call for the recognition of local and regional authorities as important partners of the EU and national levels of governance in the key policy documents of the EU's Energy Union other than just energy efficiency of the buildings sector, and to this end;
request to be involved in the future Energy Infrastructure Forum and associated to the work of the relevant regulatory bodies at the European level;
moreover, urge the European Commission to better recognise and support small scale production of renewable energy as it could serve not only to alleviate energy poverty but at the same time, ensure security of energy supply.
The rapporteur had developped close contacts with the EP rapporteurs Mr Grobarczyk and Mr Toszenovsky, which resulted in numerous references in the EP report/ resolution to major local and regional issues, reflected in points F, O 2, 74-75, 79-83, 101-104, 112, 168, 176 and others of the EP report.
The exchange with various stakeholders such as Fedarene and the EC DG ENER services allowed timely contribution to subsequent EC initiatives (communications) in the area of links between energy and innovation policies from the local and regional perspective, a new deal for energy consumers and issues related to energy infrastructure, notably smart grids.
A variety of events further to the adoption of the opinion allowed to disseminate the CoR position and achieve impact in the sector, in close cooperation with the key stakeholders, notably participaion of the CoR representatives in the annual EU Energy Infrastructure Forum ( Copenhagen, 23-24 June 2016), involvement in the EU Sustainable Energy Week seminars on 14 June 2016, participation in the annual EU Set-Plan conference on 1 December (with the CoR President carrying forward the rapporteur’s message at a higher political level in his discussions with several EU Commissioners).
The position of the CoR enjoyed wide visibility within the academia, starting from its presentation during the annual EU Energy Law and Policy conference on 9 February, continuing with the external ENVE Commission Conference on the Energy in Sweden on 18 October, where leading researchers from across the EU discussed possibiliies for greater local and regional authorities under the guidance and moderation of rapporteur Mr Mangin.
Particularly close contacts were developped and alliances formed with key stakeholders such as Fedarene which has permitted to channel to the EC DG ENER the CoR’s proposals - supported by a broad advocacy coalition - on the best practices regarding local and regional level exchange of energy data between the companies/ utilities and local and regional authorities to facilitate sustainable energy planning. Moreover, a thorough analysis within the follow-up process of this opinion has been undertaken concerning financial needs and solutions aggregating local and regional energy projects (the OD workshop of 14 October) and supporting independent financial role of ESCOs.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- stresses that local and regional sustainable energy projects are key to reducing the European Union's dependency on the sources of energy and third countries to which external suppliers are very often linked, and that more needs to be done to explore this potential more fully;
- notes that local authorities are important for making energy production needs secure by finding an ideal location for the means of production, particularly taking into account local energy potential;
- acknowledges the strategic role of research and innovation in energy technology with a view to the successful decarbonisation of the EU's energy system and the ensuing reduction in emissions;
- emphasises the importance of data sharing between key partners in the energy sector involved in the development, management and operation of projects and energy distribution companies at the local and regional level, including energy agencies;
- calls for a consistent balance between European Union spending on large cross-border infrastructure and responding to local needs, so as to even better integrate locally produced renewable energy into the grid while at the same time developing smart distribution grids;
- stresses the importance of energy infrastructure investment and calls for the CoR to be involved in the activities of the energy infrastructure forum;
- asks the European Union to urge national regulatory bodies to include a local authority representative and hopes that ACER will incorporate one. This representative could be appointed by the Committee of the Regions.