Energy education for sustainable urban localities

Working together for a green, competitive and inclusive Europe

Small cities are less prepared to cope with the numerous changes and challenges involved in the energy transition. Therefore, there is a need to increase their level of readiness and adaptation to navigate this process. In this context, the project “Energy Education for Sustainable Urban Areas – ENERTOWN,” funded by Innovation Norway, supports several small urban communities in Romania to enhance their understanding and skills related to renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable energy security solutions for the benefit of citizens. As part of the project, representatives from these local communities will undertake a visit to Norway in October, one of Europe’s leaders in sustainability, for the exchange of best practices.

The ENERTOWN project started in April 2023 and is carried out by the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD), in partnership with the University of Stavanger in Norway, along with ECERA – a non-governmental organization with expertise in energy and environmental policy, and Servelect – a company with expertise in energy management in several small urban areas. The project aims to increase knowledge and build competencies at the level of public authorities, private entities active in the energy market, and civil society organizations to find solutions to energy-related issues affecting the quality of life in small urban areas in Romania through customized training programs. ENERTOWN is being implemented in four small urban communities in Cluj County: Huedin, Gherla, Turda, and Câmpia Turzii, with the objective of transferring the experience gained here to other localities in Romania.

“Small urban communities in Romania face specific challenges that make it more difficult for them to navigate the energy transition process. Small towns cannot go through this journey alone. Their local budget revenues, investment capacity, ability to attract European funding, and the power to access projects and generate initiatives and solutions are limited. Generally, these are towns with relatively poor economies, and local civil society organizations usually lack the necessary strength to generate ideas and connect with larger cities or across borders. Therefore, small cities should not be neglected but supported as much as possible to achieve a truly fair transition in Romania,” said George Jiglău, President of the Center for the Study of Democracy.

The visit to Norway will take place from October 23 to 27, with the exchange of best practices facilitated by project partners from the University of Stavanger. In addition to the project team members, key actors for the sustainable transformation of these small urban communities will participate in this visit, including representatives from local public administration, NGOs, the business community, and the educational sector, including student council representatives. They will visit Norwegian local communities similar in size to those in Romania and have the opportunity to interact with representatives from local government, civil society, the local business environment, and education to discuss the specific challenges of the energy transition in small urban areas and analyze potential solutions for implementation in Romania.

For example, the visit will examine how Norwegian local communities successfully develop joint projects (at the neighborhood or community level) to attract funding and improve residential energy consumption conditions. It will also analyze how energy communities are formed, how capacity for implementing new energy technologies is developed, and how the transition from conventional energy sources to renewables has been achieved. Lastly, it will assess the extent to which vulnerable consumer groups are integrated into these communities and what solutions exist for them.

As part of the project, workshops were held in September in all four cities included in the ENERTOWN project, focusing on energy policies tailored to local specificities within the broader context of the energy transition and climate change. The activities were supported by experts from the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD), ECERA, together with partners from Servelect in Cluj-Napoca. These workshops laid the foundation for future collaborations that will ensure the sustainability of the project beyond its formal completion.

Additionally, as part of the exchange of best practices, in June, a delegation from the University of Stavanger and project team members visited the city halls of Gherla and Huedin, where they met with representatives of local government. Furthermore, the ENERTOWN project offers the opportunity for parallel research, which will be conducted on energy poverty in small urban areas by ORSE experts.

The project “Energy Education for Sustainable Urban Areas – ENERTOWN” is funded by Innovation Norway through the Norwegian Grants 2014 – 2021 (https://www.innovasjonnorge.no, Working together for a green, competitive, and inclusive Europe), under the “Energy Programme in Romania,” with funding of 195,774 EURO and a grant value of 174,696 EURO.

For the Romanian version of this press-release, please consult: https://saracie-energetica.ro/modele-norvegiene-de-bune-practici-privind-tranzitia-energetica-pentru-orase-mici-din-romania/

Small cities are less prepared to cope with the numerous changes and challenges involved in the energy transition. Therefore, there is a need to increase their level of readiness and adaptation to navigate this process. In this context, the project “Energy Education for Sustainable Urban Areas – ENERTOWN,” funded by Innovation Norway, supports several small urban communities in Romania to enhance their understanding and skills related to renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable energy security solutions for the benefit of citizens. As part of the project, representatives from these local communities will undertake a visit to Norway in October, one of Europe’s leaders in sustainability, for the exchange of best practices.

The ENERTOWN project started in April 2023 and is carried out by the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD), in partnership with the University of Stavanger in Norway, along with ECERA – a non-governmental organization with expertise in energy and environmental policy, and Servelect – a company with expertise in energy management in several small urban areas. The project aims to increase knowledge and build competencies at the level of public authorities, private entities active in the energy market, and civil society organizations to find solutions to energy-related issues affecting the quality of life in small urban areas in Romania through customized training programs. ENERTOWN is being implemented in four small urban communities in Cluj County: Huedin, Gherla, Turda, and Câmpia Turzii, with the objective of transferring the experience gained here to other localities in Romania.

“Small urban communities in Romania face specific challenges that make it more difficult for them to navigate the energy transition process. Small towns cannot go through this journey alone. Their local budget revenues, investment capacity, ability to attract European funding, and the power to access projects and generate initiatives and solutions are limited. Generally, these are towns with relatively poor economies, and local civil society organizations usually lack the necessary strength to generate ideas and connect with larger cities or across borders. Therefore, small cities should not be neglected but supported as much as possible to achieve a truly fair transition in Romania,” said George Jiglău, President of the Center for the Study of Democracy.

The visit to Norway will take place from October 23 to 27, with the exchange of best practices facilitated by project partners from the University of Stavanger. In addition to the project team members, key actors for the sustainable transformation of these small urban communities will participate in this visit, including representatives from local public administration, NGOs, the business community, and the educational sector, including student council representatives. They will visit Norwegian local communities similar in size to those in Romania and have the opportunity to interact with representatives from local government, civil society, the local business environment, and education to discuss the specific challenges of the energy transition in small urban areas and analyze potential solutions for implementation in Romania.

For example, the visit will examine how Norwegian local communities successfully develop joint projects (at the neighborhood or community level) to attract funding and improve residential energy consumption conditions. It will also analyze how energy communities are formed, how capacity for implementing new energy technologies is developed, and how the transition from conventional energy sources to renewables has been achieved. Lastly, it will assess the extent to which vulnerable consumer groups are integrated into these communities and what solutions exist for them.

As part of the project, workshops were held in September in all four cities included in the ENERTOWN project, focusing on energy policies tailored to local specificities within the broader context of the energy transition and climate change. The activities were supported by experts from the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD), ECERA, together with partners from Servelect in Cluj-Napoca. These workshops laid the foundation for future collaborations that will ensure the sustainability of the project beyond its formal completion.

Additionally, as part of the exchange of best practices, in June, a delegation from the University of Stavanger and project team members visited the city halls of Gherla and Huedin, where they met with representatives of local government. Furthermore, the ENERTOWN project offers the opportunity for parallel research, which will be conducted on energy poverty in small urban areas by ORSE experts.

The project “Energy Education for Sustainable Urban Areas – ENERTOWN” is funded by Innovation Norway through the Norwegian Grants 2014 – 2021 (https://www.innovasjonnorge.no, Working together for a green, competitive, and inclusive Europe), under the “Energy Programme in Romania,” with funding of 195,774 EURO and a grant value of 174,696 EURO.

For the Romanian version of this press-release, please consult: https://saracie-energetica.ro/modele-norvegiene-de-bune-practici-privind-tranzitia-energetica-pentru-orase-mici-din-romania/