This facility supports municipalities that have signed up to the Covenant of Mayors (CoM), a voluntary initiative that commits local authorities to reducing their CO2 emission by 20% by 2020. It provides grants as well as technical assistance to selected energy efficiency projects.
Why are Demonstration Projects needed?
The programme was developed in response to the challenges facing small towns of less than 200,000 residents that have signed up to the Covenant of Mayors. Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAP) are the key documents that set out how each municipality will reach its CO2 reduction target. Many cities in the Eastern Partnership region, however, do not have the technical or financial capacity to implement these Plans.
Demonstration projects show how cities can effectively turn their SEAPs into practical action. Seeing how energy efficiency strategies are implemented in practice leads to the identification of best practices that can then be applied elsewhere.
Actions in brief
What are Demonstration Projects?
Following a two-stage competition, the European Commission selected 19 projects involving 22 municipalities. Each leading organisation or town signed a grant agreement with the Commission ranging from €400,000 to €1.2 million, for a total budget of €18.4 million.
The selected projects focus a range of areas, such as for example energy savings through building refurbishment (Rustavi, Armenia); upgrading district heating systems (Gola Prystan, Ukraine); introducing energy-efficient street lighting (Polack, Belarus); upgrading public transport (Kramatorsk, Ukraine); improving energy efficiency in waste water systems (Chausy, Belarus); as well as providing technical, procedural and networking assistance through a Support Team. The programme is part of the Sustainable EU’s Municipal Flagship Development Initiative, which aims to strengthen the capacity of local authorities to implement energy efficiency plans, promote good governance and encourage financial accountability in the Eastern Partnership countries.
In a second round of funding, 14 new projects were selected with a total budget of €13.8 million. Besides the thematic topics from the first phase, also several projects are dealing with production of renewable energy (solar/PV received financing). The projects started in early 2018 and will run for two to three years.
Who stands to benefit?
Municipalities involved have received the financial, logistical and technical means to carry out sustainable energy efficiency projects that will mean reduced operational costs and energy bills for for municipalities and thus citizens, while being better for the environment through reduced CO2 emissions. The Programme also runs continual trainings, webinars and supervision to improve capabilities in the municipalities on issues such as energy management, site supervision and carrying out assessments. Lessons from these demonstration projects will help other municipalities to identify possible solutions to rolling out their own SEAPs.