“Local and regional levels are crucial to overcome the challenges posted by climate change and to achieve the energy transition. They are on the front line, facing the worst consequences of the climate crisis”, underlined Congress Spokesperson on Climate Change and the Environment Vladimir Prebilič (Slovenia, SOC/G/PD), speaking at the opening of the Conference on “Innovative Financing of Energy Efficiency Projects” on 13 May 2021.
Organised by the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece (KEDE), this event brought together international institutions, energy agencies and Greek Ministers and Mayors. At the core of the exchanges was the question of how to finance local energy transition projects and overcome the obstacles local authorities face on their way towards energy efficiency. National and European policies on energy efficiency, different financing instruments for local authorities and the Council of Europe Development Bank's cooperation with local and regional authorities were also on the agenda.
“National and international climate plans can only be successful if cities and regions are included in all stages of the energy transition – from planning to implementation”, stressed the Congress Spokesperson, pointing out that sustainable societies are one of the Congress' priorities for the period 2021-2026, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. “It is also crucial to include citizens, who should be at the heart of local energy plans”, said Vladimir Prebilič.
He also noted that digitalisation, modernisation of public transport as well as financial support for small and medium-sized enterprises which are implementing energy efficiency strategies could all be paths to a more sustainable future.
The Conference provided the opportunity to be informed on the best practices developed within the framework of PRODESA Project – Energy Efficiency Project Development for South Attica on innovative financing and the way Energy Efficiency Contracts can be used as an effective tool by municipalities on the way to an inclusive and sustainable Local Energy Plan as part of the adjustment to Climate Change.