Regional Energy Agency North mentoring in PROSPECT Learning Cycle 2

The Mentor ‘Regional Energy Agency North, Koprivnica (Croatia)’ and Mentees ‘Barcelona Province (Spain)’, ‘Regional Energy Agency of Northern Småland (Sweden)’, ‘Municipality of Amarante (Portugal)’ and ‘Municipality of Beja (Portugal)’ will participate in the 2nd Cycle of the PROSPECT Learning Programme, constituting the 4th Group for Public Lighting. The peer learning activities will be focalised on Revolving Funds.+Mentors' Corner

Regional Energy Agency North from Croatia mentors 4 organisations on the intracting financing scheme and revolving fund : Barcelona Province Council in Spain, the municipalities of Beja and Amarante in Portugal, and Northern Småland energy agency in Sweden. After two online meetings (Step 1 & Step 2 of the Learning Programme), mentor and mentees met in Koprivnica, Croatia.

The concept of intracting

The concept of « intracting » - or « internal contracting » was implemented by the city of Stuttgart in Germany in 1996. It is based on an agreement between two services, departments or structures within the same local authority. One is the client : they submit a project concerning a building or equipment they are in charge of. The other is the contractor : they examine the project and its savings potentials. If the payback period is acceptable, a financial agreement is signed between them. Once the measures are finished, the « client » pays back the investment with the savings that feed a dedicated fund. As repayments are then used to finance other energy-saving projects, it stands as a « revolving fund ».

The city of Koprivnica in Croatia, with their regional energy agency REA-Sjever, followed the pioneer city of Stuttgart’s steps within the IEE-funded project "INFINITE Solutions", and established a revolving fund in 2016.

During the first online meeting of their learning programme, mentees discovered the intracting financing scheme and an overview of Koprivnica’s experience.

The second online meeting was the opportunity for them to present their current and future projects, and it served as a basis for the next step : together with the mentor from REA-Sjever, seeing how and if the intracting scheme and a revolving fund can fit their needs. It was also decided that the group will focus on how to convince decision-makers to approve energy-efficiency measures, as political support is key to implement any energy saving strategy.

 

Mentees visited Koprivnica in Croatia to learn about « intracting » for public lighting

During the third step of the programme, the group met in person in Koprivnica for a 2-day study visit on the 5th and 6th of June 2019. On the first day, Ivan S. from REA-Sjever explained more in-depth the concept of intracting and its step-by-step set-up in Koprivnica. The intracting financing scheme is such a new and innovative mechanism that it implies getting out of the business-as-usual processes. Ivan did not shy away from explaining the obstacles they had to face when implementing it in Koprivnica which made it more tangible. Then each mentee was asked to present its organisation’s structure and reflect on its internal financial flow. The day ended with a visit of Koprivnica’s living lab and the first passive multi-appartments building in Croatia.


Rafael O. from Barcelona Province Council presenting its structure to the mentor and other mentees ©Kristina Štriga, REA-Sjever
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The group visits Koprivnica Living Lab ©Kristina Štriga, REA-Sjever


The second day started with an unusual activity : mentees played a role-playing game, in which they had to convince their manager to approve their project. The aim of this exercise was for mentees to prepare their arguments for a real-life situation. Ivan also provided individual counselling to each of the mentees. Overall, all mentees were enthusiastic about bringing new knowledge to their organisation.


Some Quotes from the Mentees:

« Thanks to all pieces of advice and help that I received during the learning programme, I have seen that it is possible to invest money-savings in energy efficiency. I was not totally aware of it. I used to see the process as a closed loop, but now the loop is open. With this new management system, you have an incentive to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions while saving money to dedicate to other projects. Energy poverty is a big problem in Barcelona Province. It is a matter of better managing our ressources. I am more confident than before. I think I can do something useful with what I have learnt! », Rafael O., mentee from Barcelona Province Council, Spain

« I learnt in this programme how important teamwork is. That taught me that teamwork is necessary to reach success. » , Margarida D., mentee from the municipality of Beja, Portugal

« With this study tour I have managed to open up horizons. A discussion group, with interlocutors from different countries with different perspectives and experiences, allowed an analysis of the problems from different angles. The concept of Revolving Fund, presented by Ivan, seems to be an adequate instrument for continuous reinvestment without overstretching always limited budgets. Sharing problems with other partners, understanding their limitations and the different approaches that the same problem may have, enable to adapt strategies, learn from mistakes and reach success. After these days, I feel better prepared to defend my ideas and to implement, in Amarante, a successful strategy to guarantee an increase in energy efficiency in Public Administration, starting with the consumption of municipal buildings. », Adão R., mentee from the municipality of Amarante, Portugal


Replication/Transferability

The 4th and last Step of the Programme will include an online session dedicated to the assessment and evaluation of the peer learning activities.

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