A Greenovate! Europe Study for the CENTRAL EUROPE Programme has concluded that transnational energy projects substantially assist central European regions to adapt their regional energy policies to meet their regional challenges and highlights some of the most outstanding tools created by the Programme’s projects. 

Responding to regional challenges

The CENTRAL EUROPE Programme, funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), aims ‘to co-operate beyond borders to make central European cities and regions better places to live and work’. Under the topic of energy efficiency and renewable energy, the Programme aims to help central European regions to take advantage of the benefits of renewable energies and energy efficiency, with a focus on reducing the carbon footprint of buildings and biomass and geothermal energy.

Transnational projects for regional co-operation can reduce disparities between regions by allowing them to share and learn from each other. The projects raise awareness of sustainable energy potentials, and by supporting smart and sustainable growth through behavioural change, they will help countries in central Europe to reach their 2020 targets. 

Energy in central Europe

The Programme area – covering Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, as well as regions of Italy, Germany and Ukraine – has a population of over 150 million people and encompasses large differences in development, wealth and performance regarding the European energy targets set for 2020. Whilst almost all of the countries examined are on track for meeting their commitments in electricity generation, as a general trend, most are at risk of missing their targets for the heating and cooling sector, and are off track in the transport sector.

The frontrunners in central Europe are Austria and Slovenia, where 30.9 and 18.8 percent of total energy consumption, respectively, comes from renewable resources. Comparatively, Hungary and the Czech Republic are at the back of the pack at 9.1 and 9.4 percent. For energy efficiency, all states of the area have great improvements to make if they are to meet their targets, with some states missing even the basics of an energy efficiency policy framework. 

Tools for cities and regions

In the course of the study, 21 projects and their results were analysed. After an initial screening, the most promising and interesting achievements were selected, based on relevance to the 2020 goals, market appropriateness – in line with an energy Policy Cycle, which was developed as a methodological tool – and transfer potential, amongst other factors.

Greenovate! Europe found that CENTRAL EUROPE energy projects succeed in creating viable policy toolkits for increasing energy efficiency and the use of renewable energies. Transnational CENTRAL EUROPE projects design energy plans and perform pilot actions which are crucial for testing regional solutions. They also assist in strategy developments and help to secure sustainable financial and political support.

The study identifies 31 tools and strategies that have had clear impacts on regional and national policies, with great potential for transfer to other regions. These include the Energy Performance Contracting system established by CombinES for providing energy efficiency investments, the CEC5 Common European Sustainable Building Assessment (CESBA) tool, which was used within the project for renovation of demonstration buildings, and the EnergyCity Spatial Decision Support Tool, which estimates energy use and carbon dioxide emissions for city districts, thus assisting regional policy makers to plan energy efficiency improvements.

Click here to access the Thematic Study on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

For more information on the Study, contact Simon Hunkin.

Annual Conference 2014

With its 2007-2013 programming period complete, the programme will be renewed for the period 2014-2020, with new projects expected to launch in 2015. The CENTRAL EUROPE Programme held its 2014 Annual Conference on 1-2 July in Vienna, with a presentation on the Greenovate! Europe Study given by Managing Director Astrid Severin. The Conference also introduced the priorities and objectives for the period 2014-2020, with a dedicated Low Carbon Axis.