What can local actors do?

There are a number of measures that local energy actors can take to fight global warming. Initial steps include the development and implementation of a Sustainable Energy Action Plan and the realisation of an emission inventory. Urban areas should work towards more sustainable mobility and all regions should foster green public procurement by strengthening the energy efficiency criteria applied in public procurement.

Sustainable energy action plan (SEAP)

The Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) is a key document that shows how a Covenant of Mayors signatory will reach its commitment by 2020. It uses the results of the Baseline Emission Inventory to identify the best fields of action and opportunities for reaching the local authority’s CO2 reduction target. It defines concrete reduction measures, together with time frames and assigned responsibilities, which translate the long-term strategy into action. Signatories commit themselves to submitting their SEAPs within the year following adhesion.

SEAPs concentrate on measures aimed at reducing the CO2 emissions and final energy consumption by end users. The Covenant’s commitments cover the whole geographical area of the local authority (town, city, region). Therefore, SEAPs include actions concerning both the public and private sectors. However, the local authority is expected to play an exemplary role and therefore to take outstanding measures related to its own buildings and facilities, vehicle fleet, etc. The local authority can decide to set the overall CO2 emission reduction target either as an ‘absolute reduction’ or ‘per capita'.

Below you will find several links containing models and guides on SEAP:

Energy 21 Guidebooks

The aim of the Energy 21 guidebook is to provide a simple and practical guide to help those municipalities that intend to carry out energy planning within their territory through the implementation of a Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP), either at the municipal or provincial level. This is particularly pertinent within the Covenant of Mayors initiative, under which signatory cities must develop a SEAP within a year of signing. Below are links to several of these guidebooks:

Implementing sustainable energy measures

Learning communities mainly benefit, through improved capacity and use of instruments that address development, implementation and evaluation of sustainable energy community concepts that have a longer-term sustainable impact. The use of local resources, involvement of diverse stakeholders and the improvement of community resilience from a climate protection and energy security perspective are underlying aspects.

Here is a case study which illustrates how sustainable energy sources are maximised in Finland.

On the BUILD UP site there is an example from the Netherlands of a natural way to ventilate an office building.

Sustainable Now focuses on strengthening the role of local and provincial governments, as political and administrative bodies acting in an exemplary manner and guiding communities in the sustainable energy transition period.

Sustainable Energy Communities and Sustainable Energy Citizenship

Nobody has to work alone to build a sustainable energy community. The main objective is to engage local actors in the discussions surrounding the development of a sustainable energy community and foster their commitment. 

Green public procurement

In order to maintain a clean environment, citizens should convince local authorities to use their purchasing power to chose environmentally-friendly good and services, which would make a significant contribution to sustainable consumption and production. The following websites explain the concept of green public procurement:

Transfer of knowledge and capacity building

The transfer of knowledge is essential for facilitating the uptake of ideas and best practice in order to achieve sustainable energy objectives. This sharing of know-how can be achieved through various means, such as interactions between regional energy agencies or the organization of training courses.

The ManagEnergy workshops provide the perfect environment for knowledge transfer.

The organisation of energy education and awareness-raising activities can foster more intelligent energy behaviour amongst civil society. Local energy actors can take steps to improve the way in which they work: municipalities can join the Covenant of Mayors – a network of cities fighting against climate change – and establish contacts with other municipalities, at either the national or European level, in order to share experiences and learn from each other.

Financing local sustainable measures

For a full overview of the financing programmes available, see the ManagEenrgy section on EU programmes and funding.