Advanced learning programme catalyses energy transition in municipalities

An EU-funded initiative launched a peer-to-peer learning programme to facilitate the exchange of methods for the collection, monitoring and dissemination of climate and energy data at local and regional levels.

Advanced learning programme catalyses energy transition in municipalities

When it comes to planning and funding sustainable energy solutions, public authorities often face a range of challenges due to differing knowledge levels and skills. This was highlighted in a 2017 study by the European Covenant of Mayors, which revealed that local and regional authorities need support with data collection, monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) for their climate and energy plans.

Echoing these findings, the EU-funded ENERGee Watch project also found that local authorities were particularly vocal about their need for effective energy data collection methods, while energy agencies and regional authorities expressed a strong need for indicators and strategies to adapt to climate change.

These needs stem from a disconnect between national- and city-level policies. “Practices for monitoring and verification are often formed on a national scale, leaving cities struggling to set up proper systems to accurately track the impacts of their actions,” notes project coordinator Mara Oprea.

A dive into the innovative learning programme

Addressing these challenges, ENERGee Watch launched a peer-to-peer learning programme aiming to empower regional and local authorities as well as energy agencies to accurately define, monitor and verify their sustainable actions. ENERGee Watch’s efforts were directed towards these as they are responsible for collecting and overseeing the monitoring of mitigation and adaptation measure indicators. The project also sought to boost collaboration and engagement among these entities.

This comprehensive learning programme for regional authorities offered courses on data collection, MRV, climate change adaptation strategies and indicators, as well as data display, dissemination and validation. Throughout the project course, three learning cycles were held, totalling 88 participants. This included 70 mentees from 60 regional European organisations, along with 18 observers. Each participant pledged to disseminate their knowledge with at least five peers within their organisations.

The 70 trained experts influenced around 630 sustainable policies and strategic documents. Furthermore, an observatory platform for greenhouse gas emissions was developed, six energy observatories were expanded, and prospects for five new energy agencies emerged. To further support learning, a public e-learning platform and a repository of 55 best practices were released.

Boosting knowledge exchange and energy savings

The ENERGee Watch learning programme facilitated a knowledge exchange between mentors and mentees, enabling them to review their region’s data sharing procedures and identify key energy data providers. This peer-to-peer approach enabled mentors and mentees, belonging to the same societal group, to learn from each other’s challenges and share gained knowledge across Europe. “Mentors provided continuous support to mentees, following up regularly on their progress and offering advice on new issues. Mentees were encouraged to share crash courses on the four MRV topics, made available through the e-learning platform, thereby promoting the replication of the gained knowledge,” outlines Oprea.

Alongside the learning programme activities, ENERGee Watch outcomes should significantly contribute to shaping and further advancing materials and guidelines supporting European Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans.

The project impact was strengthened by the accumulation of salient, legitimate and credible MRV knowledge, collected through multiple rounds of exchange and feedback with experts and participants in the programme. This valuable knowledge can be used by policymakers to make more informed decisions regarding energy and climate actions.

Source: Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS)