The project “100% RES Communities” is launched backstage with the Province of Luxembourg
11/15/2012 – After having been put on hold for several months due to elections, the European project 100% RES Communities is finally launched. First technical meeting in the Province of Luxembourg.
However, this all happened behind the scenes because, before it can be announced to the public, we first need to take ownership of this project and to agree on the main actions we will need to carry out with the province of Luxembourg, our official partner.
Seating at the negotiation table are Thérèse Mathy, incoming provincial representative in charge of the sustainable development and energy fields, Isabelle Poncelet, outgoing provincial representative and newly elected mayor of Habay, Stéphane Hartman, head of the Sustainable Development Department for the province of Luxembourg supported by Amélie Barbieux, project manager, Élodie Bossio, project coordinator with the Covenant of Mayors Bureau (present through Skype) and, finally, Jade Charouk, project coordinator for the state of Belgium, who started off with a brief presentation of the project.
“100% RES Communities is a 36 months long European project, coordinated by the CLER (France) and founded on a partnership between 13 European participants, divided into 10 countries, and from which Innergies is the Belgian/Walloon partner.
The goal of this project is to support and promote the creation and establishment of a Joint Sustainable Energy Plan of Action* (Joint SEAP) between a territorial authority and a group of essentially rural municipalities. In this arrangement, the rural municipalities will sign the Covenant of Mayors in partnership with the territorial public authority. After evaluating their SEAP and drawing the relevant significant lessons, 5 experienced territories will be joined to 5 inexperienced ones in order to help them develop their own action plans. In other words, 2 actions must be taken under the SEAP.
On the Belgian scale, the Joint SEAP model will be initiated in the (inexperienced) territory of the province of Luxembourg, official partner of the “100% RES Communities” project and official territorial coordinator of the Covenant of Mayors. Hence, a Joint SEPA with several municipalities will then be established with the support of a number of European territories, upon which at least two actions derived from this plan will be fully carried out.
On the European scale, the cities and rural territories will join the RURENER network. National Sustainable Energy Communities clubs/associations will be created in order to promote the adhesion of rural municipalities to the Covenant of Mayors, to facilitate the establishment of Joint SEAP based on the model previously experimented and to help them achieve their goals. The RURENER network will also enable a stronger political representation of rural municipalities on the European level.
By becoming a member of the network, municipalities and rural territories agree to become 100% RES territories. However, since this concept has not yet been properly set yet, the project will offer a definition relevant on the European scale, based on previously gained experiences (Italy, Germany, Austria). The next step will then be to concretely implement it within the framework of the European RES Championship, which will allow the identification of the European municipalities and territories that stand the closest to reaching that goal. After the creation of 4 new national contests (in the countries where it does not already exist), thousands of municipalities and territories will be able to assess their progress and to compare themselves to the other participants based on standardized criteria.
Lastly, since the notion of “sustainable energy territory” is not very well-known, a communication campaign based on the tools developed during the course of the Sustainable Energy European (and Belgian) contest(s) will be launched to promote it.
As a result, a large number of municipalities and rural territories will be stimulated and motivated to join the RURENER network, to sign the Covenant of Mayors, to develop new JSEPAs and to take significant actions in the field of sustainable energy.
What will be the role of the province on a concrete level?
In 2012, the province of Luxembourg committed to become a territorial Coordinator of the Covenant of Mayors, reminds us Stephane Hartman. As such, the province has conducted various information and awareness raising campaigns directed towards the elected municipal representatives so as to urge them to fulfill their sustainable energy goals and introduce sustainable energy measures. As a result, a cycle of several conferences discussing the Covenant of Mayors took place in 2012.
Through the “100% RES Communities” project, the province will take further steps in its sustainable energy-oriented initiative and will set up a support service for the municipalities of Luxembourg. Although the exact outlines of the above-mentioned service have not been defined yet, a budget has already been allocated for this purpose and Amélie Barbieux, newly appointed to the job, was designated to supervise its creation. However, it should be noted that this service will focus on municipalities that have applied to the POLLEC Campaign with the Walloon region. As a reminder, this campaign aims at supporting the municipalities financially in order to establish a Joint SEAP and to sign the Covenant of Mayors.
More information will be available on the next meeting, scheduled on 12/04/2012.
Present at the meeting:
• Isabelle Poncelet: outgoing municipal representative
• Thérèse Mathy: incoming municipal representative
• Stephane Hartman: head of administration for the province of Luxembourg
• Amélie Barbieux: project coordinator for the province of Luxembourg
• Élodie Bossiaux (Skype): Covenant of Mayors Bureau
• Jade Charouk: project coordinator for Innergies.Be
*The concept of a Joint Sustainable Energy Plan of Action is relatively new since the action plans are almost exclusively made on a single level of authority (commune). However, in order to achieve synergies between municipalities and reduce the costs of implementation, the European Union encourages the authorities to make territorial joint action plans, for example action plans coordinated and conducted in close collaboration with territorial authority and municipalities, in order to offer both specific and common actions to all