Engaging citizens and local entities – the “Porto Energy Hub” one-stop-shop

AdEPorto’s bold renovation programme has seen the creation of one-stop-shops. These offices adopt innovative financing schemes with the goal of renovating 3000 homes and encouraging citizens to engage in energy efficiency and the production of renewable energy.

Engaging citizens and local entities – the “Porto Energy Hub” one-stop-shop

Promoting energy efficiency in buildings and the production of renewable energy is key for both energy poverty alleviation and achieving carbon neutrality at the local level.

AdEPorto (Porto Energy Agency) coordinates the Porto Energy ElevatoR (PEER) project that aims to support public and private entities to develop a bold renovation programme, mainstreaming new financial schemes in the Porto Metropolitan Area north of Portugal’s Douro river.

The project focuses on existing family buildings, in particular social and low-income housing, both public and privately owned. Its principal goal is, by the end of the project, to have 3000 refurbished dwellings and 12MW of PV installed capacity. PEER must also mobilize an investment of €27.2M in the renovation of energy-efficient housing and renewable energy in the region. The achievement of these objectives is well underway and has already benefitted from the close collaboration maintained between municipalities and housing entities. The collaboration will ultimately allow for the continuous improvement of the energy performance and living conditions of around 25,700 vulnerable households in the municipality.

One of the most visible outputs of the project is the creation of a one-stop-shop (OSS). The OSS fosters private investment and helps citizens to engage in energy efficiency and renewable energy production, as well as to gather the tools required to guide citizens throughout the whole renovation process.

In this context, several financial incentives for citizens were developed to be implemented by municipalities, including the reduction of property taxes and framework agreements, which were designed to promote the private implementation of renewable energy production. This advice point, designated as Porto Energy Hub, is already available both online (through the project website (www.portoenergyhub.pt) and in physical modes, to ensure the service is available for all.

The first physical space was inaugurated on the 16th of September, in the municipality of Porto. By the end of 2022, two other physical OSS will be implemented in two other municipalities of the region. From providing information on technical issues to funding options, the Porto Energy Hub team has supported citizens and municipalities to improve their energy efficiency, and promoted the implementation of renewable production circumstances. The work developed within the scope of the Porto Energy Hub has also been key in raising the standards of energy performance in the ongoing renovation of the region’s social housing building stock, as well as promoting awareness of municipal technical employees and decision-makers regarding the need to foster renewable energy communities that include vulnerable settings.

This article is a preview of FEDARENE’s forthcoming “Sustainable Regions in Action 2023” brochure. As part of the recently-launched “Winter measures for now & 2050” campaign, FEDARENE is sharing select articles to help promote innovative actions helping to deliver the REPowerEU plan.