Background

Planning for energy transition is an interdisciplinary and urgent issue, requiring the integration of the energy theme into the everyday work of public administration, including spatial planning transport policies, waste management, human health etc. Doing so not only begs an integrated approach, but also a participatory and multilevel governing process. Tensions between interests and stakeholders often rise without an adequate resolution strategy. These tensions may hinder the transition once plans and policies become concrete in action plans, projects and implementation. Such tensions manifest themselves as social conflicts and in failures to implement plans and policies.

Effective and efficient planning for the energy transition, thus, can greatly benefit from allowing an open and creative process of confronting formal decision-making with the places, stakeholders and communities they aim to affect or activate. This goes beyond investigating how objectives and ambitions of plans might be translated into the fine-grained realities of places and communities. It also goes beyond investigating how stakeholders and communities can provide input into formal policies. 

ACTiVATING STAKEHOLDERS

2ISECAP is explicitly about activating and utilizing local and regional stakeholders and communities to be active participants in the energy transition.

The creation of an institutional environment (i.e. a governance structure) that can combine the democratic legitimacy and legal power of formal plans and policies with the creativity, energy and social capacity of (bottom-up) initiatives, entrepreneurship and community involvement will definitely add great value to the energy transition and ensure its success. 

Objectives

Introduce a Holistic Approach to SECAP Planning that will support Participatory and Integrated sustainable energy and climate actions planning (i.e. area-based planning), while considering required institutional tools, local initiatives, legal frameworks and funding arrangements.

Study, enhance the understanding and identify critical success and failure factors regarding the effective mobilization of citizens and stakeholders to become partners in local plan and policy development and the delivery thereof (including climate and energy coalitions).

Design the Governance Structure required to establish the holistic (participatory and integrated) approach to SECAP Planning as an operational and institutionalized structure. The proposed structure will be a co-creation environment, supporting multilevel and interdepartmental governance and local citizens and stakeholder participation (i.e. a Quadruple Helix Model), to develop social innovation.

Provide proof on the proposed Integrated SECAP planning approach by applying it to six European Municipalities, situated in six different Member States of different size and type and with different socio-economic, geographical and economic settings, in order to: i) develop and enhance their integrated sustainable energy policies (SEAPs, SECAPs or alike), ii) based on their Integrated SECAPs, support them to assess their capacity to be involved in the 100 Climate-Neutral Cities by 2030 initiative, and iii) support them to co-create and submit an application for a Climate City Contract

Activities

To achieve its objective 2ISECAP will:

  • Study the capacity of formal plans and policies to activate and work with local energy initiatives and coalitions for implementing proposed actions in the various regions involved. 
  • Analyze local and regional community initiatives and larger societal coalitions focused on energy transition and climate actions, in order to identify how they came to be, function and perform, their existing relations with formal governments, formal plans and policies.
  • Examine the development of institutional capacity  within local/regional government and its relationship with social capacity (i.e. networks and assets that facilitate citizen awareness, private sector involvement and cooperation for mutual benefit).
  • Identify institutional capacity measures, including governance structures and tools to be considered and provided by local/regional governments to support energy and climate bottom-up initiatives and coalitions.
  • Study the suitability of existing urban management approaches and spatial planning tools for introducing/facilitating sustainability and energy transition, in different area-based characteristics and in adapted ways to specific local needs, socio-economic conditions and environmental constraints.
  • Develop a Holistic Approach to SECAP Planning that roots SECAPs in the specificity of local and regional spatial and socio-economic conditions, enhancing its links with spatial planning in every local society. This approach will be based on a multi-level, interdisciplinary and co-creation process, supported on a district/ neighborhood approach as a new planning framework to foster integrated local action.
  • Apply the developed approach to assess and revise the Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans of six  European municipalities and enhance their understanding on how formal governments do or can engage with or become part of local energy and climate initiatives, coalitions and communities in developing and implementing integrated sustainable energy and climate actions planning concepts.
  • Develop guidelines and policy recommendations in relation to the development of Integrated SECAPs, targeting spatial planning, but with explicit attention to the possible role of other crucial policy fields (e.g. transportation, agriculture, poverty)
  • Increase awareness, assess the effectiveness and perform up scaling actions for the 2ISECAP holistic planning approach.
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