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Vertical Workshop: Aligning local energy management and national climate action in Greece

by Evi Tzanakaki (CRES) and Kristen Brand (Guidehouse), BEACON

What exactly are the barriers to aligning national energy and climate strategies with local energy management? And what are potential solutions to overcoming these challenges? On 11-12 February, stakeholders from municipalities and the national government and other national institutions in Greece came together virtually to discuss these issues.

In Greece national strategies such as the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECAP) set goals and include numerous sectoral climate actions, several of which apply to local authorities. However, there is no direct link to municipal energy management or plans, thus limiting municipalities’ potential to contribute to such national aims. Led by BEACON partners CRES, Guidehouse and adelphi, this ‘vertical integration’ workshop sought to connect actors from municipalities with policy makers in the national ministries in an effort to advance information sharing between stakeholders and initiate structural improvements on this topic.

Day 1

On the first day of the workshop, representatives from BEACONs Greek municipalities (Kalamata, Farsala, Agios-Dimitrios, Syros-Ermoupolis and Dorida) dived into group discussions on barriers after a presentation by CRES on the NECAP and related legislative initiatives. The results of the group discussions can be summarised in three points:

  1. There is a lack of communication at national level (with ministries, regions, other municipalities), a lack of sufficient know-how, and very limited human resources
  2. Further support is needed for local energy management and planning in order to consolidate and upgrade significant local efforts
  3. There is a need to standardise reporting/recording energy consumption through a digital platform

The group discussions concluded in a set of suggestions to be discussed with national stakeholders. The three main points include:

  1. The institutionalisation of the Municipal Action Plans for Energy and Climate as a nationally enforced energy masterplan of municipalities and commitment to their implementation
  2. The activation of the institution of energy managers
  3. The creation/activation of data collection and communication platforms

Participants from the BEACON municipalities discuss barriers and potential solutions on day 1. © Guidehouse

Day 2

The BEACON municipalities were joined on day two of the workshop by representatives of the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Development and Investment, Management Organisation Unit of Development Programmes (MOU), National Technical University (NTUA), Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE) and the Union of Greek Municipalities (KEDE). National representatives highlighted the necessity of central support and coordination of municipal energy management and planning as well as the need to reach out to citizens and bring them in the carbon neutral equation. Silke Karcher of BMU also joined the meeting to share inspiring welcome words.

Municipalities presented their efforts and priorities, and Michalis Zouloufos of Syros-Ermoupolis presented the results of the day one discussions, which formed the basis of the group discussions with the national representatives.

The main conclusions from the group discussions on day two include:

  • National Energy and Climate Strategies and the integrated energy management in the local authorities can be aligned, there are many points of convergence, but even more gaps that need to be filled and many steps need to be taken to achieve the goals in local / national level.
  • Multi-level governance with greater involvement of the regions should be strengthened.
  • The role of the Municipal Energy Manager should be encouraged and enforced, which will empower and give voice to municipalities towards higher levels of government.
  • Further efforts are needed to make the most of technology through data platforms, collaboration, consulting, etc..
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Michalis Zouloufos of Syros-Ermoupolis presents the results of the discussions from day 1. © Guidehouse

This meeting can pave the way for further discussions amongst participating bodies and new collaborations, which will be explored further in the coming months. The conclusions of this workshop and further developments will be discussed with a wider audience at the Greece National Workshop of the BEACON project in Spring 2021.

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National level representatives join the discussions on day 2. © Guidehouse

Responsible for the content of this page is Evi Tzanakaki (CRES) and Kristen Brand (Guidehouse).