C4_PuB2: AURA-EE mentoring on Citizen Financing and Energy Saving Certificates for Public Buildings
This group, under the mentorship of Patrick Biard from the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Energy Agency, focused on exploring the citizen and community financing and energy savings certificates schemes successfully developed in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (development steps, lessons learned, pitfalls etc.). +Mentors' Corner
Step 1: getting started - This group, under the mentorship of Patrick Biard from the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Energy Agency, focused on exploring the citizen and community financing and energy savings certificates schemes successfully developed in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (development steps, lessons learned, pitfalls etc.). On the 27th of January 2020 the group met online for the first time for an overview of the experience of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Energy Agency with energy communities and energy savings certificates. Patrick presented the “centrales villageoises” cooperative model they developed which focuses on building «community investment projects» for the local production of RES. The mentor also presented they use energy savings certificates for the retrofitting of public buildings as well as sustainable mobility initiatives in the fight against fuel poverty. The mentees were: Chrysoula Larda from Meligalas, Greece (organization: municipality of Oichalia); Paddy Phelan from Kilkenny, Ireland (organization: 3 Counties Energy Agency); Marcin Łojek from the Pałecznica Municipality, Poland; Benjamin Godfroy from Strasbourg, France (organization: Région Grand Est).
Step 2: working together - On the 13th of February 2020, the mentor and the mentees met again to start assessing in more detail the needs the specific contexts in each region of the mentees. Paddy from Ireland presented their project of developing energy communities over the next 3 years. The first challenge for them is setting the legal framework for the community, the financial scheme and setting a specific governance structure. From the French region of Grand Est the group a had a presentation of the GECLER network that focuses on connecting citizen-led initiatives in the region, helping them on governance, financing and developing their RES projects. The mentee also presented the Oktave one stop shop that also usesu energy certificates to fund projects. The mentee from the polish municipality Pałecznica presented their own projects focusing particularly on PV and heatpumps for public buildings. From Greece, the municipality of Oichalia with their adhesion to the Covenant of Mayors wish to increase their sustainable energy utilization for their economic development and to achieve their CO2 reduction goal.
The next step will focus on in depth training on citizen-community financing and discussion on valorisation of energy savings certification.
Due to the coronavirus the step 3 of the Learning Programme on Community Financing and Energy Savings Certificates, originally planned as a 2-day site visit in Lyon (FR), was transformed in a 3-day webinar.
The mentor, Patrick Biard from Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Energy Agency (France) and his colleagues, Noémie Poize, Noémie Zambeaux and Laurent Chanussot, guided the mentees Paddy Phelan (3 Counties Energy Agency, Ireland), Marcin Łojek (Municipality of Paleczinca, Poland) and Benjamin Godfroy (City of Strasbourg, Region Grand Est, France) through an in-deep training on the reality of energy communities and the white certificate mechanism in France.
Thanks to this new online format of the Step 3, mentees were able to involve their colleagues and use this opportunity to build the whole organization’s capacities.
On the 2nd July 2020, the first session was held and focused on the state of play of energy communities, varying from the legislative framework to the means used to involve the stakeholders, to the barriers and challenges faced.
“Examples of citizens involvement based on the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes’ experiences are very impressive and inspiring for the implementation of such ideas in smaller communities, like as Palecznica Municipality” [Marcin Łojek, mentee]
On the 6th July 2020, the second session was divided in 2 parts. The first part focused on the hands-on experience of the Centrales Villageoises, varying from the programme inception and development phase to the governance and economic models set up for the energy community. While, the second part was dedicated to the white certificate mechanism.
“Energy Saving Certificates offer plenty of possibilities to finance the energy transition. I’d like to learn more by taking contact with AURA-EE. I think we could do better with the ESC in Region Grand Est by communicating on the different ESC programs and why not managing one”. [Benjamin Godfroy, mentee]
Finally, the third session was held on the 7th July 2020 and focused on the stakeholders’ engagement and dissemination activities carried out within the Centrales Villageoises.
Strong connections between the mentors and mentees were born, promising a future cooperation for the establishment of energy communities, i.e. in Ireland.
Transferability and Action Plans on Energy Communities
The mentor, Patrick Biard from the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Energy Agency (France) and the mentees Marcin Łojek from the municipality of Pałecznica (Poland) and Benjamin Godfroy from the Région Grand Est (France), virtually met for the last time within PROSPECT learning Programme.
Very interesting programme, but it’s a bit frustrating that we could not meet in person! This was a shared opinion from all the participants to the missed opportunity to physically meet in Lyon, due to the Covid-19.
Despite the missed chance to meet in person, however, the learning programme demonstrated its validity by supporting 1 region, 3 counties and 1 municipality in 3 different EU member states in the planning (and development) of projects for the establishment of local energy communities for the financing and implementation of sustainable energy projects.
The Region Grand East, for example, is already implementing activities in this sense, such as national meetings for and RES projects using community financing. Actions have also been taken for the use of energy savings certificate in the area, such as the development of a new offer for roof insulation.
The municipality of Pałecznica, on the other hand, is focusing right now on the involvement of stakeholders and staff, as basis for a fruitful establishment of an energy community, and in general and key success factor for the implementation of sustainable energy projects.