Since the 1990s, EU institutions recognised the importance of sub-national levels in policy-making and funding programmes that enabled energy agencies, regions and cities to develop and implement energy policies, benefiting their economic development. Initiatives like the Covenant of Mayors – Europe and ManagEnergy consolidated the partnership between the European Commission and regions, stimulating a bottom-up flow of data and policy recommendations. The European Parliament and the Committee of the Regions have also played important roles in recognising the importance of sub-national entities in implementing the Paris Agreement.
We believe that the exchange of experience between regions reinforces European economic, social and environmental cohesion. In the field of energy especially, the role of sub-national levels is becoming progressively more important.
Regions and their Energy Agencies are uniquely positioned to lead the energy transition because of their close proximity to local communities, businesses, and policymakers, and the collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders. They inform policies, develop and implement programs for public authorities, including strategic planning at different levels. Complementing each other, they bring different perspectives and solutions together to deliver actions that have a greater impact. They lead by example and push their national counterparts to achieve more.
Regions have the authority to implement policies that support the energy transition, such as building codes, renewable energy targets, and energy efficiency programs. They can take a more holistic approach by considering the entire energy system, including energy production, distribution, and consumption. They can identify local energy resources, infrastructure, and demand, thus design tailored solutions to address specific needs.
Furthermore, regions are leaders of transborder and macro regional initiatives. Interregional cooperation enables knowledge transfer between local authorities and key technical assistance to smaller municipalities that may not have the capacity to develop or implement a climate and energy strategy.
Local and Regional Energy Agencies are independent organisations that possess a comprehensive range of techno-economic competencies, as well as a deep understanding of policy and extensive networks, making them well-equipped to drive and sustain change.
Energy agencies are market facilitators with public mandates providing technical assistance to municipalities, regions, companies and citizens, having the ability to connect stakeholders and governance levels as well as experience in structuring financing models with multiple funding streams.