Adapting to climate change and sustainable energy planning in Alpine regions
Like most mountainous regions, the Italian Nord-Ovest Alpine region is highly sensitive to climate change. The EU-funded SEAP_Alps project developed plans for mountain communities, specifically in Alpine regions, to save energy and adapt to climate change, and disseminated them effectively among the municipalities in such regions.
" Not only does the project provide an innovative methodology that integrates mitigation and adaptation to climate change approaches, but it also allows us to identify opportunities to invest in energy refurbishments of public buildings using innovative public-private contractual forms. "
The sustainable energy action plans drawn up by the project specifically for Alpine regions were subsequently made available to interested stakeholders. A wide range of people were involved in developing the plans, including policymakers, technicians, environmental organisations, local economic players and local government.
Nine partners were involved in the project, with input from Italian, Slovenian, French, Austrian and German municipalities. Nearly 300 stakeholders played an active role, and the 80 events they organised were attended by 2200 people.
Municipalities were provided with a ‘catalogue of measures’ to help them to lead successful climate mitigation/adaptation strategies and to achieve energy-efficiency goals.
Training tool and platform
A key focus in the project was how best to integrate and disseminate different measures for mitigation and adaptation to a changing climate, and how to hit the required energy targets.
An online action tool was developed which provided the various municipalities with the necessary information and advice on what sustainable energy projects might be considered. The web tool also provided examples of how local municipalities could achieve their sustainable energy goals. It was trialled in 57 municipalities resulting in the creation of 46 sustainable energy action plans already, using the resources made available via the action tool.
Complementing this support was a training platform, an e-learning tool where users could find out more about the available methodologies, in five languages.
The online training platform also provided back-up for training workshops organised for representatives of the municipalities in the regions involved and other interested stakeholders.
Hitting new heights
A specific action plan was developed geared towards encouraging public-private investments, and was also tried out in 13 municipalities. This proved successful in raising awareness about using public-private partnerships as a means of funding energy-efficient solutions, especially those needed in public buildings.
Its deliverables have already been accessed by some 50 municipalities across Alpine regions.
Total investment and EU funding
Total investment for the project “SEAP_Alps” is EUR 2 216 840, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 1 684 794 through the Operational Programme “Alpine Space” for the 2007-2013 programming period. The investment falls under the priorities “Technical Assistance; Research and innovation; Better public administration; Low-carbon economy; Environment and resource efficiency”.