Local authorities play a key role in the energy transition and the fight against climate change, especially in the «post-covid» era. Because of their local nature and potential added value for all stakeholders in a territory, energy projects can no longer be dissociated from the policies of local authorities.
From 2012 to 2017, Wallonia has supported the commitment of municipalities to the Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy – Europe through the Climate and Energy Policy Programme (POLLEC). In 2017, it officially formalised this supporting role by committing itself as regional coordinator of the Covenant initiative. This role implies a number of missions including financial support to the municipalities but also the development and implementation of their Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans (SECAPs).
Municipalities that commit to the Covenant of Mayors must submit the SECAP within 2 years of signing the convention. To date, 201 Walloon municipalities have signed it and 171 have submitted their SECAP. 11 supramunicipal (provinces, conferences of elected representatives, etc.) coordinators have also committed themselves by setting up a support service for the communes in the elaboration and implementation of the SECAPs.
A survey carried out in March 2020 pointed out 3 priority needs for the implementation and management of SECAPs: 1. Financial support for the implementation of the SECAP; 2. Commitment of a SECAP coordinator; 3. Articulation between the SECAP and the other municipal plans. To meet these needs, the Walloon Region launched 2 calls for municipalities in 2020 and 2021 to hire a coordinator for their Energy and Climate Action Plans and to make investments for these plans. These steps must be part of a short, medium and long-term working perspective, as achieving the climate objectives requires an ambitious approach, which should be translated into concrete projects as quickly as possible. Those calls are addressed to Walloon municipalities as well as supra-municipal structures who already offer or are going to offer a support service.
For the human resources component, the regional subsidy varies between €22,400 and €134,400 depending on the number of inhabitants and whether the applicant is a municipality or a supramunicipal structure.
In the 2020 call, investment support varies between €50,000 and €200,000 according to the same criteria and covers 75% of the total eligible costs. This support starts at the beginning of 2021 while in the 2021 call, investment support varies between €40,000 and €800,000, covers 80% of the total eligible costs and does not depend on the size of the municipality. This support starts at the beginning of 2022.
This best practice is issued from our publication Sustainable Regions in Action 2022. Read it now to discover many more best practices from FEDARENE members as well as an overview of our activities.