Cities on the frontline of the energy crisis - Conference 30th March 2023


More information and registration:
Registration closes 23 Mar, 23:50

The ongoing energy crisis, caused by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, directly hits cities, people and local business across Europe. The heaviest burden is falling on European households suffering from increased energy poverty, as well as on owners of small and medium enterprises, affected by inflation and skyrocketing energy prices, soaring since early 2021 and further aggravated by the war. However, out of economic necessity, the crisis is also having an impact on our lifestyle behaviours, shifting us away from over-consumption behaviours to steer individual and collective actions towards practices that also fight against climate change.

Yet again on the frontline of the energy crisis, local authorities have showed readiness to respond. On top of delivering ambitious local climate solutions, they put in place immediate low-cost actions to reduce energy demand in public facilities and increased the share of renewables while supporting the most vulnerable households and local business.

Some of these examples were reflected in the Cities Energy Saving Sprint, a joint campaign launched by the Covenant of Mayors Europe, the European Commission and the Committee of the Regions in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Addressing the common challenge, the campaign has had the double aim of encouraging local governments to immediately reduce energy consumption ahead of the winter season, while showing solidarity with Ukraine by cutting down Europe’s dependency on Russian gas, in line with the REPowerEU Plan's overarching objectives.

Efforts to fill up Europe’s gas storage reserves in 2022 have been largely successful. However, forecasts for upcoming winter seasons are unclear. Therefore, today’s emergency actions should be enshrined into social norms to redirect our crisis responses into permanent structural consumer behaviours. Municipalities each manage a large portfolio of building stock (both public and commercial), and have competences in urban planning, built infrastructure, public lighting and transport. Being the closest level of government to citizens, they are well placed to enable behavioural changes and to rationalise energy consumption such as for household financial savings, while reducing costs in their territories.

Drawing from examples of measures tackling the energy crisis while protecting residents in their territories, this high-level event will be an opportunity to showcase what the current local response to the energy crisis is. It will also be the chance to reflect on what support European institutions and national governments can give to further strengthen these efforts in the mid-term.

Local governments can expect to exchange with high-level representatives from European Institutions, - including Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans and EU Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson- the European Parliament and the Committee of the Regions. They will discuss how EU institutions and national authorities can further support local and regional efforts to reduce energy consumption and dependency on Russian gas in the years to come.

Final version of DECIDE position paper complete

We are thrilled to share with you the final version of the DECIDE position paperWidening the support for participation of EU citizens in community and collective energy actions”. The document focuses on the concept of collective energy action, existence of collective energy actions on the ground and lack of acknowledgement and research and other support for such initiatives in the process of local stakeholder involvement in the European energy transition.

This paper is the result of 2 years of work, action and research carried out with 40+ on the ground initiatives across Europe within DECIDE project. The results of this work show that while energy communities (defined as Renewable Energy Communities and Citizen Energy Communities) have their space in the energy transition, the view on collective and community involvement needs to be wider to include most on the ground initiatives and account for their efforts and impact in the ongoing energy transition. Please read the position paper to see in more details.

The position paper is a call to discussion for more broader policy, research support and action on the European level. Please feel free to react to our position paper and let us know your feedback -

DECIDE is a Horizon 2020 project that aims to gain a better understanding of how energy communities and energy efficiency services are established and managed. It also intends to identify which kind of communications and interactions work best to encourage participation in energy communities for specific types of individuals and groups, and to test and transfer knowledge in pilot projects across Europe.

The project focusses on three levels of Energy Communities:

  • those existing at the start of the project and included in the work plan as such,
  • those that will be initiated throughout the project, and
  • those not directly partnering in the project but benefiting from the exchange and expertise of DECIDE.

Go and check also DECIDE project website and you will find...

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