One of Europe’s largest sustainable energy workforce meets in Kilkenny

More than 100 participants gathered in Kilkenny over 12-14 June 2023 to celebrate our 2023 General Assembly as well as South East Energy Agency’s 21st anniversary.

One of Europe’s largest sustainable energy workforce meets in Kilkenny

FEDARENE’s annual meeting took place from the 12th to the 14th of June 2023 in Kilkenny, Ireland. Our host, the South East Energy Agency, was also celebrating its 21st anniversary. More than 100 people joined the events, including 60+ FEDARENE members (local and regional energy agencies, regions, regional and European networks), policy-makers from Ireland and Croatia, and colleagues from the ENERGee-Watch project who organised their final event on 14th June.

Advancing sustainable energy policies

On the 13th June morning, the Covenant of Mayors – Europe hosted a session entitled ‘Multi-level governance dialogue in times of crisis’. Panelists were Piergabriele Andreoli, Director of Modena Energy and Sustainable Development Agency and President of the Italian National Network on Local Energy Agencies (RENAEL); Sandra Benčić, Croatian Member of Parliament; John Carley, Chair of South-East Energy Agency and FEDARENE Vice-President for Circular Economy; Vlasta Krmelj, Mayor of Selnica ob Dravi, Director of Energy and Climate Agency of Podravje and FEDARENE Vice-President for Financing and Investments; Andrew McGuinness, Councillor at the Kilkenny County Council. The session also included a welcome speech from Kilkenny’s newly elected mayor Joe Malone. Our President Julije Domac – director of REGEA and Special Advisor on Energy and Climate of the Croatian President – moderated the panel discussion while our Secretary General and Tipperary Energy Agency’s Chair Seamus Hoyne drew out the conclusions of discussions.

All speakers acknowledged the need of local and regional energy agencies to contribute to the political agenda, especially now that energy and climate are at the centre of debates. Participants were therefore encouraged to keep pushing their local, regional and national representatives to do more and realise their vision of a decarbonised Europe.

Politicians look to energy agencies for policies that will not have negative effects down the line. So we need to listen to the energy agencies.

Cllr Andrew McGuinness

For more information on the Covenant of Mayors – Europe’s event, check out their press release.

A growing network

Later during the day, the FEDARENE General Assembly officially welcomed 6 new members within the network:

All of them are in charge of a broad portfolio of activities for their cities and regions, including climate adaptation, building renovation, financing, training and awareness raising, energy communities, green hydrogen, etc.

We are pleased to join the FEDARENE network and to be among peers who share our ambitions and challenges. We look forward to exchange with members and to cooperate through projects and other activities.

Claudia Carani, AESS
Picture by Vicky Comerford Kilkenny

Sharing best practices to achieve Climate Neutrality

The official General Assembly session was followed by an interactive workshop on climate neutrality narratives in the framework of the Energy Efficiency Watch 5 LIFE co-funded project. A narrative is a set of accepted benefits associated with the energy transition in a country or region leading to wider buy-in of policy makers and society groups, resulting in higher implementation levels. The narratives combine the aim of climate neutrality of the Green Deal with benefits such as innovation, new investments, job creation, energy security, air quality and better quality of life. During this workshop regions and energy agencies discussed the key components of enabling narratives and their necessity to set pathways towards climate neutrality.

Small group discussions about areas of interest (green hydrogen, large-scale financing, energy communities, etc.) were also initiated and continued on the next day during the ENERGee-Watch best practice roundtable.

For more information on the Covenant of Mayors – Europe’s event, check out their press release.

Reaching maturity

Christiane Egger, OÖ Energiesparverband’s deputy manager and FEDARENE’s Vice-President for Climate Neutrality, presented some insights from the ManagEnergy survey on local and regional energy agencies. With almost 4000 staff members across the EU, local and regional energy agencies are one of Europe’s biggest workforce dedicated to the Energy Transition. As highlighted by Christiane Egger, this gives weight to their claims and their actions.

In general, these 3 days allowed members and other partners to connect, share their ongoing and future projects, and ultimately reinforce cooperation within FEDARENE. Some organisations have been part of the network for many years and were able to advice our latest recruits in their new journey.

Our host the South East Energy Agency was celebrating their 21st anniversary on the 13th of June. Starting from scratch in 2002, they have now a dynamic team of +20 staff and work on numerous topics such as building renovation, energy audits and other support measures for public authorities, biomass, energy communities, or sustainable transport. In 2022, they rebranded as the South East Energy Agency, replacing the 3 Counties Energy Agency (3CEA) to mark Waterford joining the partnership alongside Kilkenny, Carlow, and Wexford. This change allows them to develop a truly regional approach for providing renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions to all sectors to make the Southeast Ireland a low carbon region.

FEDARENE was there to support us from the start. We wouldn’t have made it without them. Now, our organisation is celebrating 21 years and has therefore reached adulthood. We are grateful to be here and we look forward to the 21 following years together, now supporting ourselves the new energy agencies of the network

Paddy Phelan, South East Energy Agency’s CEO

Vicky Comerford Kilkenny

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