Freiburg Outreach - Local Renewables empower the energy revolution

The participants of the conference adopted a final document declaring Local Renewables to be of utmost importance for local governments.

It argues that 100% sustainable energy is a reality in model communities.

It provides 8 arguments for local community leaders to use Local Renewables

It urges local governements to step up the pace on taking action.

It asks for a support framework at the national and European Union level.

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Policy Background

European agreement on a new energy policy

The 2007 Spring European Council demonstrated that the EU is taking the lead in the fight against global warming. EU heads of state and government adopted an energy policy for Europe which doesn't simply aim to boost competitiveness and secure energy supply, but also aspires to save energy and promote climate-friendly energy sources. 

EU leaders set a firm target of cutting 20% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 - the EU will be willing to put this goal up to 30% if the US, China and India make similar commitments. EU leaders also set a binding overall goal of 20% for renewable energy sources by 2020, compared to the present 6,5%.

A binding minimum target of 10% for the share of biofuels in overall transport petrol and diesel consumption by 2020 was also set.

"We can say to the rest of the world - Europe is taking the lead. You should join us in fighting climate change", declared European Commission President José Barroso on the occasion. > Learn more

Context - EU goals and strong communities

The European Climate Policy, the newly released Energy Package 2007 and the goals of the EU Sustainable Development Strategy all impact on local communities.

Develop a sound understanding from practical experiences of local governments and leading experts on how communities can pursue a sustainable, competitive and secure supply of energy.

 

Impacts on Local Governments

About Local Renewables

Local Renewables (LR) is a term coined by ICLEI to indicate how local governments can have a more active role in the way energy is generated, distributed and used in their communities.

With the increasing need to move towards decentralised energy provision, local authorities face various challenges and opportunities in accelerating the use of renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency (EE) measures, also combining these with energy conservation.

History of the Local Renewables Initiative

At the International Conference for Renewable Energies 2004 in Bonn, Germany (www.renewables2004.de), ICLEI signed a cooperation agreement with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The German government accepted the project “Local Renewables Model Communities Network” as an official conference outcome.

Two documents relevant to local authorities were published at renewables 2004:
- Local Governments’ Renewables Declaration 
- Local Government Issue Paper for the Multistakeholder Dialogue of renewables 2004

Current activities

This Local Renewables Freiburg 2007 Conference is a continuation of the activities, within the framework of ICLEI’s Local Renewables Initiative (www.local-renewables.org).

Why should a local government change to sustainable energy?

  1. Cost effectiveness: Reduce energy demand and use energy more

    efficiently, thereby saving money. Consider steadily increasing prices

    for oil, coal, natural gas - rather use local clean resources. Minimise

    energy transmission and distribution costs.

  2. Practical

    solutions: Options and expertise are available, the technology is

    proven, use the wide range of RE sources, use clean energy.

  3. Local

    development: Strengthen the local economy, create sustainable

    development opportunities and jobs, particular in the SME sector.

  4. Secure

    energy supply: Renewables provide diversified and decentralised local

    energy options. Consider the threat of terrorism and reducing potential

    large targets.

  5. Effective CO2 reduction: Climate protection is a

    global priority. And local action is needed to reduce the human impact

    on the environment.

How to implement effective local solutions:

- Climate protection and adapting to inevitable climate change, improving community resilience.
- Security of energy supply through diversification and decentralisation.
- The optimal use of locally available energy resources.
- Transitioning to a locally sustainable energy economy.
- Improvement of local policies to increase the percentage of renewable energy.
- Community involvement.
- Framework conditions from the national and European level: low risk, high yield

Local authorities: key players in sustainable energy

Local authorities can and should play a central role in promoting sustainable energy: they have a clear mandate to guide their communities, provide services and manage municipal assets.

Change is needed to move forward in the area of sustainable energy – requiring clear strategies, effective policies and regulations, as well as well-considered implementing actions. Together with stakeholders, local authorities need to find ways to reduce local energy consumption, implement energy efficiency measures and switch to renewable energy sources. This is also important when considering how communities can support achievement of European energy targets.