European Energy Network (EnR) meets to discuss national and local level action on sustainable use of water and energy

EnR Seminar “Promoting energy and water use reduction at national and local levels” was held in Lisbon on June 8

EnR Session | Promoting energy and water use reduction at national and local levels (2022.06.08, Monument of Discoveries, Lisbon)

The European Energy Network (EnR) held its first in person meeting in over 2 years in Lisbon on June 7-8. After a first day of fruitful discussion on collaborative action between Energy Agencies, on the second day, the network hosted a seminar on energy and water sustainable management and use at a national and local policy level (speaker presentations below).

The President of EnR, Nelson Lage (ADENE, Portugal) welcomed guests and highlighted the role of energy agencies in the ecological transition, as enabling agents acting between international and local level, to balance the three dimensions of the energy trilemma: security, affordability and sustainability. The event was opened by the Secretary of State for Environment and Energy, João Galamba, described the vision for national-local level governance towards decarbonization in 2050: “Energy agencies work to mobilize local authorities, economic players, and citizens to fight climate change, to foster cities’ pivotal role to deliver the EU Green Deal”.

The keynote speaker, Paula Abreu Marques, Deputy Director at DGENER of the European Commission, outlined the REPowerEU roadmap, stressing that higher ambition and targets for both renewables and energy efficiency, as well as more investments in electricity and hydrogen networks will be required at a faster pace, to increase energy security and reduce EU gas consumption.

On a first panel, the member agencies of EnR from France (Phillipe Masset, ADEME), Malta (Manuel Sapiano, EWA), The Netherlands (Marian Poolen, RVO) and United Kingdom (Philip Sellwood, EST , moderated by Nelson Lage, described how they are working towards a faster transition. Agencies highlighted efficiency as the key message, but also how we need to start addressing sufficiency and changes to our lifestyles, and the critical need to lead by example, as a powerful public engagement tool.

The second panel, moderated by economy journalist Ana Suspiro (Observador), discussed local level challenges and concluded on the need to accelerate the transition by leveraging cities’ initiatives and their capacity to act fast on the ground. Panelists included Miguel Castro Neto (Lisboa E-Nova), Paulo Ferrão (IN+/IST ), Kerstin Schilcher (Austrian Energy Agency), Frédéric Boyer (Covenant of Mayors) and Dinis Rodrigues (European Investment Bank), presented solutions and current challenges. Topics mentioned ranged from data-driven policy making, the power of city networks to leverage more impactful climate action at a faster pace and how funding opportunities available can unlock further savings for cities and climate change mitigation targets.

The event was closed by the Minister of Environment and Climate Action, Duarte Cordeiro, who highlighted the role of cities at the forefront of the energy crisis, with local governments in a better position to guarantee active participation of citizens with information and guidance, while energy agencies are essential to design and support energy and water saving schemes that can be adopted locally.