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Regional and local public authorities cooperating in sustainable energy planning through effective multi-level governance models (COOPENERGY)

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The goal of COOPENERGY is to foster the development of collaboration models in sustainable energy planning between the regional and local public authorities to lead the transition towards low carbon communities and regions. This project is mobilizing eight regional public authorities to work hand in hand with the local authorities and demonstrate their collaboration by developing Multi-Level Governance (MLG) models that support the creation of mutually beneficial Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAP).Sixty good practice MLG models in sustainable energy planning have been identified through a European survey. Those good practices, together with technical workshops organised during the project aimed at strengthening the capacity of public authorities, supported the partners in the development of robust MLG models for the review or development of their sustainable energy plans.Learning from COOPENERGY was shared through bilateral exchanges with regions outside the project area and through an interactive cooperation platform widely promoted. As a result, eleven beneficiary regions collaborated with project partners to implement collaborative models at regional level in sustainable energy planning. The project created three new Covenant of Mayors (CoM) coordinating structures and encouraged the sign up of local authorities to the CoM.


  • Identify and promote sixty (60) best transferable models of effective collaboration in sustainable energy planning between local and regional public authorities and facilitate their cooperation establishing multi-level governance models in sustainable energy planning.
  • Demonstrate joint actions in the partner regions involving both the regional and local authorities and providing support for the successful implementation and revision of SEAPS.
  • Support knowledge transfer and replication of effective collaboration models to other European regions. Eleven (11) Beneficiary Regions participating in bi-lateral transfer activities and committing to implement collaborative models. Three (3) CoM territorial coordinators.
  • Promote European policies and the use of European instruments and programs (e.g. ELENA, EEEF) and their integration in SEAPs.

Lessons learned

  • Clearly defined roles and responsibilities for each stakeholder is key to effective multi-level governance collaboration and accountability.
  • Trust between stakeholders is key for success of any collaboration: it is important not to create unrealistic expectations about what the MLG model can deliver.
  • Try to include or at least communicate regularly and transparently with all types of stakeholders (citizens, energy utilities, businesses) for more acceptance, appropriation and long-term commitment (a ‘culture’ of energy awareness) from all parties.
  • MLG can be a very effective way of implementing sustainable energy planning, but only if the parties have enough resources to build trust and to actively working including follow up /monitoring.
  • Traditional forms of collaboration (face-to-face meetings and email) were the most effective methods for encouraging regional partners to work together in a truly collaboratively way.
  • The Covenant of Mayors is an effective framework in breaking down political boundaries for energy-climate action, considering that municipalities, provinces and regions involved often have different political allegiances. Proof of this success is the fact that SEAPs are picked up by successive municipal administrations coming from different political parties.
  • Multi-level Governance should be presented as a win-win situation since pooling resources together and applying together for funds enables savings in the budget and time.

Partners and coordinator

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Regional Council Rhone-Alpes
Contact point: 
0033(4) 26 73 49 51


In brief

01/04/2013 to 31/03/2016
Contract number: 

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