy Projects (SEPs) - double the original target. These SEPs correspond to total investments of around €250 000 million within the project period and are estimated to reach €1 billion by 2020. The total energy savings, until 2020 are estimated to be around 200,000 toe. Renewable energy production 1.6 million toe and reductions of CO2 emissions more than 2 million toe.

An interesting aspect of the project has been how the regional partners have supported the SEPs in their regions in order to reach these achievements, e.g. through capacity building, awareness raising, direct support such as assistance with feasibility studies or other types of intervention that have helped the SEPs to develop.

In addition ENNEREG has fulfilled a successful twinning and replication programme. A core activity has been twinning with regions outside the consortium for direct interaction on SEAP development and initiation of SEPs in the twin regions. On both sides, ENNEREG regions and their twins evaluated the twinning experience as useful and 2/3 of the partnerships are expected to continue cooperation after the ENNEREG project has ended.

The Regions 202020 platform facilitates interaction between European regions and communities on SEAP actions. The website contains useful information from both ENNEREG and parallel projects.

Due to the wide variation in regional characteristics there is no uniform approach on how to design a SEAP and SEP implementation process. ENNEREG’s Inspiration Guide, builds on the examples and learning of partner regions and helps regions identify how they can take the appropriate steps towards elaborating and implementing SEAPs.