EU Policy and Local Action in Focus at Covenant of Mayors Investment Forum

At the Covenant of Mayors Investment Forum on 25 October, the European City Facility hosted a session sharing some of the first local results, an overview of the policy landscape and an open discussion.

CINEA hosted the session, and in the introduction, Michele Sansoni from CINEA pointedly remarked how the beneficiaries of the European City Facility could support others in pushing forward the overall theme of the Forum of advancing the clean energy transition locally. 

"Today, we heard often about the key role of cities and how the competences and skills of staff are needed for the energy transition and the fact that moving to implementation is critical and that mobilisation of finance is essential," he said referring back to a recurring theme of the day - on which the EUCF can help deliver responses.

Carlos Sanchez Rivero, Team Leader - Financing for energy efficiency, DG ENER, European Commission, highlighted recent policy developments on the European level, such as the Revised Energy Efficiency Directive, and stressed: 

"Now Europe needs to focus on implementation. That is very, very important. It is the moment of implementation, and I would like to highlight the importance of cities and local actors within this policy context. Without you, without the local actors, the clean energy transition will not happen," he said.

Francisco Gonçalves, Energy Cities & Coordinator of the European City Facility, also spoke and shared some of the impressive results of the EUCF, such as almost totalling 1.000 applications over the past years, reminding the audience of a new call for beneficiaries opening on 15 January.

“We are really here to support the cities to really develop these investment concepts to bring in maturity to the project ideas,” he said. 

Local solutions to European ambitions

As addressed by both the European Commission, CINEA, and Energy Cities, the European City Facility was devised to provide technical and financial support, bridging the gap between European objectives, local strategies, and concrete actions through the development of investment concepts.

During the session at the Covenant of Mayors Investment Forum, participants had the chance to hear from three local governments, providing just that action as beneficiaries of the European City Facility. 

Petra Pomper, Energy Efficiency, Environmental Protection, and Spatial Planning Advisor at the City of Križevci, whose investment concept focused on the prospect of establishing a hydrogen valley, acknowledged the challenges of attracting such large-scale investment, stating, 

"The total planned investment of 55 million EUR went extremely high and is currently not affordable to implement, but it is not all that dark. The intermodal terminal that we included in our investment concept is included also in the development agreement of Northern Croatia,” she said, explaining how it opens up for national funds and how Križevci is working to install solar power plants with their citizens.

The positive impact of combining local strategy with action was also evident when Rui Pimenta, CEO of Porto Energy Agency, traced the origins of their ambitious local efforts, saying, 

"It all started with a recent SECAP approved by the municipality in 2020 that was already a very ambitious plan with huge goals for 2030. Then, the Municipality applied for the 100 climate neutral and smart cities mission, and it was selected," he said, before highlighting how support from the European City Facility had turned the plan into several concrete actions combining the goals and objectives of several municipalities in the region, including, for example, 128 buildings to renovate and promote sustainable energy initiatives. 

Representing Le Havre Seine Metropole, Clara Lassarat, Sustainable energy engineer, highlighted the importance of thorough planning facilitated by EUCF. 

"Thanks to EUCF, we managed to build a business plan with a full financial analysis to look deeply at which projects are the most profitable financially. At the end, we identified 325 production units, which represent 2 percent of the territory’s consumption. All of these projects will have a cost of more than 110 million euros, which is a lot and why we need to mobilise all the investors in the territory,” she said, explaining how Le Havre had set up a semi-public company with other key French Metropoles to finance energy action.

You can watch the recording from the session below, or watch other sessions from the Investment Forum here