The president of the provincial parliament of Burgenland Christian Illedits (AT/PES) hosted an ENVE seminar last Thursday 8 November in the Austrian city of Pinkafeld. Under three key words – Energy, Education and Sustainability, Burgenland's meeting was the occasion to show how a regional energy model can autonomously supply 100% of its electricity demand from renewable energy sources. The CoR is preparing the adoption of an opinion on local energy communities next plenary session 5-6 December 2018.
The role of local and regional authorities is essential for Europe to succeed its clean energy transition. The Burgenland case perfectly reflects how a region can make change happen. Already in 2013, Burgenland had managed to supply 100% of its electricity needs through renewable energy sources, namely wind power.
"For many years we have been targeting investments in order to boost the sustainability of our energy sector and that of our electricity supply. We are proud to have achieved electricity self-sufficiency from renewable energy. We are now focusing on providing municipalities and citizens the capacity to actively participate in the regional energy system through the production of renewable energy", said Christian Illedits (AT/PES), president of Burgenland's provincial parliament.
Burgenland established an ambitious energy strategy which targets go beyond those of the European Union. The "Energiestrategie Burgenland 2020" aims at reaching a share of 50% of renewables in the total energy consumption by 2020 and 100% by 2050 while the EU only projects a revisable 32% by 2030.
Roby Biwer (LU/PES), Member of the Bettembourg Municipal Council and 1st Vice-Chair of the ENVE commission said: "Burgenland's successful path towards renewable energy autonomy is a source of inspiration and demonstrates, once again, that Europe's energy and climate objectives will not be met without local and regional authorities. Member States are to present national energy and climate plans to the European Commission by 31 December. The European Committee of the Regions calls on national ministries to live up to their responsibilities and cooperate closely with regional and local authorities to integrate their concerns and expectations into national plans. We also call on the European Commission when reviewing national plans to take sub-national levels into account."
Ensuring that local and regional authorities have an active role in the implementation of the EU's Clean Energy Package is a top priority for the European Committee of the Regions.
In Burgenland, Mariana Gâju (RO/PES), Mayor of Cumpăna, presented its opinion on Models of local energy ownership and the role of local energy communities in energy transition in Europe. "We need to overcome the obstacles and challenges that cities and regions face to develop energy production systems such as discriminatory market design, complex administrative and regulatory frameworks and a lack of access to finance. A closer cooperation between the EU's and the Member States' regional and energy policies is crucial to maximise the potential of Europe's clean energy transition", said rapporteur Gâju. The opinion will be adopted during the forthcoming plenary session on 5-6 December.
Andrew Cooper (UK/EA) moderated ENVE's seminar, entitled 'Energy, Education, and Sustainability: Investing in the future of the regions. From vision to citizens' everyday lives'. Kirklees Councillor is the rapporteur of the opinion on Climate Governance after 2020, which main messages the CoR will shortly convey to Katowice, where the United Nations COP24 is to take place from 3-14 December.
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