EU-wide Network to Reform the Heat Energy Sector (RegEnergy)
Title: EU-wide Network to Reform the Heat Energy Sector
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF)
Country: Germany, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Spain, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, UK, Russia
Overall term: 2005 to 2007
According to the European Commission, heat energy is the single greatest consumer of mainly fossil and imported fuels. In making heating and cooling available, communities and municipalities play an important role not only as providers of (district) heating, but also as regulators, legislators, planners, investors and consumers. However, new EU member states and bordering regions in particular find themselves facing considerable financial, technical and institutional problems, including non-uniform decision-making structures and inadequate funding.
In order to promote regional development, particularly in regions with structural weaknesses, it is necessary to develop a secure supply of environmentally sound and affordable heat energy. The European Union promoted this process with the project entitled ‘Network of pioneering communities and regions working on innovative heat energy solutions’ (RegEnergy). This was a network of 18 partners, including municipalities, regions, energy suppliers, regional development organisations and research institutes from ten different EU countries and Russia. It was led by the German Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF) and supported by GTZ.
Political decision-makers focus on clear recommendations for action as to how municipalities can reform heat energy provision in their energy sector using political and structural measures as well as targeted financing instruments, and at the same time kick-start regional development for new jobs.
RegEnergy is a practical example of how greenhouse gases can be reduced in the European Union; it made a significant contribution to climate protection. The project pooled the experience of numerous international partners. Seminars, workshops and pilot projects threw a spotlight on the use of renewable fuels and increasing energy efficiency.
Studies were carried out, opportunities for exchanges of information created and improvements to institutional structures and investment potential developed. For example, computer-based assistance is now available to municipalities, enabling selection of suitable projects and measures in the heat energy sector. Best-practice examples served as an illustration and the municipalities received concrete recommendations for action and detailed guidelines for projects of their own.
Results achieved so far
RegEnergy provided the partners involved with various platforms for a lively exchange of information and intensive learning processes. The results were published as web-based guidelines on the project’s web page. Regional and municipal politicians can now search for ideas on how best to implement their own sustainable projects to generate energy for heating and cooling.
The project was successfully concluded in 2007. In 2009 it 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.