Climate adaptation and the role of energy agencies

Energy agencies across Europe are turning their heads towards climate adaptation. To that end, the Transform4Climate project helps energy agencies transform into energy and climate agencies.

Climate adaptation and the role of energy agencies

The state of the climate crisis demands that energy agencies work not only to mitigate its causes, but also to adapt to its effects. Climate adaptation means taking action to reduce the burden of climate change effects, both present and prospective. These actions can consist of environmental, sociological, or economic adaptations. These take place on all levels.

We might think that climate adaptation refers to major efforts of construction, like flood walls to ward off rising seas. But, just as climate change permeates life at all levels, so too must its adaptation. Cities and regions particularly vulnerable to climate change must also work particularly hard to adjust. 

The Transform4Climate project

In the Transform4Climate project, the Cyprus Energy Agency (CEA) joined forces with the North-West Croatia Regional Energy Agency (REGEA), and IRE Liguria to develop and implement a systemic process to transform Energy Agencies into Energy and Climate Agencies.

Through the project, the consortium conducted internal capacity gap assessments to identify what skills and expertise their agencies needed in order to mainstream climate change adaptation into their work. As part of this collective effort, each agency conducted a questionnaire among its staff to identify the desired future areas of expertise that each department would like to develop over the next years. The climate change adaptation areas that the different agencies identified and aims to develop their expertise in (and thereby offer relevant services in the future) are the following:

  • Climate Risk and Vulnerability Assessment, including the use of relevant modelling and assessment tools such as GIS modelling;
  • Adaptation Planning and Pathways: the design and modelling of long-term adaptation pathways and strategies for local authorities and other organisations;
  • Modelling of net-zero pathways: augmentation of the Agency’s modelling capabilities in order to lay out net-zero pathways for local authorities.
  • Design and technical support in urban regeneration and climate resilience of urban centres, cores, and neighbourhoods. This includes the design of nature-based solutions, greening of urban areas including green roofs and green buildings; the use of climate-friendly material for the urban fabric in order to minimise the urban heat island (UHI) effect and other climate risks such as flooding.
  • Modelling of sustainable mobility projects, including in the design of active transportation methods such as cycle pathways and walkways.

Also as part of the Transform4climate project, a survey was administered to energy agencies across Europe (with the help of FEDARENE) in order to collect information on their 1) current Governance aspects, processes, and systems; 2) existing Skills and capabilities; 3) Barriers and needs for mainstreaming climate change adaptation; 4) future market and business opportunities in climate change adaptation. Headline findings include:

  • Most of the agencies (around 63%) are planning to offer services on climate change adaptation. However, most agencies stated that they need external expertise in order to be able to offer services on adaptation, especially related to modelling climate impacts, tools, and methods to assess the present and future climate conditions, mapping city vulnerabilities, and identifying assets at risk.
  • The main barriers reported by the energy agencies to providing climate change adaptation services included “Limited funding”, “Lack of experience”, “Low political commitment”, lack of available training and workshops on climate change adaptation, lack of staff, poor coordination of initiatives and experts/stakeholders, and the regulatory framework.

Climate adaptation on islands

Islands, being particularly vulnerable to the threat of climate change, must also work particularly hard to adapt to its consequences. That is why FEDARENE will soon publish an in-depth article on the Cyprus Energy Agency‘s specific work to ramp up adaptation on the island of Cyprus. Stay tuned!

Go deeper

Climate adaptation is a crucial aspect of the green transition. Check out FEDARENE’s Climate Adaptation Working Group to find out more about our work on this important topic. Find all our work on islands specifically, via the Islands & Rural Communities Working Group.

On Tuesday, the 29th of September, FEDARENE was recognised as a Friend of the EU Mission on Adaptation to Climate Change.