The just transition as a beautiful challenge for municipalities

What can European municipalities learn from each other to build a fair, clean and democratic energy transition? A lot, as our recent mPOWER event proved. On 29 and 30 November, 17 municipalities from all across Europe came together to celebrate the conclusion of the mPOWER Exchange programme. For more than a year, they had been learning together about how to take local leadership in creating a clean, fair and democratic energy system. This blog article recaps the highlights of the celebration event.

Empowering local communities through partnership in Meath

Community spirit has always been strong in Ireland; from pre-electrification days where farmers would help each other bring in the harvest to modern times where communities work together to create a cleaner, greener environment under such initiatives as ‘Tidy Towns’. Most recently, during Covid-19, this community spirit and willingness to help has drawn citizens together to support each other and protect the most vulnerable in society. Likewise, any energy transition and climate action must practise justice and inclusivity, to include everyone on this journey.

How Greater Manchester plans to reach carbon neutrality by 2038

The city-region of Greater Manchester is made up of ten local councils (Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan) and the Mayor. Known as the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), it works together with other partners and local services on issues that affect everyone in the region, such as the environment, transport, regeneration, and attracting investment.

Tampere: engaging housing co-ops and residents in the drive towards carbon neutrality

Tampere has always pioneered sustainable technologies in Finland and is using this experience to drive forward an ambitious programme to become carbon-neutral by 2030. Due to the high levels of heating required in this cool region, the city engages a variety of stakeholders to renovate residential buildings to improve energy efficiency, among other actions. These measures are already bearing fruit and moving the city closer to achieving its goal.

Municipal actions for building energy democracy and energy sovereignty: Municipalist Manifesto from 2020 onwards

This blog introduces the 16 proposals put forward in the Municipalist Manifesto for building energy democracy and energy sovereignty locally, presented by the Catalan Network for Energy Sovereignty (Xse) and the Transnational Institute. The Municipalist Manifesto aims to be a tool that can be used as a guide by (municipalist) citizens platform, municipal councils and opposition parties, organisations and collectives, and any person who wishes to take action.

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.

How Križevci’s residents created Croatia’s first crowdfunded solar power plant

The Croatian city of Križevci is becoming a national pioneer in the fight for clean energy and against energy poverty. Located not far from the capital Zagreb in central Croatia, the municipality is home to about 21,000 people, half of whom live in the city itself and half in the surrounding rural areas. Križevci is the first Croatian city to implement a crowdfunded renewable energy project, an endeavour that has made it a beacon in the country, with many others now looking at how to replicate the success story. 

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.[1] 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.

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.