Towards a sustainable energy future for Europe’s cities
A pilot project involving eight partner cities from across Europe brought together local people and organisations to create a vision for more sustainable energy use. The goal was to develop ‘roadmaps’ for each city which would indicate how energy could be produced and used more efficiently in the year 2050.
" Milton Keynes is a leading Smart City and we were proud to be part of Imagine. It has shown that solutions can be achieved by working in partnership with our European colleagues and sharing best practice with other cities. It has played a key part in our fight against climate change locally, helped spread ideas in our City Council, and made a difference to the everyday lives of our citizens. "
Imagine Low Energy Cities involved eight European local authorities from Bistrita, Romania; Dobrich, Bulgaria; Figueres, Spain; Lille, France; Milton Keynes, UK; Munich, Germany; Modena, Italy; and Odense in Denmark.
Community involvement in drafting the energy roadmaps was a key project objective. In total, the roadmaps will affect the lives of about 2 450 000 residents across all eight cities, so their active involvement was particularly important to the process.
Putting sustainability in the spotlight
A tool was developed to help the cities assess their energy policies and how to become more sustainable. Preparation of the roadmaps generated significant impacts, with cities updating their local sustainable energy action plans as a result of the work carried out. Imagine has also helped to improve communication and collaboration on energy issues among different municipal departments.
There is evidence that the project is beginning to have an influence beyond the city boundaries – for example, in Odense discussions are taking place to establish a sustainable energy plan for the entire island of Funen.
Cities driving the energy transition
Dobrich based its roadmap on the structure of the local Sustainable Energy Action Plan giving a long-term perspective to an existing document, while Figueres has become one of the first Spanish cities to include energy issues in its urban planning documents. In Lille local forums called ‘Climate Estaminets’ were organised in two neighbourhoods, and in Modena awareness-raising activities to engage citizens and stakeholders were conducted.
The city of Milton Keynes focused on getting citizens involved in the process and made improvements to its Low Carbon Living Programme, while in Munich work was based on targets laid down by the 2 000 Watt Society, which envisions people in the developed world using no more than that amount of energy every day.
Total investment and EU funding
Total investment for the project “Imagine” is EUR 1 357 039, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 1 026 576 from the Operational Programme “INTERREG IVC” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.