Partnerships for Energy Leadership Boost Energy Transition

Tartu, Estonia 29.01.2019: About 150 members of the Central and Eastern European Sustainable Energy Network met in Tartu, Estonia and build up on joint efforts.

University of Tartu and the Estonian University of Life Sciences in Estonia were the scene for the sustainable energy conference ‘Partnership for New Energy Leadership’ last week. The main focus was how the local communities in Central and Eastern Europe could push for energy-conscious low-carbon future. Together with speakers from the European Commission, the Covenant of Mayors, Estonian Government, as well as the individual regions, leaders, professionals and activists dedicated to energy transition were brought together.
The energy sector in CEE is developing rapidly, but while financial and institutional aspects are moving forward, social development is inadequate. While pressed with climate change threats and policy demands, CEE countries still have significant energy intensive economies to transform together with social challenges. Tackling energy poverty is one of the key actions to reach social sustainability grounds enabling more ambitious and technologically sound energy transition.

Shortcomings in favoring institutional sustainability over social sustainability was a subject of the conference speeches and discussions. Top-down planning and highly regulated administrative system reject citizen’s actions and non-formal activities. The latter were found crucial in strategic planning processes, which need to be opened more to stakeholders and require stronger bottom-up approach to actually meet the local needs. The model of the PANEL 2050 project was confirmed essential for these processes to succeed – local forerunners capacity building provision, finding and nurturing the startups of sustainability in every region, establishing a long-term vision and roadmap, all this shared by the community. Explicit guidelines for these are provided free online through – the Central and Eastern European Sustainable Energy Network website. The availability of technical and methodological support by the Covenant of Mayors was also confirmed for ambitious and sustainably dedicated cities.

Local stakeholders participating in the event were particularly concerned on how to secure funding for planned energy actions. Important guidance was received foreseeing upcoming Horizon 2020 funding and the future of the program – market uptake is planned to move under LIFE program with lower supporting rate. It is up to CEESEN members and other interested stakeholders to advocate for 100% support rate among European Parliament representatives.

Conference participants also discussed expanding the CEESEN network, digital solutions for promoting sustainable energy as well as smart cities planning.
Conference presentations and videos are available at https: