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What's EUp in December 2017?

By Alix Bolle on 15 décembre 2017

Gigantic summit, discrete revolutions

It would have been hard to miss this news story given the loud media attention : just three days ago, the Paris agreement celebrated its two-year anniversary with the much-publicised “One Planet Summit”. Two years since the European Union presented its own contribution to the global climate effort and two years that Energy Cities has been hammering home the importance for the various levels of governance to define, develop and implement these objectives in a coordinated way. Well, a first victory was finally gained last week ! MEPs sitting in parliamentary committees largely came out in favour of creating national “Multi-level Energy and Climate Dialogue Platforms”, which would require the Member States to involve cities and regions in designing their national action plans for 2030 and 2050. Let’s hope the Parliament will endorse the report in the plenary vote in January.

What about the 3Ds ?

#Democratisation
On 7th December, community energy also received support from the European Parliament with the energy committee’s vote on the future renewable energy directive. The draft report that was approved specifies that small community projects would benefit from alternative competitive bidding procedures or even exemptions. The Member States would also be asked to publish a long term schedule of the planned support schemes and to remove all barriers to the development of these projects.

On the same day in Paris, Energy Cities was co-organising a symposium on this topic as part of the European Renewables Networking Platform whose aim is to encourage national debates on renewable energy policies. The symposium aroused much enthusiasm and resulted in local players and civil society members asking for an ambitious 15% community energy target by 2030. The Council is due to say what its position is on these issues (governance, electricity market and renewables) on 18th December.

#Devolution
Last month’s energy devolution agenda was just as eventful. Our study on local energy ownership is still arousing much interest : members of our team made three almost simultaneous presentations on the topic in Brussels, Lisbon and Madrid ! This enabled us to learn more about Barcelona’s plans to create a company to supply green energy first to municipal facilities in July next year and then to the rest of the population by March 2019.

The One Planet Summit host city itself has made this objective a pivotal aim of its 2050 carbon neutral strategy and is considering creating “Energie de Paris”, a cooperative operator supplying renewable energy between local areas.

#Divestment

Banners displayed on the eve of the One planet Summit read “Not one euro more for the energies of the past”. Although the announcements made by national governments (mostly warmed-up stuff) did not impress many, the decision by the Axa group to divest close to 2.5 billion euros from the coal industry and by the World Bank to stop investing in hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation after 2019 were much commented in the European press.

The European Commission, for its part, has announced its intention to “change the banks’ capital requirements to boost green loans and investments”. On the eve of the Summit, it launched in Strasbourg the Platform for Coal Regions in Transition to reinforce partnerships and development projects in favour of the energy transition. Let’s hope that the initiatives that will emerge will truly support structural changes that benefit local economic development and not just CCS or clean-coal projects as some observers fear.

During the bustle of the summit, French Minister for the Environment Nicolas Hulot said : “Ecology and economy, two terms seemingly antinomic despite their common roots, are now reconcilable”. Let’s hope that the future will (soon) prove him right.

With the support of :

Members
Carte des membres
BIENVENUE AUX NOUVEAUX MEMBRES :
Sustainable City Network (GR) Greece | CEDEF-Central European Development Forum (RS) Serbia | Albertville France | Union of Communities of Armenia (AM) Armenia | Agencia de Energia & Ambiente da Arrabida - Energy agency Portugal
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