Ostrava is part of an international project focusing on modern urban ENERGY transformation
A new international project called POTEnT featuring 8 European cities and energy agencies aims to share experience and offer a source of inspiration to all partners when seeking to expand the role of public authorities in energy transformation processes.
Cities need to embrace a more central role in energy transformation by driving the process of carbon reduction in many areas of life, becoming centres for innovation and expertise, and introducing pioneering new measures to improve energy efficiency – all ensuring that urban environments become smarter at using energy and helping the EU to achieve its carbon reduction goals by 2030.
Local leaders are key players in energy transformation processes which will help achieve these carbon reduction goals, and throughout Europe they are increasingly viewed by citizens (especially the younger generation) as the driving force behind specific measures to achieve these goals. Thanks to technical innovations – and the growing need to shift focus onto renewable resources – Europe’s cities and regions are playing an ever-greater role in the energy market. However, key information and knowledge on energy transformation does not always find its way to those who could benefit from it the most – cities and local energy agencies. The POTEnT project aims to address this knowledge gap. Co-funded by the Interreg Europe programme, the project’s title means Public Organisations Transform Energy Transition. The project takes an innovative approach to one of the key questions currently facing European cities and regions: how to further reduce carbon emissions by harnessing the potential of local citizens and communities, involving them directly in planning and implementing a range of relevant measures.
POTEnT is a strategically important project for the City of Ostrava; it represents an excellent source of information and inspiration about various carbon reduction measures that have been successfully implemented elsewhere on a local level, including experiences gained by cities and energy agencies from 8 European partner countries – France, Germany, Italy, Britain, Sweden, Spain, Estonia and the Netherlands. The project includes intensive cooperation among partner cities, which will learn from each other to boost their knowledge of effective measures and best practice. Close cooperation with members of local support groups will enable all the project partners to improve their tools and re-focus local and regional policies to support new investments that are eligible for European funding (ERDF) as well as local action plans connected with innovative energy transformation.
At the beginning of July 2019, all the partners in the POTEnT project met at the headquarters of the main coordinator in Lorient (France) for the official project launch. There they were able to interact with other partners and gain a complete overview of the working methods and project activities, as well as presenting their own energy policies and plans for the future. The members of the POTEnT consortium come from various regions of Europe, and their policies and plans are influenced by various locally specific needs and circumstances, but they all share the same vision: to achieve progress towards further carbon reductions in cities or regions via their own initiatives or by improving current energy services and transferring knowledge in this field. This shared vision will help the POTEnT project to achieve its ambiTIOUS AIMS, which include:
– developing or improving the provision of public energy services via companies or organizations offering these services (ESCOs – energy service companies),
– increasing investments in low-carbon projects,
– tasking key local bodies with achieving greater reductions in carbon emissions.
The project implementation phase will last until July 2022, when it will be followed by a further 12-month period focused on monitoring the results (achieving the goals set out in the action plan). The project is co-financed by the Interreg Europe programme, which helps regional and local government authorities across Europe to develop sophisticated and innovative policies by creating conditions and opportunities for sharing potentially interesting solutions.