A policy roundtable, organised by the PUBLENEF project through one of the consortium organisations (Energy Cities) and the Energy Advice Exchange, was held on June 20th in Brussels during the EU Sustainable Energy Week in order to further explore the key role and importance of local authorities and energy advisory services in Europe’s energy efficiency framework. The roundtable was held in the context of the approval process of the Commission’s proposed “clean energy package” and the priority given to consumer empowerment. The roundtable was structured in the form of two panel discussions.
The first panel discussed how EU and national policy can facilitate the provision of integrated energy renovation and advisory services to consumers and what is the role for EU directives/frameworks versus national and local policy.
The second panel discussed the role and potential of local authorities and local energy advisory services in attracting private sector finance and investment for building renovations.
There were important messages from the discussions and we have prepared Chairman’s Conclusions for you to better understand what happened and issues that warrant further discussion.
The roundtable tried to provide some answers and some further evidence, but it also raised some questions. Importantly, what level of standardisation at National or European level is useful with the benefits it brings in the form of reduced cost burden? How is this balanced with the need for a local and locally relevant approach (relevant to both finance provision and to advice provision)?
While the discussion was forthcoming and there were many new ideas brought to the table, sharing of learning and practice is not as effective as it needs to be:
- We need a stronger link between academic research and practitioners to ensure academics are aware of the need for research on the ground and that practitioners can receive and incorporate the results of academic research into their approach.
- There is need for more sharing of good practice in both energy advisory services and in local private sector finance provision between practitioners and managers to ensure lessons can be learned to encourage further replication.
- A challenge is that local advisory programmes communicate locally and in local language, with no direct driver to communicate more widely with a national or European audience.
Undoubtedly, more is needed to understand the key roles that local policies and energy advisory services play to empower the consumer. Without such empowerment of consumers, Europe’s policies will not achieve the impact needed for us to achieve our long-term climate and energy objectives.
The organisers would like to thank all the panelists and participants for a rewarding and spirited event.
The Chairman’s Conclusions are available here.
We welcome your comments.