Innovative and environmentally sound heat energy solutions

In the EU, supplying consumers with heat energy is often the task of the municipalities. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Finance, GIZ assisted an EU-wide network of municipalities and other stakeholders to move towards an environmentally sound and efficient heat energy supply.


In the EU, the municipalities play an important role as providers of (district) heating and cooling but often face considerable financial, technical and institutional problems. These include inadequate financing instruments and a lack of coherent decision-making structures. Reforms in the heat energy sector are therefore urgently needed in many places. In order to develop a secure supply of environmentally sound and affordable heat energy, particularly in structurally weak regions, the European Union’s INTERREG programme supported a project entitled Network of Pioneering Communities and Regions Working on Innovative Heat Energy Solutions (RegEnergy). The project was initiated by the Federal Ministry of Finance in 2005 and implemented by GIZ. It was successfully concluded in 2007.

The project aimed to increase the use of renewable energies and improve energy efficiency.

A total of 18 partners from 10 EU countries and Russia formed a network in which municipalities, regions, energy suppliers, regional development organisations and research institutes could share their experience and exchange information. To facilitate this process, GIZ organised seminars, workshops and forums, initiated pilot studies, commissioned software tools to assist municipalities, and published the results of the project on the website at the end of the project term. The website provides practical recommendations for action by municipal and regional policy-makers along with detailed guidelines for their own initiatives aimed at achieving a sustainable supply of energy for heating and cooling.

In 2009, RegEnergy was a finalist in the EU competition for the RegioStar, which is awarded to the most innovative projects in the context of EU cohesion policy.