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Cities Exchanging on Local Energy Leadership (CASCADE)

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The goal of CASCADE is to design and deliver large-scale networking opportunities and mutual learning activities for local energy leadership. It involves 19 large EU cities and expert partners in 3 thematic areas: energy in transport; renewable energy and distributed generation; energy efficiency in buildings and districts. CASCADE’s aims are to: - Improve the implementation of sustainable energy action plans and other related local targets. - Optimise networking between cities to ensure meaningful and sustained communication and sharing of good practices. Promote the position of cities as transfer agents within their country to overcome the language barrier inherent to transnational exchange. CASCADE will improve the implementation of sustainable energy policies through 3 cascading levels of high quality networking and mutual learning activities including more cities as the project progresses: Year1: 6 peer learning programmes among 19 partner cities Year2: 21 EUnetworking activities -study tours,mentoring and shadowing visits among 38 cities(20 additional cities mainly from new member states) Year3: regional peer advice to 36 cities and 11 national technical seminars


  • Increased capacity,knowledge and skills of local authorities staff to design and implement municipal action plans/strategies for sustainable energy: -CASCADE will create a network of municipal experts on local energy policies in 11 member states -Up to 300 local authority staff and local stakeholders will be directly engaged in capacity-building activities -20 new cities,mainly from new member states,will be financially supported to participate in the networking and mutual learning activities
  • Delivery of tested formats for networking and mutual learning activities on local energy leadership: -Peer learning visits: in-depth assessment of sustainable energy projects in a transnational context. -Tailored advice by means of mentoring visits, shadowing visits and study tours.
  • Acceleration and improvement in the delivery of sustainable energy policies in medium/large EU cities: -Better understanding of key challenges in the implementation of energy policies in 3 areas:energy efficiency in buildings & districts,renewable energy and transport. -Delivery of proof points and validated solutions on CO2 reductions at local level. -Development of more innovative solutions that can support cities to reach their energy targets;especially their Covenant of Mayors commitments
  • Demonstrated local energy leadership at national,regional and European level: -Learning shared widely with local authorities at regional and national level through the organisation of 11 national technical seminars and at various dissemination events at European level. -Close cooperation with the Covenant of Mayors initiative to increase the number of signatories and support cities in delivering their commitments.

Lessons learned

  • The peer learning methodology has proved to be a very successful method for assessing sustainable energy policies in a transnational context. While it requires a lot of preparation (self assessment report, desk review…) and the visit itself is very intense with interviews, site visits and group discussions), it enables participants to critically review each other’s energy policies in a structured and focused way. Having a combination of both city experts and local stakeholders (researchers, energy utilities, transport operators...) has also enhanced the whole peer learning experience.
  • The evaluation of Year 1 activities (peer learning) has confirmed the existence of some limitations the project has in evaluating the impact of soft processes such as networking and mutual learning. While it is still too soon to identify concrete impacts, any future impact should be understood in its wider context, as just one factor influencing the implementation of local energy policies which in any case often leads to long term and indirect effects. These limitations will also affect the calculation of quantitative data such as the IEE common performance indicators at the end of the project.
  • The roll-out call for inviting 20 new cities to participate in the project’s activities in 2013 has been very successful. The call enabled cities that might have difficulties in engaging in EU projects to benefit from the projects’ networking and mutual learning activities. By involving national and regional associations of cities in the promotion of the call, the project has reached many cities in eastern Europe, which were the main target group.

Partners and coordinator

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Contact point: 
Ms Jorgina Cuixart


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In brief

01/06/2011 to 31/05/2014
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