Cities "have largest potential for renewables"

EU should require local action plans to stimulate urban renewable projects, says association

EU member states should be forced to adopt local and regional renewable energy action plans as part of the forthcoming renewables directive, a conference of European cities concluded last week. Organised by Energie-Cités, a grouping of EU municipalities involved in energy saving initiatives, the meeting concluded that the greatest potential for growth in renewable energy generation was in urban areas.

Held in Verona, Italy, the Energie-Cités seminar showcased innovative projects from around the EU. According to Mariàngels Pérez Latorre of the European Commission's energy directorate, who spoke at the seminar, "prospects for market penetration [of renewables] are the urban areas," despite being considered a rural form of energy until relatively recently.

There are several reasons for the shift in focus, she said. On a technical level, urban areas consume more energy and their buildings can incorporate more passive and active solar designs. Politically, local authorities tend to have more autonomy in cities and can thus cut red tape in introducing schemes.

Follow Up:
Energie-Cités, tel: +32 2 544 0921.

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