NEWS


The EU STEP Project will present its results next 9 October in Brussels within the 2014 Open Days.

Open days

The event titled How to improve energy efficiency at regional level will present the results of the EU STEP Project- Improving Communities' Sustainable Energy Policy Tools. The event will be organized in collaboration with the Aragon Permanent Representation before the EU based in Brussels and will be developed as one of the actions within the EU INTERREG IVC –STEP, a project focused in improving sustainable energy policy tools for local governments.

The partners of the EU INTERREG IVC STEP project will present the outcomes of the project as well as hand-books and reports on how learning activities, exchange of experiences and improvement in their regional energy policies have been developed thanks to their membership to the STEP project. In addition, project partners will show how the lessons learnt and activities developed within the STEP Project may serve to other EU regions to improve their energy saving local policies.

The event will consist of a 3 hours conference where project partners will present the main results of the STEP project as well as examples of good practice and subject guides. Attendees will be provided with recommendations for improving energy efficiency at regional and local level in the following fields:

1. Sustainable energy management systems;
2. Implementation and adaptation of local experiences;
3. Financing for implementation of energy efficiency policies;
4. Energy efficiency and the new Interreg Europe Programme.

The STEP Project side-event main aim is to promote local policies supporting energy efficiency and energy self-sufficiency derived from national and European policies in order to achieve the EU 20-20 targets by 2020. Therefore, the STEP Project side-event will create a forum for dialogue that will go beyond the STEP Project’s life with the aim of fostering renewable energies and energy efficiency by means of the exchange of experiences among regions (benchmarking).

Sharing regional experiences and best practices for the promotion of renewable energies and energy efficiency

The main aims of the STEP Project are (1) to increase the rate of renewable energies in project partners’ territories; (2) to promote the implementation of policies tending to achieve the EU objectives included in the Energy and Climate Plan 20-20-20; (3) to foster territorial cohesion among project partners according to the existing EU policies for energy and climate change; and (4) to foster at regional level energy self-sufficiency and energy diversification.

The above aims result into concrete products, among which the following may be highlighted (i) the elaboration of a transnational guide of good practices that includes recommendations to be implemented to sustainable energy policies at local level, (ii) the development of sustainable energy management systems, and (iii) the identification of tools to fund the implementation of those systems and policies.

The INTERREG IVC STEP Project will be prolonged until December 2014 and will have a total investment of over 1,2m EUR that will be co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Nine project partners take part at the INTERREG IVC STEP representing 8 regions pertaining to the following countries: Hungary (South Transdanubian Regional Innovation Agency and Local Government of Mohács), Finland (Kainuun Etu ltd, Development Agency), Germany (Saxon Energy Agency), Ireland (Midland regional Authority y Midwest Regional Authority) and Poland (ARLEG Regional Development Agency). Spain is represented in the STEP Project by means of SARGA (Aragon public company that belongs to the Government of Aragon) and INFO (Murcia).

The OPEN DAYS – European Week of Regions and Cities is an annual four-day event during which cities and regions showcase their capacity to create growth and jobs, implement European Union cohesion policy, and prove the importance of the local and regional level for good European governance.

The event was created in 2003 when the Committee of the Regions invited Brussels-based local and regional representations to the European Union to open their doors to visitors simultaneously. One year later the European Commission's DG for Regional Policy also joined the adventure.

Developing from the initial concept, the event has become a European networking platform for experts in regional and local development. Exchange of good practice in economic development and social inclusion, cross-border cooperation, public-private partnerships, regional innovation and community-led local development have become some of its many topics.

Over the years, the OPEN DAYS has grown into the key event on EU Regional Policy. It welcomes some 6 000 participants in October each year (local, regional, national and European decision-makers and experts) for more than 100 workshops and debates, exhibitions and networking opportunities.

In addition to the Brussels-based workshops, some 250 local events are run from September to November all over Europe.

Inscription Eventbrite form is used for registration. Event name in Eventbrite: OPEN DAYS SIDE EVENT. How to improve energy efficiency at regional level with EU funding: STEP Project (Interreg IVC Program) “STEP".



The STEP project was submitted within the framework of EUSEW event in Brussels

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Marina Sevilla

The STEP project was submitted within the framework of EUSEW event in Brussels: The project was presented by Marina Sevilla Tello, General Director of energy and mines of the government of Aragón.


She has explained the goals, the results and our web page in one of the most important meetings during this important event.


Step Project on the thematic wokrshop on energy efficiency

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Energy efficiency

STEP project was represented by the lead partner on the thematic workshop on energy efficiency in Brussels on 9. November 2012. which belong to the Thematic Programme Capitalisation.



The aims of the workshop were to present the state of play at EU level in the thematic field of energy efficiency, in relation to regional policy; to discuss innovative good practices and policies available within the regions involved in the represented projects; and to identify innovative approaches that could be relevant also to other regions in Europe.

One-day conference on street lighting and energy efficiency joins municipalities and comarcas in Calatayud

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Energy efficiency joins municipalities

The Regional Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Environment of the Government of Aragon will host the event tomorrow through SARGA public company. The Conference will be held in the framework of the “Otoño Natural” programme.



The objective of the “2nd One-day Conference on Street Lighting and Energy Efficiency”, which will take place tomorrow 8 November in Calatayud, is to provide public administrations with the keys for choosing more efficient street lighting systems.

The Regional Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Environment organized the event through SARGA company and in collaboration with Philips-Indal company, within the framework of the “Otoño Natural” programme. The major of Calatayud, José Manuel Aranda, will close the conference.

The event will start with a presentation of the European Interreg IVC STEP project, led by SARGA, which aims to improve the sustainable energy policy tools of the local governments and to reach the EU "20-20-20" targets of the Climate and Energy Package in terms of energy consumption reduction, CO2 emission reduction and increase of the use of renewable energies by public administrations.

Improving the energy efficiency of municipal facilities could bring significant economical savings for the local governments. In order to inform these authorities about the possibilities the lighting market offers, the conference will tackle issues such as: intelligent lighting systems (SmartCities); energy saving through new ways of lighting; energy auditing and Energy Service Companies (ESCOs).

New technologies deliver savings of more than 80% in street lighting. In cities, 20% of the energy cost comes from street lighting and, therefore, the saving potential new technologies can offer is very high.

Providing street lighting with intelligence helps improve facility performance and achieve economical and environmental savings, freeing administrations from costs in the medium and long term. The market offers intelligent systems for integrated lighting management, which allow a point-by-point remote control of the quantity and intensity of street lighting following the moment-specific needs.

Moreover, the combination of LED technology and remote management multiplies the benefits: long service life up to 60.000 hours, low energy consumption and the absence of heavy and dangerous metals like mercury. The saving potential of bringing these two innovations together may be higher than 80%.

At the same time, new funding models for technological innovation emerge, such as the Energy Service Companies (ESCOs), which provide energy services while taking some financial risk. In this business model, financing costs are covered by the savings due to the higher efficiency of new technologies.




The Government of Aragon participates in a European project on energy efficiency.

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Sustainable energy

SARGA will collaborate with eight partners to develop sustainable energy policy tools for the local context. These actions have a budget of 218.000 euros, of which 75% is financed by the European Union and 27.000 euros by the regional ministry of Industry and Innovation of the Government of Aragon.


SARGA will collaborate with eight partners to develop sustainable energy policy tools for the local context. These actions have a budget of 218.000 euros, of which 75% is financed by the European Union and 27.000 euros by the regional ministry of Industry and Innovation of the Government of Aragon.

The Aragonese Governing Council approved the signing of a cooperation agreement between the Regional Ministry of Industry and Innovation and the Aragonese Society for Agri-environmental Management SARGA, a society resulting from the merger between SIRASA and SODEMASA. The agreement is aimed at co-financing the implementation of the European IVC-STEP project. This project has a duration of three years and seeks to improve the sustainable energy policy tools of the local authorities and to reach the EU "20-20-20" targets of the Climate and Energy Package in terms of energy consumption and CO2 emission reduction and increase of the use of renewable energies.

Actions are planned to meet these goals, like the gathering of experiences in energy policies which could be used as a model for energy saving and efficiency, as well as the development of good practices guides in three thematic areas: sustainable energy management systems, adaptation of the experiences to local circumstances and the achievement of funding.

Nine partners from eight regions of Hungary, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Poland and Spain join the project, the latter being represented by Murcia’s Energy Management Agency and the public company called SODEMASA (Aragonese Society for Environmental Development, now SARGA after the merger with SIRASA).

The actions to be developed by SARGA within the framework of this initiative –preparation of a study and identification of good practices and successful experiences in the field of energy, newsletters, regional benchmarking and development of regional plans - will cost 218.238 euros, of which 75% will be funded by the European Commission. The remaining 25% (54.559 euros) will be borne 50-50 by the regional ministry of Industry and Innovation and SARGA (27.279 euros each). The Industry department’s support to the STEP project will complement the actions included in the Aragon Energy Plan, that has as one of its main pillars the saving and efficient use of energy.



Almost 80% of the energy consumed in Aragon is renewable

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Renewable energies

Aragon is the Spanish leader in renewable energies. Almost 80% of the energy consumed in this autonomous region is renewable. Within the framework of the European STEP project, an international meeting of experts is currently taking place in Zaragoza, to learn from other regions how to be more efficient and effective in this field.



Zaragoza.- The Aragonese capital city is hosting these days a meeting of international experts in renewable energy policy development at the local level, organized by Sodemasa, a public company, within the framework of the European Interreg IVC-STEP project. The aim is to show what Aragon region undertakes, while learning from other European regions at the same time. Aragon is a national pioneer when it comes to renewable energies: almost 80% of the energy consumed in this autonomous region is renewable.

The director general of Energy and Mines, Marina Sevilla, opened the meeting of the partners of the mentioned project, focused on the improvement of the sustainable energy policy tools at the local level. Director Sevilla indicated that the main goal is to "share experiences" in order to produce a practical guide for setting up "renewable energy generation projects, energy saving projects and energy efficiency projects".

The project duration is three years. The kick-off meeting and the first meeting took place in Hungary, the second meeting was held in Zaragoza. Sodemasa’s European project director, Carlos Franco, assured that the EU selected Aragon because of its "great potential" according to sun, wind, altos hidráulicos and mountains.

Franco pointed out that the potential of Aragon and its Government’s focus on renewable energies and collaboration with local entities made that this region currently has a leadership position in renewable energies. Quien ha indicado que el 80% de la energía que se consume en la Comunidad es renovable.

With the aim of remaining at the forefront, Aragon opts for learning from Europe’s leading regions in this field. Project partners are, among others, Hungary, Germany, Ireland, Finland, and Italy. "Aragon will learn from all of them to maintain its leadership role", Franco revealed.

Sevilla confirmed that Aragon soon will comply with the objectives that the EU expects to meet by 2020. As an example she stated that 18% of primary energy consumed in Aragon comes from renewables, while the EU aims to reach its target of 20% by 2020.

However, Sevilla highlighted that “there are still things to do” in this field. The pending tasks she referred to are energy saving, the defense of the use of coal and its sustainable use, among others.

STEP project is funded by the European Union and consists of nine partners, representing eight regions belonging to Hungary (South Transdanubian Regional Innovation Agency and Local Government of Mohács), Finland (Kainuun Etu ltd, Development Agency), Germany (Saxon Energy Agency), Ireland (Midland Regional Authority and Midwest Regional Authority) and Poland (ARLEG Regional Development Agency). Spain is represented by Sodemasa company, as well as by Murcia’s Energy Management Agency.

Start of STEP project

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STEP Project

Start of the European project STEP, focused on the “Improvement of sustainable energy policy tools in local governments” and in which 9 partners from 6 European countries participate.

The STEP project was elected last year in the INTERREG IVC call and counts with a 1’2 million euros funding from the ERDF.

The start-up of the INTERREG IVC STEP project took place last March 2012. The project aims to improve the sustainable energy tools at local level. It has nine partners from six European countries: “STRIA" South Transdanubian Regional Innovation Agency Non-for-profit Ltd (Hungary); Kainuun Etu Ltd (Finland); Saxon Energy Agency (Germany); the Energy Management Agency from Murcia (Spain); the Environmental Development Company from Aragon (Spain).; Arleg S.S. Regional Development Agency (Poland); Midland Regional Authority and Mid-West Regional Authority (both from Ireland) and the Local Government of Mohács (Hungary).

The STEP Project will be developed in the period 2012-2014. It counts with 1,2 million euro funding form ERDF. It focuses in the exchange of experiences with the aim to identify problems and in the development of good practices to improve sustainable energy policy tools.

The main aims of the STEP project are:
To create a set of regional good practices that may help to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions,
To increase the amount of renewal energy in project partners regions,
To boost the implementation of policies that may contribute to achieve the EU objectives 20-20-20 and,
To support territorial cohesion among participant regions according to the European policies on energy and climate change by promoting energy self-sufficiency and energy diversification.

The specific objectives of the project are:
To improve national, regional and local policies on sustainable energy;
To exchange and transfer practical actions at political level;
To create an inter-regional global political Guide on sustainable energy at local level and energy management systems;
To support the execution of sustainable energy actions by means of the identification of the most suitable funding possibilities;
To make a good practice transference on interregional development policy by means of the elaboration of specific implementation plans in each of the participant regions;
To develop and strengthen the capacities of local authorities in sustainable planning and implementation; and
To boost subsidiarity and cooperation among the different decision-making levels (local, regional, national).

Sharing regional experiences enables to claim the role of regions in sustainable energy policies.



EVENTS

Open Days. Brussels. 6-9 October 2014

How to improve energy efficiency at regional level by STEP Project (Interreg IVC Program) “STEP. Improving Communities' Sustainable Energy Policy Tools”

This event will consist of a conference 3 hours. The partners will present the STEP project its main results, examples of good practice and subject guides. Attendees will dispose of recommendations for improving energy efficiency at regional and local level in three areas:

1. Sustainable energy Management systems;
2. Implementation and adaptation of local experiences;
3. Financing for implementation of these policies
4. Energy efficenciy anthe the new Interreg Europe Programme.

The main goal of this Side Event will be fostering local level policies supporting energy efficiency and energy self-sufficiency derived from national and european policies in order to achieve the EU 20-20 by 20 targets

Inscription Eventbrite form is used for registration. Event name in Eventbrite: OPEN DAYS SIDE EVENT. How to improve energy efficiency at regional level with EU funding: STEP Project (Interreg IVC Program) “STEP".

 

2nd Aragon meeting of the partners of the European INTERREG IVC STEP project on renewable energy policies and energy efficiency in rural areas

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2nd Aragon meeting (Spain)

The meeting was held on 27 September in the Bayeu room of Zaragoza’s Pignatelli building, the headquarters of the Government of Aragon. Several members of this Government participated in the public event: Marina Sevilla Tello, director general of Energy and Mines of the regional ministry of Industry and Innovation and Luis Marruedo Esqueja, director general of rural development of the regional ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Environment. Public company SARGA was represented by Manuel Ruiz Montoya, managing director, Carlos Franco Uliaque, head of the European Projects Office, Alicia Sánchez-Valverde Moreno, technical project manager and Javier Sancho Royo, technical expert in special plan development. Finally Rita Temesvári, project manager of the lead partner, represented the rest of the project partners.


Subsequently, a project-sharing meeting was held, during which all European partners exposed their contributions to each of the project’s components and during which agreements were made on project technical progress.


On 28 September, a study visit was made to the comarca of Somontano with the aim of presenting an example of renewable energy implementation and energy efficiency in street lighting there. In Barbastro city, the facilities of the heated swimming pool were visited, among which 96 solar thermal panels supplying sanitary hot water for the changing rooms and for heating the water of the pool. At the Conference Centre, a 15kW solar photovoltaic panel system was showed, providing the centre with electric power.


According to Energy Efficiency in street lighting, SINAPSE company gave a real presentation of the street lighting remote management program installed in all of Somontano’s municipalities. Thanks to this centralized system, the street lighting of all municipalities can be managed from one computer, without the need to be physically present.


The above mentioned actions are part of the Pilot Plan for Rural Development in Aragon, directly managed by SARGA Company, in collaboration with the comarca and the municipalities. Wherever implemented, they resulted in very considerable –and sustainable- savings in overall expenditure.


Subsequently, the project partners went to “WALQA Technology Park” in Huesca, where all the Park’s activities in the field of technology and R&D&i were presented and several research facilities could be visited, like the Hydrogen Foundation of Aragon, where they showed how hydrogen is generated and stored to be used for different vehicles like electric bicycles or karts later.


The meeting was closed with a clear definition of the good practices to be contributed by each of the partners and the new commitments to be realized before the next meeting in Finland in April 2013.

 

STEP Second Steering Committee in Zaragoza (Spain)

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Basílica del Pilar, Zaragoza (Spain)

The first transnational meeting of the STEP Project (after the kick-off) is going to take place in Zaragoza on the next 27th and 28th of September.


During this encounter, all the project partners will be handing their achievements and the coming out of dissemination tools as the Web Page of the project.

 

STEP Kick-off Meeting and Conference in Pécs

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Pécs, Hungary

The first event of the STEP project was organized in May 2012 in Pécs, Hungary by the South-Transdanubian Regional Innovation Agency. This was the first time when all the partners meet each other personally and start to work on the project implementation.

On the first day the partnership hold an internal meeting where the aims, activities of the project and the plan for the next months were discussed in details. There were presentations about the management and financial issues, dissemination and communication activities and the professional contents of the project. In the evening there was a sightseeing tour organised to the downtown of Pécs for the partners to get to know each other better.

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Participants

On the second day there was the international kick-off conference in the topic of sustainable energy policies where beside the partnership the relevant stakeholders and wider public were invited. After the opening speech of Mr. János Kovári parliamentarian, Municipality of Pécs (HU), the STEP project was introduced to the audience. There were professional presentations from experts, who have extensive technical knowledge and years of experience in energy issues and policies. Mr. Balázs Borkovits from the South Transdanubian Regional Development Agency (HU) talked about the supporting opportunities for effective energy management at municipalities in the South-Transdanubian Region.

 

Then Mr. Paul Kenny the expert of the Tipperary Energy Agency (IR) explained how Ireland's leading municipality reached 33% savings thanks to the sustainable energy management. The aspects of the topic in Pécs were presented by Mr. dr. Péter Merza (Urban Development Nonprofit Ltd. of Pécs - HU). Mr. Björn Wagner the colleague of the German Saxon Energy Agency held a presentation on the experience of Dresden. The conference, following the introduction of the nine partners, ended with the lectures of 2 professors of the Pollack Mihály Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology University of Pécs, Dr. László Fülöp and Dr. József Vajda.
We are thankful for the honoured presence and contribution at the event of the speakers and the participants.
 

STEP Communication seminar in Sofia

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Sofia, Bulgaria

The first seminar of the STEP project communication was organized in April 2012 in Sofia, Bulgaria. In this first seminar moved the foundations of what would be the project communication plan INTERREG IVC "STEP" IMPROVEMENT TOOLS COMMUNITIES'SUSTAINABLE energy policy, in addition to identify the main objectives of the partners and the European commission.
The purpose of the Communication Plan shall be to ensure that strategic planning and efficient management of activities, and communication and dissemination will be available to members since the beginning of the project.
The need to communicate and disseminate the activities and results of a project is not just a requirement imposed by the European Commission; it is also in the interest of the partners involved in the project.

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Comunication Seminar

Different motivations can be defined, based on this perspective:
From the viewpoint of the European Commission, it must be underlined that the initial conception of the programmes already poses the need to execute projects with an impact and a multiplying effect, which go beyond the time or territorial limits of the entities involved in the project.
There is a second element on the motivation of the European Union relating to making its investment visible: announcing itself, approaching the citizens, guaranteeing transparency and facilitating access to the programmes.


From the viewpoint of the partners of a project, there is a two-fold motivation:
Internal communication, so that all the partners feel the project as their own and are aware of the obligations and benefits it can bring about.
External communication and dissemination, whose basic aims are to disseminate the activities and bring them closer to the end beneficiaries, increasing the value of the project.
All partners must play an active role in the communication and dissemination strategy. The strategy must be posed for each participant region on a local, national and European level. It is necessary to foresee the adaptation to the different national and local contexts.