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16 October 2015

City leaders debate the case for investing in the Energy Union

The EU’s Energy Union aims to make a single energy market in Europe a reality, ensuring a secure supply of sustainably sourced energy for all Europeans. As the transition will occur at the local level, city and regional governments are the primary actors in achieving the EU’s sustainable energy goals. Local and regional governments, however, are often stymied in their attempts to enact ambitious climate and energy policies by a lack of funding and by unclear legal rules.

A debate held in the context of the European Union’s Open Days for Regions and Cities in Brussels (Belgium) on 14 October saw local-level leaders discuss the financial ramifications of moving to a single energy market in Europe, as well as look at how local and regional governments can use sustainable energy to create projects that yield a return on investment. Participants debated how Structural and Cohesion Funds can be coupled with innovative financing models to ensure that sufficient capital is raised to implement renewable energy projects. Employment opportunities stemming from the local level implementation of the Energy Union was also hotly discussed.

Eugenio Leanza of the European Investment Bank said: “Planning for sustainability and resilience is an exercise that needs to be reviewed in consideration of the evolving situation of the economy and has to be realised by all stakeholders in a cooperative way […] The EIB is reflecting on the utilisation of new financial instruments to improve the performance of European cities, while reinforcing the resilience of their job markets.” The session was jointly organised by two EU-funded projects, MAYORS in ACTION and 50000&1 SEAPs, both committed to building a low-carbon energy future in Europe.

For more information, visit the event listing.


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