FosterREG presented its final results at the International Conference “Smart Energy Solutions for Sustainable Development” during Zagreb Energy Week. In Croatia alone more than 130 public servants attended national workshops to explore solutions for improved governance for energy efficiency, and a further 170 took part in capacity building workshops. In total the project organised over 30 such events across Croatia, Spain and the Netherlands. The FosterREG conference was streamed live over the BUILD UP portal as well as the project’s own website and recordings are available via those same links.
The conference heard how the European Commission EASME is supporting energy efficient urban regeneration through the Horizon 2020 programme. In addition, the European Commission's Directorate-General for Regional Policy supports the EU Urban Agenda which is soon starting work on a partnership for energy and climate. Added to these efforts, the Energy Cities network of around 1000 towns and cities across 30 countries is also working for a sustainable energy future.
Some experiences from the Netherlands and Spain
FosterREG's Dutch partners the City of Utrecht and the TNO research institute reported success in their efforts to plan for a radical energy transition in the Netherlands via the national “Green Deal” initiative. Utrecht has committed to the development of gas free districts as part of a radical new plan called "Utrecht Fossil Free" to phase out fossil gas heating entirely and become carbon neutral by 2030. Workshops held as part of FosterREG were instrumental in the decision-making process in the city. Utrecht city council reported an estimated investment of 8 billion EUR to achieve this goal. Through FosterREG, Utrecht has been able to exchange more effectively with other Dutch public authorities, both to the national government and to peers in other municipalities.
FosterREG's Spanish partners Visesa explained how, using improved coordination through FosterREG, energy efficiency was worked into an urban renewal site in Bilbao that had started as a more modest plan to improve public accessibility.
Other H2020 funded projects contributing to urban sustainability
Also presenting alongside FosterREG were Horizon 2020 projects SIMPLA and EMPOWERING. The SIMPLA project presented its work to integrate Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs) and Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPs). SIMPLA has found that SUMPS and SEAPs are too often drawn up in isolation from each other. It is developing an online observatory to help remedy this situation. The EMPOWERING project presented its efforts to build capacity in the drawing up of SECAPs (Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans) among regional authorities. Based on a questionnaire sent out to its regional partners it has identified precisely which areas of SECAP require capacity building in each separate region.
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Video of FosterREG's capacity building activities