For Europe to successfully kick its reliance on fossil fuels and embrace renewable energy sources, the next EU Renewable Energy Directive must empower local and regional governments as well as citizens to use sustainable energy options, concluded participants at the session Cities and Citizens in the Energy Union, held in Brussels (Belgium) on 16 June 2015 as part of the EU Sustainable Energy Week. The Directive should also include a clear incentive for Member States to support citizen ownership of renewable energy, and include access to well-designed funding and support schemes.
“Explicit recognition of the local and regional government level as well as citizens in the next Renewables Directive is the only way for the energy transition to succeed,” said Holger Robrecht, Deputy Regional Director of ICLEI Europe. Organised as part of the EU-funded CO-POWER and Mayors in Action projects, the event attracted a diverse range of high-level speakers and politicians to discuss how citizens and local government can be involved in crafting the future of energy production, sharing the costs and rewards. The concept of the session was co-designed by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and Friends of the Earth Europe.
Mercè Rius i Serra, Deputy President for Environment, Province of Barcelona (Spain), said: “In order to empower citizens, we need to empower their cities, and foster closer collaboration with other levels of government. The regional and local levels need to work closely to bolster the energy transition. The Energy Union is an opportunity to change regulations and bring the transition to the local level."
For more information, visit the event webpage.