New European targets : for a clear positioning of the Covenant of Mayors

New European targets : for a clear positioning of the Covenant of Mayors
Published by Frédéric Praillet on 15.01.2015

While 22 Walloon municipalities have already joined the Covenant of Mayors and developed their Sustainable Energy Action Plan to reduce their CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020, many are currently working on it. We might mention the initiatives of the Positive Energy Territories such as the group of 16 municipalities in the province of Luxembourg accompanied in their approach by the provincial technical service through the PEPS-Lux dynamic frame or the group of 10 municipalities of the Picardy Wallonia accompanied by their economic development agency, IDETA.

2020 is tomorrow!

As the deadline 2020 fast approaching, many of these towns about to commit wonder if the goal of reducing emissions of their territory by 20% in 5 years is realistic.

Indeed, besides the actions for their heritage, their action plans are primarily focused on the mobilization of stakeholders (farmers, citizens, companies, associations, etc.) to develop energy saving and renewable energy projects.

When some of them can rely on a network of associations and companies already involved in this area and ready to support the energy transition process, others start from very little and will therefore have to spend a lot of time and resources to raise awareness and convince stakeholders to engage.

In addition, for many municipalities, numerous projects can only emerge and be carried out effectively if they are planned through a territorial approach that will be built gradually.

Do not also forget that the municipal elections in Belgium in 2018 may slow some initiatives by the arrival of new people at the management of municipal affairs.

New European targets!

On 23 October 2015, the European Council adopted a package of four "climate and energy" targets in 2030:

• Reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40% compared to 1990,

• Achieve at least 27% share of renewable energy used in the EU.

• Achieve at least 27% energy efficiency (which could be re-evaluated at 30% by 2020)

• Achieve a minimum of 10% of interconnection capacity per Member State. After evaluation, this could increase to 15% for 2030.

It seems obvious that the Covenant of Mayors should be aligned with these goals and could simplify it by inviting its member municipalities to set a target of reducing their territory emissions by 40% by 2030.

A 100% RES vision in 2050

In the coming weeks, the municipalities and territorial coordinators of Wallonia will be invited by the Walloon Region to join the TEPOS Belgium network. 100% RES Communities target the goal of reducing their energy needs at the most by sobriety and energy efficiency, and cover the rest by local renewable energy ("100% renewables and more").

They therefore consider the 2020 and 2030 targets as intermediates in their overall strategy for energy transition.

For flexibility to promote the commitment of our communities!

In order to allow a maximum of communities to join the energy transition by appropriating this fantastic tool called the Covenant of Mayors, it is therefore proposed that communities who wish to join in the coming years can choose the time horizon over which they want to base their strategy.

Thus, the communities that have already begun the energy transition of their territory in a 2020 vision and desire to formalize this commitment through their membership will get that opportunity, while those that are now embarking on their thinking can apprehend their strategy calmly through a longer, tenable, and realistic time horizon as part of a 100% RES vision.