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Foreword

Practical proposals to accelerate the energy transition

"Energy Cities is proud to present its Proposals for the Energy Transition of Cities and Towns. They constitute a source of inspiration to think and act differently and to finally turn our backs on non-sustainable practices that can only lead us to energy, climatic and possibly economic and social dead-ends.

A transition is a shift from an initial to a future state. For Energy Cities, the energy transition is a shift from a system dominated by finite (fossil and fissile) energy towards a (renewable) flow energy-based system. Such a shift will require simultaneously taking ambitious actions to reduce our energy use. It is our century’s challenge.

Political decisions made at European and national levels are indispensable to show us the way forward. Several countries have already decided to take decisive action along this path. It is, however, at the local level that the new energy paradigm is being invented, through a multitude of initiatives implemented by a wealth of private, public and associative partners. All have a common goal -the low energy city with a high quality of life for all- and most are from cities engaged in the Covenant of Mayors.

What visible changes have these initiatives already brought?

We used to think in terms of MegaWatts and we are now starting to think in terms of NegaWatts. We used to consider energy as a supply of gas, electricity and oil; we now rather think in terms of demand based on final needs (heating, cooling, lighting, mobility and leisure). Vertical, centralised energy systems are starting to make room for more flexible and resilient horizontal, decentralised multi-energy systems based on the Internet concept. Energy distribution networks will become smart networks capable also of handling the collection of dispersed energy production. Energy production used to take place here and consumption elsewhere; we are starting to consider both simultaneously in an integrated way at the scale of a building, a neighbourhood, a village or a city. Energy technologies used to involve large, monolithic systems; a large variety of scaled-down products, making use of ICT and addressing both decentralised supply and the demand-side is now emerging. Consumers will become active, energy-aware citizens. The divorce between energy and territorial economics will give way to a fruitful reconciliation conducive to innovations. Whereas central governments used to play a predominant part, the role of local authorities will become decisive.

The world that is taking shape before us is being built at the local level. The transition will take time. All the more reason for wasting no time in getting started! Such a shift involves a massive cultural change, that is, a change in our ways of thinking energy, its uses, production, systemic organisation and players.

To accelerate the energy transition and based on its members’ practices, Energy Cities has organised its Proposals into five strategic areas:

Local energy transition will take place through alliances involving a multitude of players at all levels and in all fields. Energy Cities intends to contribute to it. This is why, in addition to local authorities which are their primary readership, these Proposals are also intended for businesses, community organisations and public institutions ready to take up the challenge of the century.

I now invite you to discover them!"

30 Energy Cities’ proposals for the energy transition of cities and towns

Whith the support of Covenant of Mayors Imagine Fondation Charles Léopold Mayer pour le Progrès de lâ€â„¢Homme Conseil Régional de Franche-Comté Agence de l'Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l'Energie
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THE PROPOSALS
Foreword
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Contents
1. Empowering local players
2. Knowing our territories' resources and flows
3. Rethink financing solutions
4. Inventing new local governance
5. Urban planning as a way of reducing energy use
LOCAL EXAMPLES
Local examples
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Mayors' message for the energy transition
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Contribute to the Booklet of proposals !
PROMOTE
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