Market failures and public ownership options in the European municipal energy transition
There is a paradox at the heart of Europe’s ambition to achieve a municipal energy transition. On the one hand, there is recognition of the importance of municipal and community action to tackle climate change. It is widely recognised that the local level – the scale of everyday life – is a critical policy space for developing strategies for achieving an energy transition. From our work on the MPOWER project, however, it is evident that while municipalities are keen to set ambitious targets and goals, without supportive infrastructure and policies at national and European levels that are not driven by marketisation imperatives, they will struggle.
Nottingham’s plan to win the race to carbon-neutrality
Nottingham is a historic English city in the East Midlands region with about 331,000 inhabitants and a wide range of sporting and cultural venues. The city and its Council have made headlines in recent years for leadership and innovation around the low-carbon and energy agendas. Building on recent successes, the City Council declared a climate and ecological emergency, and set a nationally leading target to reach sustainable carbon neutrality by 2028, 22 years before the nation-wide goal. To reach this ambitious target, the Council has been taking bold steps: it introduced a levy on workplace parking spaces to help fund the expansion of a low-carbon tram network, continues to engage citizens in a year of carbon neutral thinking and the ongoing development of their 2028 Carbon Neutral Action Plan, and is committed to planting 50,000 new trees.
Rijeka: The energy transition of Croatia’s seaport
Rijeka is Croatia’s most important seaport, and, with a population of 128,000 people, the country’s third-largest city. The city’s economy is largely dependent on shipbuilding and logistics. Selected as the European capital of culture in 2020, Rijeka is working hard on an energy transition.
Public-public partnerships and deep energy retrofits: The case of Porto Region
The metropolitan area of Porto consists of 17 municipalities in northern Portugal which are home to 1.7 million people. Its Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) from 2012, drawn up as part of its membership of the Covenant of Mayors initiative, defines its goals as follows: compared to the 2005 baseline, CO2 emissions will be reduced by 25% in 2020, while energy efficiency is expected to increase by 20%. Additionally, renewable energy sources are anticipated to grow by 30%.[i] Like many other local SEAPs, these targets go way beyond the targets set by the European Commission. In order to reach them, the 17 municipalities work together with local agencies to initiate an energy transition steered by public institutions.
Komotini’s plans for a climate-friendly future
Komotini is a municipality in north-eastern Greece with just under 60,000 inhabitants. Still recovering from the effects of the financial crisis of 2008 and dealing with the resulting financial restrictions, the municipality is now planning to take its energy supply into its own hands. With an impressive track record of active citizenship and a fruitful cooperation between the administration and residents, there are high chances that these plans will soon be put into practice.
Litoměřice: Two decades of working towards a just transition in the Czech Republic
The city of Litoměřice has for a long time been a frontrunner in the Czech energy transition. A former port town not far from Prague, which has now become a commerce and service centre, the city of some 25,000 inhabitants began its energy transition in 2000 with a subsidy scheme for solar water heaters in private homes. 20 years later, Litoměřice is becoming a climate-friendly role model for the Czech Republic and the Central European region.
New ways for the energy transition – the Viennese approach
The city of Vienna and its wholly-owned energy provider are testing a range of participatory approaches to meet the city’s decarbonisation goals. From sustainable urban planning, through geothermal engineering to blockchain technology, Vienna is contributing new ideas and sustainable solutions for the city of tomorrow.
A democratic transition to renewable energy in Cádiz
As in many other Spanish cities, two new left parties (For Cádiz Yes We Can and Winning Cádiz) took over the local government of Cádiz in an unprecedented election in May 2015. They inherited many economic and social problems such as high levels of debt and unemployment.
The local energy agency and support for self-consumption drive energy transition in Pamplona
Pamplona is the capital of the autonomous province of Navarra in northern Spain. With 200,000 inhabitants, it is the biggest city in the region. In recent years, the local government has made considerable efforts to phase out fossil fuels, extend renewable energy generation and increase energy efficiency. In 2019, Pamplona declared a climate emergency.
Frankfurt’s energy transition: Passive houses, a CO2 budget, and an app to collect residents’ ideas
It is vital for both citizens and the environment that Frankfurt becomes more climate friendly. The municipality’s goal is a 95% carbon emissions reduction by 2050 compared to 2010 and a halving of energy use in the same time frame. The administration has put multiple plans and processes in place to put the city on the right pathway, including a ‘Masterplan 100% climate protection’.
- Market failures and public ownership options in the European municipal energy transition
- How Križevci’s residents created Croatia’s first crowdfunded solar power plant
- Nottingham’s plan to win the race to carbon-neutrality
- Rijeka: The energy transition of Croatia’s seaport
- Public-public partnerships and deep energy retrofits: The case of Porto Region