Frequently Asked Questions

 

About the Capacity-Building Programme

 

What is the PROSPECT+ capacity-building programme about?

As the name suggests, PROSPECT+ is a capacity building programme (CBP) that enables capacity building in regional and local authorities in order to finance and implement effective and efficient sustainable energy plans. The CBP is based on peer learning, in which mentors support mentees on acquiring knowledge and implementing a certain innovative financing scheme for their projects in one of the PROSPECT+ thematic areas.

PROSPECT+ is organised around five thematic areas, or themes, namely public buildings, private buildings, transport (both public and private), public lighting, and cross-sectoral. Each thematic area comprehends a list of innovative financing schemes that can be used as financing tools for the successful implementation of sustainable and energy plans.

How does the CBP’s peer learning work, in practice?

In PROSPECT+, local and regional authorities are selected, through an application process, to exchange knowledge and learn from each other on how to solve problems and implement their sustainable energy projects in one of the five thematic areas.

Based on the participants’ experience and needs, PROSPECT+ organises the participants into groups of 2 to 6 members, in which one participant is a mentor (someone who has had experience with financing a sustainable energy and climate action through an innovative scheme and is willing to share insights) and the other(s) is(are) mentee(s) (someone who wants to learn from an experienced or expert peer on financing a sustainable energy project using an innovative scheme and is interested to apply what they learned in their own context). The groups will follow four learning steps. More details of the CBP’s steps and the methods can be found in “About the structure of the CBP and its methods.”

What are the five thematic areas?

Local and regional authorities or their agencies who are interested to learn how sustainable energy projects are financed by innovative financing schemes can participate in the following five thematic areas.

• Public Buildings: Covers buildings and facilities owned, managed or controlled by public authorities. Facilities refer to energy consuming entities that are not buildings, such as wastewater treatment plants.
• Private Buildings: Covers buildings owned, managed or controlled by private individuals or corporations. These refer primarily to the tertiary sector (services), such as private companies, banks, commercial, and retail activities, hospitals, etc. and residential buildings, including social housing.
• Transport: Covers the provision of and management of mass transit systems by public authorities, as well as private transport.
• Public Lighting: Covers the provision of public lighting (e.g. street lighting and traffic lights) owned or operated by public authorities. Non-municipal public lighting is under private buildings.
• Cross-Sectoral: Covers all those interventions falling under two or more thematic areas; climate change adaptation; local electricity production e.g., wind power, hydroelectric power, photovoltaic; and local heat/cold production e.g., combined heat and power and district heating plant.

Each thematic area covers certain innovative financing schemes that can be explored throughout the CBP.

What are these innovative financing schemes?

By innovative financing schemes, PROSPECT+ refers to non-traditional ways of raising funds and facilitating sustainable energy and climate investments by mixing different sources or own funds, public and private funds) engaging different partners (e.g., citizens, private sector) outside of established financial institutions (e.g. banks).

What are some examples of innovative financing schemes?

The financing instruments PROSPECT+ will focus on are: Citizens finance (such as cooperatives and crowdfunding), Energy Performance Contracting (EPC), Internal contracting (intracting), Green Bonds, Guarantee funds, Soft loans, Revolving funds, Third-party financing.

How should I choose the best financing instrument for my organisation?

We recommend that you familiarise yourself with an overview of the financing instruments and the main success factors, such as the national regulatory conditions or policy incentives that affect their attractiveness. You are welcome to apply to learn about the financial instrument of your choice but we recommend that you prioritize those that are already available in your country, so that you can easily replicate the solutions you learn about from your mentors.

 

About the Participants

 

Who is eligible to apply in the capacity-building programme?

PROSPECT+ will accept applications from:

Staff members of regional or local authorities or their energy/climate agencies, in the eligible countries.
Staff members of other local or regional organisations (e.g., development agencies, municipal companies, energy cooperatives), in the eligible countries.
External consultants working for a local or regional public authority in the eligible countries.

Eligible countries are EU-27, the United Kingdom and H2020 associated countries: Albania, Armenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Faroe Islands, Georgia, Iceland, Israel, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, and Ukraine.

Can someone who participated in PROSPECT apply again?

Former participants as mentors or mentees to PROSPECT (2017 – 2020) can apply to PROSPECT+, but mentees must apply with another project.

Can I choose which local and regional authority to partner with?

In PROSPECT+, you will learn from successful implementers through our peer learning methodologies! However, the process of selection and matching is internal to the PROSPECT+ team. We will select the best pair – or group of peers – based on our matching process and criteria, experience in the same thematic area, type of organisation and others. You can learn more in the Guidelines for applicants.

What commitments are expected from participants?

When applying to the PROSPECT+ capacity-building programme, participants commit to follow all the steps of the Cycle and undertake the necessary preparation and follow-up tasks, according to the instructions and recommendations provided by the group facilitator.

If you are selected to be a mentor or mentee in one of the learning cycles, you will dedicate approximately 7 days for mentors and 5 days for mentees throughout the whole Cycle. The steps for each Cycle can be seen in this image.

Can I join only selected parts of the Cycle (for example, to hear about examples of projects carried out by the mentors but without discussing my organisation’s work)?

Our mentors and mentees commit to participating in the full learning cycle (Steps 0 – 4) and they need to confirm their capacity for this when they apply. However, those who would like to learn more about the innovative financing instruments and examples of successful projects at their own pace can join the Community of Practice (CoP). Members of the CoP will be invited to join additional online meetings and webinars where they will be able to hear about the most interesting examples of best practices from PROSPECT+ mentors and mentees. The members of the Community of Practice will also have an opportunity to contribute to the policy feedback and policy dialogue, in order to bring attention to the difficulties and needs affecting public authorities when they select innovative financial instruments for their projects. Do sign up here for news about the opportunity to join the Community of Practice.

 

About the structure of the CBP and its methods

 

How can local and regional authorities learn from each other?

Local and regional authorities can learn from each other via three learning methods:

• Peer mentoring is a one-to-one relationship between a mentor and a mentee that enables deep learning exchanges, joint problem solving, and counseling.
• Study visit allows a group of mentees to learn from the mentors how they have implemented their project, getting first-hand insights and recommendations.
• Local mentoring is a study group in which the mentees are in the same country (or region), who speak the same language and have common backgrounds and plans.

The differences between peer mentoring and study visits lie in the scope of learning and the number of participants. Peer mentoring involves 1 mentor and 1 mentee; study visit involves 1 mentor and up to 5 mentees; and local mentoring involves 1 mentor, up to 5 mentees, and 1 interpreter Fundamentally, peer mentoring is more in-depth than study visit. In all methods, the participants will follow the CBP Steps, explained below.

What are the CBP Steps?

The Steps are the phases through which the participants of the Cycle must follow, and, therefore, are compulsory for mentees, mentors and facilitators (who will support the groups with external mentors). Each Cycle will follow 4 steps and a preparatory step (Step 0), summarised below. The Bonus Step will happen twice, at the end of Cycles 2 and 4.

The three peer learning methods differ in the CBP Steps, mainly in the physical visit (Meeting Up-Step 3). In peer mentoring and local mentoring, the mentor will visit the mentee while in study visits a group of mentees will travel to the mentor’s city.

What is the Bonus step (Masterclass) and who can join it?

The Masterclass is an in-person workshop in Brussels targeted at the most advanced mentees (based on the results of the work done throughout the CBP) providing intensive training and financial matchmaking. Approximately 30 mentees (for 2 cycles in total) will learn from additional experts and exchange their knowledge with other cities and regions. One slot will be dedicated to a matchmaking event with Financial Institutions. where the mentees will benefit from networking with the possibility to present and discuss their project proposals with a financial audience (e.g. through poster presentations).

The selection of the mentees to the Masterclass will be based on the results of the Project Readiness Check, which is one of the activities performed during the Cycle. The mentees will be invited to the Masterclass at the end of Cycles 2 (mid-2023) and 4 (2025).

Will the participants interact through online or physical meetings?

All the groups will follow the steps of the CBP, in which both online and physical meetings will take place. There will be at least 3 online meetings (steps 1, 2, and 4) and one physical meeting of 2 days (step 3). Furthermore, 30 mentees will be selected and invited for a Masterclass, an in-person workshop in Brussels (Bonus step).

In case of travel and gathering restrictions due to COVID-19, the physical meetings can be transformed into online sessions.

In what language will the Capacity-Building Programme be carried out?

The PROSPECT+ capacity building programme and all related exchanges and materials will be carried out in English. Participants must have a B2 command of English to be able to communicate easily within their group, in all activities of the programme.

An exception will be made for mentees in local groups, where activities will take place in the national/regional languages, with the services of an interpreter for the exchanges with the mentor.

Is there a participation fee?

No. Participation in the PROSPECT+ capacity building programme and all related activities is free. Participants’ travel and accommodation costs will be reimbursed.

 

About the Capacity Building Cycles

 

What are learning cycles (Cycles)?

A Cycle is the period in which the peer exchanges actually take place. In the Cycle, the formed groups go through all the peer learning exchanges – the CBP Steps.

How many cycles will the PROSPECT+ capacity-building programme implement?

PROSPECT+ offers four learning cycles:

Learning Cycle 1: February 2022 - September 2022
Learning Cycle 2: November 2022 - June 2023
Learning Cycle 3: August 2023 - March 2024
Learning Cycle 4: May 2024 - December 2024

How long is the duration of each learning cycle?

The duration of a learning cycle is flexible, ranging from 4 to 8 months, depending on the availability of participants and the work plan and time plan of each group.

What does a learning cycle comprise of?

Each learning cycle is made of 16 groups which will follow four steps of capacity building exchanges (which are complemented by a preparatory step for all participants and a bonus step for selected mentors and mentees). The size of the group varies between 2 to 6 participants, depending on the peer learning method (study visit or peer mentoring). Each group focused on a certain theme and innovative financing scheme.

 

About the Application Process

 

How can I apply for the PROSPECT learning programme?

Local and regional authorities and their agencies (as per the list of eligible participants) will be able to apply to join as a mentor or/and a mentee. There will be two separate application forms depending on which options you choose. During the engagement campaign, the registration forms are available here.

When and for how long the engagement campaign will take place?

• Call 1: November 2021 – January 2022
• Call 2: August 2022 – October 2022
• Call 3: May 2023 – July 2023
• Call 4: February 2024 – April 2024

What do I need to provide to apply for the learning programme?

The application form asks for information on the supplicant and his/her organisation. Especially for mentors more information is asked on your level of experience and expertise in terms of innovative financing schemes for sustainable energy and climate actions across the five modules; the projects that you worked on, including project descriptions and success factors. Mentees are further asked about their interest in the different capacity-building opportunities offered by the selected mentors.

In order to apply, you also need to provide a short letter of endorsement from your authorities (using this template if you apply as a mentor and this template if you apply as a mentee). You can find more about the application process in our Guidelines for applicants.

How will I be matched with other interested participants?

At the end of the recruitment campaign, the PROSPECT+ team will carry out a matching process to select and group the participants into matched pairs to create the most effective capacity-building groups of mentors and mentees. The following criteria will be considered:

Mentees’ project(s) and mentors’ experience in the same thematic area;
Interest from the mentee in financing schemes implemented by the mentor;
Common challenges;
Type of organisation;
Population size;
Gender-balance groups.

How will I be informed of the results?

PROSPECT+ will inform you via email that you are selected for the capacity building programme. All participants will be informed by email of the results of the matching process, i.e., to which mentor or mentees they have been matched. Facilitators will then contact participants in their groups to launch the learning cycle activities.

If I do not get matched, can I apply again for the learning programme?

In case there is no match, we encourage you to renew your application in the next call and/or to join our Community of Practice!

 

About additional activities of the project and the Community of Practice

 

What other activities are planned under the project?

Apart from the mentor-mentee group work, there will be many webinars and online meetings focused on the replication of the most successful solutions tested by our mentors. There will also be webinars with a more policy angle, as we want to ensure public authorities’ recommendations and concerns reach decision-makers and contribute to further improvement of policy incentives and relevant conditions needed to increase interest in other-than-subsidies financing instruments. You can learn more about opportunities to join and contribute to those events here.

What is the PROSPECT+ Community of Practice?

The purpose of creating the PROSPECT+ Community of Practice is to establish a community of like-minded local and regional authorities willing to support each other through the exchange of best practices and consultations, in order to tackle the challenges they face as a result of climate change and the required energy transformation. With the Community of Practice, we aim to trigger cooperation between local and regional authorities that may continue after the project ends. You can learn more about the CoP here.

 

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