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ENERGY CITIES' PROPOSALS FOR THE ENERGY TRANSITION OF CITIES AND TOWNS

1.8 Be part of regional, national and European networks to gain exposure to others’ experience
Empowering local players

The problem at hand

Societal changes are increasingly taking place in cities and the responsibility for energy transition largely rests on local elected representatives and officers. Many towns and cities have already taken action and learned a lot in this field, whereas others have just started. Some have experience in town planning or in CHP and heat and/or cooling networks. Others are renowned for their transport systems, energy-efficient building retrofitting programmes or urban farming. This richness has not yet been fully tapped although these experiences are an unlimited source of wealth, and one that is free when shared between colleagues.
We sometimes hear: “travelling is expensive” but what is the cost of not benefiting from existing or emerging know-how? In the context of a severe economic crisis, everyone has to make do with limited resources. We cannot afford to repeat past mistakes. If many towns and cities are members of networks such as Energy Cities, the majority are still facing the upcoming challenges on their own.

Proposal

Taking an active part in regional, national and European exchange networks is the time investment with the highest pay back. The exchange of experience and ideas between colleagues is fruitful as it is informal and based on trust and mutual aid. People are better prepared and able to discuss matters with consultants and contractors, when implementing new solutions and when taking part in collective campaigns with hundreds or thousands of other towns and cities. And they are together stronger in influencing regional, national and European policies.

Conditions for success

  • Members must accept to give and take and be clear about their expectations:
  • A European network is conducive to innovation and open-mindedness by comparing practices in different situations; it helps influence European decisions.
  • A national network deals with the practical implementation, in one’s own country and language, with colleagues that share the same legal/regulatory/fiscal framework that their proposals will improve.
  • A regional network is closer at hand and leads to reinforced co-operation between neighbours.
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Cities and towns that show the way

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