Newsletter 06/2014



The EU STEP Project presented its results on 9. October in Brussels within the 2014 Open Days.

The event titled “How to improve energy efficiency at regional level” presented the results of the EU STEP Project- Improving Communities' Sustainable Energy Policy Tools. The event was organized in collaboration with the Aragon Permanent Representation before the EU based in Brussels and was 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 presented 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 had been developed thanks to their membership to the STEP project. In addition, project partners showed 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 consisted of a 3 hours conference where project partners presented the main results of the STEP project as well as examples of good practice and subject guides. Attendees were 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 was to promote local policies supporting energy efficiency and energy self-sufficiency derived from national and European policies in order to achieve the EU 20-20-20 targets by 2020. Therefore, the STEP Project side-event created a forum for dialogue that aims to 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).


On 9th October 2014, the Closing Conference of the STEP Project was held in Brussels alongside the annual Open Days. The Conference was opened by Mr. Tamás Kocsis, Managing Director of the South Trans-danubian Regional Innovation Agency; Ms. Isabel Cebrián, General Director for Citizen Participation within the External Action and Cooperation Division of the Government of Aragon; and Mr. Carlos Franco, responsible for Strategic Projects in SARGA.

The opening session was followed by a round table in which discussions where developed on the new programming period of INTERREG EUROPE and the STEP Project main outcomes were show-cased. That round table was moderated by Mr. Carlos Franco and counted with the following speakers: Ms. Ilaria Piazza, JTS INTERREG IVC; Ms. Rita Temesvari, South Trans-danubian Regional Innovation Agency; Mr. Paul Kenny, Tipperary Energy Agency. Ms. Ilaria Piazza made a presentation on the EU Interregional Cooperation and explained the state of play and perspectives ahead. Ms. Rita Temesvari outlined the main results of the STEP Project. Mr. Paul Kenny shared pilot actions developed by the Tipperary authorities in energy testing performance audit tools. Mr. Carlos Franco closed the round table by going through the communication and dissemination activities of the STEP Project and making a brief summary of the presentations made by speakers. After a coffee break, a second round table was held, where the conclusions of the STEP Project were announced and the future of local sustainable energy policies was discussed. The second round table was moderated by Ms. Majella O' Brien and the following speakers took the floor: Mr. Armin Verch, Energy Agency of the Federal State of Saxony; Mr. Rafael Ataz, representative of the Murcia Regional Development Agency; Dr. Jouni Ponnikas, Regional Development Expert at the Regional Council of Kainuu; and Mr. Martin Eibl, Project Officer for Horizon 2020 & Intelligent Energy Europe Programmes, EC. Mr. Martin Eibl made a presentation on the Energy Strategy for Europe and the EU financing opportunities at local and regional level; Mr. Armin Verch started a discussion on how to improve energy efficiency in municipal buildings without investment and explained the experience of Saxony on that matter. Mr. Rafael Ataz highlighted the need for better implementation of sustainable energy policies at local level; and Dr. Jouni Ponnikas shared the policy impact that the STEP Project had displayed in Kainuu. Ms. Majella O'Brien closed the second round table by making a presentation on sustainable energy management systems and making a brief summary of the previous presentations.

The Final Conference of the STEP Project ended with a closing session in which the following speakers took part: Ms. Rita Temesvari, Senior International Project Manager of the South Trans-danubian Regional Innovation Agency; Ms. Marina Sevilla, General Director of Energy and Mines of the Government of Aragon; and Mr. Carlos Franco, Strategic Projects of SARGA. Mr. Carlos Franco acted as chairman of the session and gave the floor to Ms. Rita Temesvari, who thanked all the attendees to the event. Last, Ms. Marina Sevilla made briefing comments of what the STEP Project had meant and closed the session by encouraging all members to keep on working together in the important field of energy saving and energy efficiency.

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

The main aims of the STEP Project were (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 resulted into concrete products, among which the following may be highlighted (i) the elaboration of a transnational guide of good practices that included 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 was prolonged until December 2014 and had a total investment of over 1,2m EUR that was co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Nine project partners took part at the INTERREG IVC STEP project 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 and Midwest Regional Authority) and Poland (ARLEG Regional Development Agency). Spain was represented in the STEP Project by SARGA, the Aragon public company that belongs to the Government of Aragon and the Regional Development Agency of Murcia Region (INFO).

The OPEN DAYS – The European Week of Regions and Cities is an annual four - day event along 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.


Good Practice transfer for PP8, SERA, Mid-West Office.

The Southern & Eastern Regional Assembly, Mid-West Office, (formerly Mid-West Regional Authority); have imported GP8, Municipal Energy Managers. The GP was identified and further investigation took place on the practical implications on importing this good practice.

It has been recognised for a number of years that the largest area of expenditure for Local Authorities is water. This expenditure grows rapidly when we look at the Leisure Centre area. In Ireland, the majority of Leisure centres are owned either partly or wholly by the Local authority. Therefore, we need to look at this area to investigate how we can limit or at least reduce the amount of money being spent on the Leisure Centres.

After a SWOT analysis was conducted on the proposed GP transfer, it was clear that there was potential for the successful transfer to take place. Consultation took place with the relevant stakeholders and the implementation plan was created as a result of their input. After more detailed information was received from SEANA, the training programme for the Leisure centre managers was agreed upon.

Also, it is worth noting that there is no official Community of Practice for Leisure Centre managers in place in Ireland. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland officially hosts a community of practice for Energy managers (EnergyLink), which covers topics such as lighting, pumping, heating etc. on their website, but there is no such format for Leisure centre managers.

A series of 3 Masterclasses were put together for the good practice transfer. Leisure Centres in Limerick, Tipperary and Clare were contacted and letters of commitment were signed by Senior staff in all 3 local authorities indicating their willingness to send staff to all masterclasses.

Mr. Richard Morton, Energy Manager with Tipperary Energy Agency created the content for the Masterclasses and delivered the classes, with assistance from Mr. Michael Bell, Tipperary Energy Agency; and Mr. Paul Overy, (AHU specialist).

- Masterclass One focused on the following topics:
• Review baselines and EPI's.
• Bill Analysis & Data Monitoring and Measurement.
• Energy Audit Procedure for Leisure Centres.

- Masterclass Two focused on the following:
• Space heating and Air Handling Unit's (AHU’s).
• Pool Water & Hot water systems.
• Site visit.

The Site visit took place in Tipperary Town municipal swimming pool. Mr. Paul Overy who gave the presentation on the Space heating & AHU’s and Pool Water & hot water systems; showed the participants a practical example of his earlier presentation.

- Masterclass Three, which was the final class focused on the following topics:
• Boilers, CHP & Plant Room.
• Management of Assets.
• Lighting.

As well as the delivery of the Masterclasses, a Dropbox folder was put together for the participants where they could access all of the training material after the classes had taken place.

Leisure Mangers with both novice and expert knowledge in energy attended the COP. The training for the COP was well received and was full of good engagement. Many of the attendees now plan to perform upgrades based on the knowledge shared between both trainers and individuals. Good feedback was received from the course attendees and they all left with ideas to reduce existing energy issues.


The Midland Regional Authority got in touch enquiring about the Masterclasses. They are interested in delivering a similar programme in their region, as they can see the benefits for the Leisure centre managers taking part. Interest in the course has been shown by the National Body for Energy in Ireland who are interested in holding a similar event on a more National level, and Mr. Morton has been asked to conduct a number of Audits of Leisure centres as a direct result of this Good practice transfer.



STEP Newsletter Article, BMW Regional Assembly (formerly MRA), PP7

A Community of Practice (CoP) for Public Lighting operates across the Midlands Region with the 4 Public Lighting engineers meeting regularly to share experiences and discuss opportunities with regard to improving the energy efficiency of the Public Lighting stock in the region.

The responsibility for Public Lighting has only in recent years been taken on by the Local Authorities. Historically the National Electricity Supplier, ESB, has been the sole service provider for the installation, maintenance and energy supply of public lights in Ireland. Local Authority professionals are building expertise in this area; maintenance is contracted out to third parties and energy supply is governed by National Procurements competitions.

In 2013 Public Lighting became the most Significant Energy User (50%+) for Local Authorities with the establishment of Irish Water, a national water utility and their responsibility for all water assets.

The Midlands Region CoP commenced a program of LED retrofit upgrades to towns, villages and some National Routes after a successful application for Grant Funding under the SEAI (Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland) Better Energy Communities 2014 scheme. Over 200 lights were upgraded from high wattage sodium fittings to energy efficient LED’s at a total project cost of €381,527. The Grant funding was 50% of the project costs with the match funding being provided by the individual local authorities and on one project by the NRA (National Roads Authority). The projected annual energy savings across all projects is 235,617kWh and €47,123. Paybacks average 6-7 years.

As part of the STEP project implementation plan, the Midlands Regional Authority adopted a regional policy to “assist local authorities and other stakeholders in developing EE solutions and stimulating the increased uptake of renewable energy sources through the EPC market”.

The public lighting project implemented one aspect of this model by using EPRP (Energy Performance Related Payments) in the supply contracts for the LED’s. 5% of the contract price is withheld by the local authority until they are satisfied that the projected energy savings have been verified. An EPRP is a guarantee of a measurable improvement in energy efficiency that the product will meet. EPRP’s should facilitate funding for EE projects from local authorities as it shows that consideration has been given to measuring the savings and managing the performance risk.


INFO Murcia: the role of regional coordinators for the “Covenant of Mayors”

In the frame of the EU initiative COVENANT OF MAYORS, “Covenant Coordinators” are those public administrations which provide strategic guidance, financial and technical support to municipalities signing up to the Covenant but lacking necessary skills and/or resources to fulfil their requirements.

Alongside financial assistance, “Covenant Coordinators” typically support signatories in conducting CO2 emission inventory as well as in preparing and implementing their Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPs)

Covenant Coordinators usually are decentralised authorities, such as regions, provinces or grouping of local authorities, as well as national public bodies such as national energy agencies. INFO Murcia, public development agency belongs to the Regional Ministry of Industry, Tourism, Enterprises and Innovation in the Murcia region, has taken over this role since mid-2013.

Covenant Coordinators are considered by the European Commission as key allies of the Covenant of Mayors Office, as they play a decisive role in reaching out to local authorities in their territory and providing signatories with the technical, financial, administrative and political support necessary to fulfil their commitments.

The main support activities provided by INFO Murcia to signatories are, among others:

Promote adhesion to the Covenant of Mayors
- Leverage of own communication tools (e.g. newsletter, website, mailing lists, etc.)
- Organisation of events.
- Provide technical support for the development of the BEI/SEAP.
- Development or adaptation of technical guidelines.

Spanish Forum of “Covenant Coordinator” under the auspices of the “Covenant of Mayors”

Hundred per cent of local authorities in the Murcia region (45 municipalities) are signatories of the Covenant by October 2014

As reported, this activity developed by INFO Murcia as “Covenant Coordinator” is fully in accordance to the main aims of the STEP project:

- 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.

Furthermore, INFO Murcia is involved in "MAYORS ADAPT – the Covenant of Mayors Initiative on Climate Change Adaptation”, initiative launched by the European Commission in March 2014 which supports local authorities in leading the way on adaptation to climate change. Municipalities signing up to the initiative commit to contributing to the overall aim of the EU Adaptation Strategy by developing a comprehensive local adaptation strategy or by integrating climate change adaptation measures into relevant existing plans.

The European Commission recognises the entities acting as “Mayors Adapt Coordinators” as key allies in conveying the main messages of the initiative and increasing its overall impact. These Coordinators are defined as those public authorities that are in a position to provide Mayors Adapt Signatories with strategic guidance, political and technical support to fulfil their commitments, namely the preparation, adoption and implementation of a local adaptation strategy.

In this context, INFO Murcia is currently working so as DG CLIMA publicly acknowledges INFO in its quality of Mayors Adapt Coordinator for local authorities in the Region of Murcia.

Further information on Mayors Adapt initiative can be found at, and information about the first signature ceremony, celebrated on October 16th 2014 in Brussels can be found following the link below:

Newsletter 05/2014



The Division of Strategic Projects of SARGA currently works in the operation of one of the first public solar power systems in Spain for on-site consumption. The first of them is operational since 5th May and is located at the County Hall of Alto Gállego counting with 20 kW power. It must be highlighted that proportional decrease in the electric consumption of that building was identified from the very moment the system started working.

After that experience, additional solar power systems of 10kW connected to individual use were put into operation in the City Halls of Leciñeña and Alfamén. Soon, more solar power systems in between 5 and 20kW will be put into operation too, reaching a total of 50 systems. As a result, the use of sun power will enable the decrease of electricity consumption and the savings thereby made will have a direct impact on citizens.

Besides the above mentioned solar power systems –whose main novelty consists in their connection to the grid for individual use within their building– another 19 plants connected to the distribution grid were executed being some of them already in operation since early 2014.

In addition, the experience gained in those projects is being shared with the European partners of the Interreg IV STEP Project as well as disseminated as best practice in different national and international fora.




On 27-28th May 2014 STRIA organized a study visit for SARGA in order to get a deeper knowledge about the renewable energy intentions and opportunities of the Municipality of Martfű (small town with 6800 inhabitants) and Budapest (capital city of Hungary with 1.735.000 inhabitants). The occasion was due to that both cities have their Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) and members of the Covenant of Mayor. Aragon region in Spain has a significant region-centre (Zaragoza) and the other part of the region is mostly built up of mini villages. So the 2 different Hungarian cases provided proper examples for the Spanish delegation. Mr Eduardo Perez, Head of the Energy Planification Department, Government of Aragon represented the regional authority and Mr. Carlos Franco Uliaque represented the partner company SARGA, Aragon Company of Agro-environmental Management S.L.U.

In Martfű we had a consultation at the Mayor’s Office, where we heard about the conscious energy policy, energy oriented developments and plans of the town. Moreover the expert of ENERREA Energy Agency, who co-ordinated the elaboration of their SEAP, introduced the process of the SEAP preparation. We had the chance to take a closer look into the geothermal energy system of the local Martfű Thermal SPA. The municipality take the energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources as priority and put great emphasis on the information and awareness-raising of the citizens. During the consultation at the Municipality of Budapest, the host energy experts informed the visitors about the Hungarian energy features and Budapest’s opportunities and the main characteristics of the capital’s SEAP. We could visit the most successful sustainable energy project of Budapest: In 2011, the Széchenyi Thermal Bath, Budapest Zoo and the local district heating company joined forces to reduce the carbon emission of the Zoo and spare on energy costs by realizing the heat and hot water supply of the Zoo with the collaboration of the Spa. The Zoo could cover a large part of its heat demand from a cheaper and safer energy source. The Spa could save a significant amount that would have been spent on the cooling system of the thermal water coming from the well (around 75 °C) and can make profit from delivering heat energy to the Zoo. The district heating company has gained a new partner and strengthened its sustainable energy supply profile




The ELENA Programme was launch in 2009 by the European Commission and is managed by the European Investment Bank (EIB). It consists in a grants line up to 2 Million euro per beneficiary, which allows the entity offering technical support in Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Sources investment projects. It is focused on public bodies and private companies.

This support is not only in the field of technical engineering, but also includes legal support, in the public procurement processes, and financial support, for preparing feasibility studies or following the financial claim from a bank, for example.

The ELENA facility’s main condition is to fulfil a leverage factor of 20 with the investments amounts. That is, the project might boost 20€ of investment per each euro supplied by the EIB. The ELENA-FUENSANTA Project, managed by INFO (Regional Development Agency of the Region of Murcia), includes more than 100 investment projects in the fields of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Sources, mainly in the building and public lighting sectors of the 45 regional municipalities.

Most of these investments should be carried out through ESCO (Energy Service Company) models, based on Energy Performance Contracts. This kind of contract permits the municipalities to develop the projects without making any investment of their part. The investments are made by private companies (ESCOs), obtaining a payback with the energy saving costs.

The approved budget for this support is 1.767.769 €. The EIB covers 90% of this amount, that is, 1.590.992 €. The investment program is to be developed during a three year period, beginning in December 2013. This program will permit the creation of near 600 new qualified jobs apart from those required for the contractual commitments between municipalities and ESCOs.

The leverage factor means a total investment amount of 31.819.840 € to fulfil the EIB’s requirements.

Main advantages of the ELENA-FUENSANTA Project for the Region of Murcia

The ELENA-FUENSANTA Project approval leads to suppose a great opportunity for the Region of Murcia because of the following reasons:

1. It permits to finance a technical support to public administration in Energy field.
2. It will help to develop a new economic sector based on the Energy Service Companies (ESCOs), which require hiring new qualified workers.
3. These investments will reduce the current energy costs of the involved public administrations.
4. The creation of near 600 new qualified jobs in the Region of Murcia.
5. The fact of having a ELENA facility offers the possibility of getting new financing instruments in collaboration with the European Commission.
6. The ELENA-FUENSATA approval implies per se the European recognition of the Energy Policies in the Region of Murcia.




The Cloughjordan Eco Village project was launched in 2000 with the aim of creating a model community as a template for future development. To date 53 homes have been built on a 67-acre with an additional 50 sites to sell. There is an eco-hostel, an eco-enterprise unit, a 12 acre farm, a community woodland, research gardens and allotments, a solar park and a district energy facility. Educating people in the benefits of developing and living in a sustainable community is an important source of income for the residents.




In 2009 locals commissioned a Community Development Plan which resulted in locals contributing to the financing of a planning application for wind farm development in 2003. Although planning was granted without any local objection, it was not all plain sailing, when the group was in the process of seeking access to the national grid, a moratorium on connections was announced, which would last for a period of three-and-a-half years.


By which time, the turbines they had originally selected were no longer being manufactured, so another planning application had to be submitted in 2007, which was approved by An Bord Pleanala in 2009. A finance package was put in place with Rabobank and a two-turbine 4.6 megawatt (MW) wind farm was developed over the course of the past decade at a cost of €6.2m.

The turbines began producing electricity in 2012 and it is hoped that investors will see a return in six to eight years time, dividends from the community shareholdings will result in cash being ploughed into local causes. There are ongoing costs associated with operating the turbines, including an €80,000-a-year maintenance contract, insurance, rent and local authority rates.

Today, the wind farm is providing enough electricity to power 3,000 homes for a year.




Project partner meeting in Ireland, hosted by the two Irish partners in the STEP project: the Midwest Regional Authority (MWRA) and the Midland Regional Authority (MRA). This partner meeting included a Site Visit on 19th March 2014, Steering Committee meeting on the 20th March and a Thematic seminar on 21st March.

For the site visit on 19th March, the STEP partners visited the following locations: Eco-Village in Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary; Private Wind farm in Templederry, Co. Tipperary.

At the Eco Village in Cloughjordan, the partners witnessed an eco-efficient community living in the Irish countryside. The Village is inhabited by like-minded people who are passionate about living in an Eco friendly fashion. The project partners were taken on a guided tour of the Village by some of the residents, so were given an opportunity to talk to the residents in an informal manner.

Cloughjordan Ecovillage brings together a diverse group of people creating an innovative new community in North Tipperary. We're doing this in a way that is democratic, healthy and socially enriching while minimising ecological impacts.

Our 67 acre site includes beautiful and fertile land where we grow our own food, and plants and trees to promote biodiversity. The ecovillage comprises of the following:

- More than 53 low energy homes and work units to date, with planning permission for a total of 132 units
- A solar- and wood-powered district heating system
- 50 acres of land designated for allotments, farming & woodland
- A green Enterprise Centre
- Hi-speed broadband
- An eco-hostel for visitors called Django's
- One of Ireland's only Community Supported farms

While on location in Cloughjordan, Mr. Michael Malone from the Midland Energy Agency gave a demonstration of a Hydraulic Ram pump (used for water); that can be used without electricity. The Hydraulic Ram Pump is a simple but brilliant technology which has been around for 200 years. It can be used to pump water in agricultural, horticulture and for garden features. Within the pump water hammer is created by the manipulation of two non-return valves. Ninety percent of the water passing through the pump provides this force which drives the other ten percent of water through the delivery pipe. Mr. Malone had constructed the pump, and demonstrated to the group how easily this could be done.

Mr. Michael Woulfe, Senior Executive Engineer, North Tipperary County Council gave a presentation to the group after the visit to Cloughjordan. Mr. Malone informed the group about the work done by North Tipperary County Council in their efforts to reduce their Co2 emissions. All public bodies in the EU are working on reducing their emissions by 33% by 2020, and Mr. Woulfe informed the group that North Tipperary County Council had achieved the reduction 6 years ahead of time. Mr. Malone told the group that one of the key reasons they had achieved these savings ahead of time is the presence of Tipperary Energy Agency and their advanced approach to working with the Local authority and the communities in Tipperary. North Tipperary County Council will continue their efforts and build on the achievements they have gained to date. North Tipperary County Council has completed almost 50 projects, and these projects amount to over €1 million investment. The projects which have achieved the Energy efficiency are listed below:

- Building Stock – improved energy efficiency of majority
- Social housing stock – 50% stock (800 houses) upgraded (8.3% upgraded nationally in 2013 was in Tipperary, more than twice national average)
- Water treatment plants – all large pumps made more energy efficient
- 80% oil use converted to wood heating (saving of €240k pa, 16% biomass heat in Tipperary is used by NTLA)
- Simple actions - turn off power/electrical appliances

Templederry Wind Farm is a private wind farm owned by a community of farmers living in the locality. One of the key issues affecting wind farm development is the acceptability by the local community. It is widely thought that this can be overcome by the community getting involved in the wind farm, and benefitting directly from the green electricity being generated. Therefore, community ownership is critical to the future of wind farms in Ireland. One of the key benefits of renewable energy that is often quoted is the ability for these energy sources to be developed at a local level bringing local benefits. However, it is often the case that this particular benefit can often be the most difficult to maximise. Templederry Community Group in Co. Tipperary, Ireland was seeking to develop wind energy as part of the ‘Environmental Protection’ goal within their Community Development Plan. A feasibility study was completed on wind energy, the community group then purchased an anemometer and erected this on a site, selected in conjunction with the Tipperary Energy Agency (TEA).

The group started producing Green Electricity and selling it to the grid in November 2012. It is proposed that the project will be 100% owned by the local community with dividends from the project being re-invested to support other community activities. This is the first community owned wind farm in operation in Ireland. The STEP partners who visited the wind farm saw the wind turbines first hand and were lucky enough to be allowed to enter one of the turbines! This was a real treat for all who attended.

The Steering Committee meeting and Interregional Working Group meeting took place on Thursday 20th March and was held in the Absolute hotel, Limerick. The meeting went very well with partners giving updates on their Good Practice transfer. There was plenty of discussion on the different transfers and some misunderstandings were cleared up, so everyone is now on the right track to implementing their Good Practice transfer. Partners also discussed collaboration for future project proposals/initiatives. Discussion took place on the different funding streams and their relevance to the area of Energy Efficiency.

On Friday 21st March, the Thematic Seminar was held. This thematic seminar focused on Innovative Financing tools for Sustainable Energy. The seminar was attended by almost 50 delegates and a summarisation of the speakers and the topics of their presentations is given below:

Mr. Alan Ryan, Public Sector Programme Manager, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI): “An overview of the National Energy Services Framework”. Mr. Ryan spoke about the National Energy Services Framework which is aimed at improving the energy efficiency market in Ireland and sets out a roadmap for how energy efficiency projects and the energy performance contracts process are being developed.

Mr. Matthias Wagner, LEADER-Regional Management Leipziger, Muldenland: “Regional, Rural, Renewable. Financing Tools for energy projects in Muldenland Region (Germany)”. Mr. Wagner told group about the achievements of his region; that is a 100% Renewable Energy Starter region since 2011. This has been achieved mainly through the work and appointment of Energy Managers in the Region.

Mr. Francisco Bernabé Pérez, Mayor of La Union, Region of Murcia: “ESCO public private investment model: the case of La Union”. Mayor Pérez told the group about the various differtn measures in place in La Union that are helping with Energy Efficiency, and reducing Co2 emissions. Among the examples Mayor Pérez told the group about, and also showed several photographs on were: Public lighting scheme, Wind Turbines, Solar power, waste water treatment and heating. Mayor Pérez also told the group about the reclamation of the beach and area around the mines that once were in operation in La Union.

Mrs. Irmeli Mikkonen, Motiva (Expert in Energy and Material Efficiency, Finland); “Voluntary Tools for increasing energy efficiency in Finland”. Motiva is an expert company in Finland that promotes efficient and sustainable use of energy and materials. In Finland, Energy Efficiency Agreements 2008 – 2016; are voluntary agreements in place, and these form a flexible tool to implement national energy and climate strategy and some EU policies related to the energy efficiency. Mrs. Mikkonen explained about the benefits for companies and other organisations to join agreements, which are listed below

- Flexible, target oriented and systematic procedure to improve energy efficiency and to save in costs
- Possibility to prove energy efficiency to environmental authorities
- Energy audits and energy efficiency investments for those joined the agreement scheme are subsidised by the government

Ms. Marina Sevilla, General Director of the Energy and Mines of the Government of Aragon; “Renewable Energy Plan of Aragon, State of situation, objectives & Funding tools”. Ms. Sevilla gave a presentation on the Aragon Energy Plan 2013 – 2020. This plan does not include specific projects, but is an Indicative Plan on how the situation needs to be managed. The following areas need to be focused in in the area of Energy Efficeicney in the Aragon area of Spain: PRODUCTION with Renewable Energies and clean tech; CONSUMPTION: efficient and responsible; INFRASTRUCTURES: production, transport, distribution, stocking and consumption, supply and transference; To contribute to economic growth (of the energy sector and other sectors); Job creation; while all the time bearing the following in mind: Be careful not to change energy dependence for technology dependence; and the need to send correct signals to civil society. In summarisation, Ms. Sevilla stated that Energy is a force for Social and Economic Development and Territorial Balance.

Mr. David Hourihane, Sustainable Development Capital Ltd.; “Financing Energy Efficiency Projects”. Sustainable Development Capital Ltd. invest in Energy Efficiency projects and in some cases provide 100% of the up-front capital cost of installing energy efficiency systems and equipment. They work with end users and energy services companies to identify, structure and invest in non-domestic energy efficiency projects. SDCL has established specialist funds in the UK, Ireland and Singapore. SDCL has established its funds in each country in partnership with government as an investor, promoter or guarantor. The funds seek attractive levels of investment return by financing the capital cost of energy efficiency retrofit projects in return for a savings achieved, creating enduring operating cost savings, carbon emissions reductions, compliance with current and future buildings regulations and improvements to productivity and asset values.

Mr. Xavier Dubuisson, XD Consulting; “Covenant of Mayors – Kerry County Council experience”. Mr. Dubuisson told the meeting about the experience of Kerry County Council applying for the Covenant of Mayors. He explained that for a local authority or region to become part of the Covenant of Mayors; that a Sustainable Energy Action Plan had first to be agreed within the region, and this plan contained many details and objectives the region would need to commit to achieving. Once part of the Covenant of Mayors, Regions could be eligible for EU funding for various projects relating to Energy efficiency.

Mr. Michael Malone, Midlands Regional Authority; “Laois County Council, Road Recycling Project”. Mr. Malone gave a presentation on a project implemented in Laois County Council utilizing Road Recycling for the Restoration of Local and Regional Roads This project aimed to evaluate and prove the effectiveness of In-Situ Cold Recycling for the restoration of Local and Regional Roads. On the 13th of November at the Excellence in Local Government Awards Laois County Council won the award for sLocal Authority Economic Efficiencies sponsored by CBRE for this Recycling project.

Mr. Paul Kenny, CEO Tipperary Energy Agency; “Launch of MWRA GP transfer”. Mr. Kenny from Tipperary Energy Agency briefly explained the Good Practice that the MWRA were transferring in their area. The MWRA will transfer the Good practice from the German partners, which refers to the appointment of dedicated Energy Managers to work in Leisure Centres in the Region. Energy Managers will be trained and given tools to use to ensure the energy usage in the Leisure centres is monitored and more importantly reduced.


Newsletter 04/2013



The latest meeting of the STEP project was held in October 2013 in Murcia, Spain. Three events were organized during that week, as already planned. The first event was the 4th Steering Committee and the International Working Group Meeting of the STEP project, which was held the 16th October, 2013. It was organized by the Regional Development Agency of the Region of Murcia, INFO. During this meeting, the partnership dealt with technical aspects to discuss amongst the participating entities, such as financial and administrative issues, a review and group decision on the communication and dissemination strategy for the project, a discussion on the transfer methodology for good practices and the Policy Practice Guide, and the results on the energy performance audit tool which have been tested by three of the partners.

On the 17th October it was held the 2nd Thematic Seminar “Local sustainable energy concepts and actions plans”, where almost all the municipalities of the Region of Murcia were represented. Experts for the partner entities presented their good practices and answered to the questions asked by the attendees. A very interesting exchange of experiences and initiatives took place, as well as potential collaborations for future actions were considered.

The same day, as closure of the gathering, two technical visits were organized, as the STEP partners to get to know two exemplary initiatives in the Region of Murcia: the demonstration plant of the MEDICOOL project, a LIFE+ project using solar collectors to fuel a cooling system that keeps a regular temperature on a warehouse for products with special requirements; and the case of a public swimming pool of Beniel, a small municipality, using a biomass fired boiler to keep the temperature requirements of the facilities as strategy of sustainable energy.




Capitalization is one of the key subjects in the New Programming Period and also at present due to the possibilities for the sustainability of present actions and projects.

STEP was offered a cooperation in order to foster and further develop the main outcomes of the project widening its main geographical scope. During the technical meeting, STEP partners were able to get to know a project co-financed by the MED Programme, PROFORBIOMED, a project in which INFO is partner. This Strategic project, with 18 partners from 6 different European countries, aims for the promotion of forest biomass as an energy resource and for the development of technical and legal aspects.

Thus, STEP project and PROFORBIOMED project show a high potential for collaborating, through the exchange of proven success experiences, or even a tighter collaboration with those partners especially interested in the sustainable energy production and their socioeconomic implementation.

A presentation of PROFORBIOMED project was delivery in during the Steering Committee of STEP and a draft of a capitalization agreement was sent to project partners. The document further shared during the 6th Steering Group Meeting held in Valencia with the participation of all the project members and circulated among STEP partnership.

Finally, the text was approved and now the document is to be signed by the Lead partners of STEP and PROFORBIOMED on behalf of the whole of the partnership. This is an example of cooperation among different EU Programmes and projects in capitalization of the results.

On the other hand, STEP was invited to participate on 21st November to an event in Brussels to participate with other INTERREG IVC projects in the same axis. To this event, SARGA took the role and explain the main contents of the project and was supported in the meeting by INFO Partner through the Regional Office in Brussels who was attending the event.

Municipal Energy Management in Saxony

A professional municipal energy management can reduce energy consumption and energy cost by 10 % - 20 % in public buildings. These savings can be achieved by using non- and/or low-investment measures.

If the municipal energy management is combined with energy saving projects e.g. in schools, additional 10 % savings can be achieved. This contributes to the EU 20-20-20 targets and relieves municipal finances.

The municipal energy management is focused on:
  - A monthly registration, analysis and publication of energy and water consumption of all public buildings
  - Optimizing system installations
  - Seminars for janitors
  - Removing technical and organizational weaknesses
  - Projects to raise awareness among the building users

To successfully implement a municipal energy management an “energy officer” is required. The “energy officer” is a public employee with the Know-How to manage system installations and organizational issues.

To build up the necessary Know-How, extensive training is needed.

Pilot projects in Saxony

The Saxon Energy Agency – SAENA started the implementation of a municipal energy management in two pilot regions (Westlausitz and Leipziger Muldenland). The STEP project made it possible to start an integrated training courses for 25 public employees from 20 municipalities, providing them with the necessary Know-How. The integrated training course included 6 seminars covering 5 topics. The training started with organizational processes in public administrations. The following seminars covered the development of a monthly energy consumption controlling, optimizing system installations and the preparation and presentation of energy reports. Furthermore, raising user awareness and sensitizing building users towards a more economical and efficient use of energy, was part of the training.

The municipal “energy officers” need 10 % - 20% of their working hours, to implement the municipal energy management.

The two pilot regions consist of small and medium sized municipalities in rural areas. The municipal energy management is a good opportunity, since employing additional personnel is mostly not an option.

The partnership process and an energy action plan

The public sector program in Ireland is driven by the National Energy Efficient Action Plan (NEEAP) with a requirement to save 33% energy efficiency by 2020.

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) provides a range of supports to meet this target. One of these supports is their partnership program. In return for a commitment from senior level to an energy management program, an organisation can avail of advice mentoring and assessments from the SEAI for up to 4 site audits.

As part of the partnership process, Laois County Council has developed an Energy Action Plan. This plan identifies projects across all functional areas from their Register of Opportunities that they are committed to achieving over the course of the plan. Technical assistance is offered by the Midland Energy Agency to those sections that require it. 32 projects have been selected for the plan from Public lighting projects, waste water plant upgrades & Landfill Gas utilization.

The Energy Team will meet regularly to review the progress of the projects over the course of the plan and identify any barriers to completion.

STEP newsletter article, Dec 2013:

The Mid-West Regional Authority were responsible for the preparation and joint testing of an energy audit methodology for public buildings under Component 4 of the STEP project. The audit methodology prepared by the MWRA was tested in three regions: MWRA Ireland, Arleg Poland and Mohacs Hungry. The following three buildings were audited:

Nenagh Civic Offices, Nenagh Ireland. This 6,018m2 public office was constructed in 2003-2004 to a high energy efficiency specification. It is the headquarters for North Tipperary County Council and facilitates 350 employees.

School Complex, Krotoszyce, Poland. This 1,939m2 public school has two sections, the front part of the building is from the beginning of the 20th century and a new segment was built 1980s, and attached to the building from the west and facilitates 215 occupants. Significant scope for refurbishment of the building was identified.

Mayor’s building of Mohacs, Hungry. This 1,763m2 protected structure was built from 1924 to 1926, and so far no major modernization was done concerning the building structures, therefore the building has very poor thermal characteristic. It facilitates 84 employees.

Overall the Joint Testing Energy Audit Methodology was well received and followed closely. No major difficulties were encountered and all 3 regions identified significant scope of energy efficiency improvements which is the primary aim of an energy audit. In summary the following cost and consumption savings were identified in the test regions:

The finding’s clearly illustrated the significant gains to be realised from conducting detailed energy audits of public buildings, whilst highlighting the importance of alternative energy funding solutions to ensure the opportunities identified can be realised.


A professional municipal energy management can reduce energy con-sumption and energy cost by 10 % - 20 % in public buildings. These sav-ings can be achieved by using non- and/or low-investment measures. If the municipal energy management is combined with energy saving projects e.g. in schools, additional 10 % savings can be achieved. This contributes to the EU 20-20-20 targets and relieves municipal finances.

The municipal energy management is focused on:
- A monthly registration, analysis and publication of energy and water consumption of all public buildings
- Optimizing system installations
- Seminars for janitors
- Removing technical and organizational weaknesses
- Projects to raise awareness among the building users

Pilots projects in Saxony

The Saxon Energy Agency – SAENA started the implementation of a mu-nicipal energy management in two pilot regions (Westlausitz and Leipziger Muldenland). The STEP project made it possible to start an integrated training courses for 25 public employees from 20 municipalities, providing them with the necessary Know-How. The integrated training course in-cluded 6 seminars covering 5 topics. The training started with organiza-tional processes in public administrations. The following seminars covered the development of a monthly energy consumption controlling, optimizing system installations and the preparation and presentation of energy re-ports. Furthermore, raising user awareness and sensitizing building users towards a more economical and efficient use of energy, was part of the training.

The municipal “energy officers” need 10 % - 20% of their working hours, to implement the municipal energy management.

The two pilot regions consist of small and medium sized municipalities in rural areas. The municipal energy management is a good opportunity, since employing additional personnel is mostly not an option.



The public sector program in Ireland is driven by the National Energy Efficient Action Plan (NEEAP) with a requirement to save 33% energy efficiency by 2020.

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) provides a range of supports to meet this target. One of these supports is their partnership program. In return for a commitment from senior level to an energy management program, an organisation can avail of advice mentoring and assessments from the SEAI for up to 4 site audits.

As part of the partnership process, Laois County Council has developed an Energy Action Plan. This plan identifies projects across all functional areas from their Register of Opportunities that they are committed to achieving over the course of the plan. Technical assistance is offered by the Midland Energy Agency to those sections that require it. 32 projects have been selected for the plan from Public lighting projects, waste water plant upgrades & Landfill Gas utilization.

The Energy Team will meet regularly to review the progress of the projects over the course of the plan and identify any barriers to completion.



Since the inclusion of Kainuun etu oy., in the STEP project, Kainuun stepped into and continues to forge a progressive growth in its dedication to improving its sustainable energy goals as well as implanting policies supporting such goals.

Kainuu has today is driving force sustainable energy efficiency and self-sufficiency and this position has been further supported and witnessed through the STEP project. The main aims of the STEP project clearly coincide with the regions interests:

• 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 STEP goals are already implicit within the current standing and activities of Kainuu. To date the region’s objective of renewable energy is to raise the share of renewables in total energy consumption to 38% by 2020 from 29% in 2010 and to 47% in the case of heating and cooling from 37% in 2010. This clearly places the region in pole position in regards to its full commitment to the EU’s 20-20-20 directive

Kainuu’s significant advance and ambitious goals in the use of renewable energy sources can be set as an example to other regions throughout the EU. Recognition however of this feat is only possible through close cooperation and partnership with equally motivated regions. It is in this scope that today the STEP project, already completing its first year of activities, proves to be a successful STEP into achieving its goals as well as consolidating itself as model for other EU regions aspiring to reach similar objectives.

The fundamental relation between Kainuu and the STEP project can be understood through the choice of good practices (GPs) to be imported and implemented by the region from other STEP partner regions. The GPs being processed for implementation are:

1. The development and consolidation of a Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) within the EU 20-20-20 objectives. GP presented by the Region of Aragon, Spain.
2. The inclusion of Kainuu within the Covenant of Mayors.

Although these 2 GPs require an independent focus they are reciprocally complimentary. Kainuu’s adoption of an EU oriented SEAP supports its inclusion into the Covenant of Mayors and hence showing the regions full commitment and drive towards regional cohesion within crucial aspects of Europe’s model for sustainability.

The 2 selected good practices are currently under expertise evaluation and are set to undergo a feasibility study and peer review during the course of January-February 2014. From that period Kainuu etu and the regional stakeholders will communicate their intentions and strategy of GP transfer. This may be conducted through the integral transfer or partial transfer of the GPs due to the specificity of the regional differences or set priorities in the interest of the region’s development. Currently the preliminary reviews indicate that specific areas of the SEAP GP may be of concrete interest and readily transferable whereas others need adaptations in order to better suit the reality of the Kainuu region which is clearly different to the Spanish region of Aragon.

Conclusively, Kainuu has further shown its commitment and consistent STEP towards a model of energy efficiency. In partnering up with the STEP INTERREG project, Kainuu has been able to further implement the Finnish energy efficiency ambitions as well as showcase the Finnish model to its regional counterparts throughout Europe. The STEP project gives Kainuu a unique unique platform to further improve its action aimed at reaching and superseding the 20-20-20 directives by collaborating and adopting similar actions and GPs from other highly ambitious regions in Europe. Equally important is the fact that the STEP project is allowing Kainuu and its stakeholders to show its drive and dedication to regional cohesion and cooperation in Europe.

Newsletter 03/2013



The goal of the Midland Energy Agency is to empower each of the 4 local authorities in the Midland Region of Ireland to achieve a 33% saving in energy use by 2020.

Local Authorities spend €120m per annum on energy in Ireland nationally with Water Services representing 53% of this figure. To reduce this figure, capital investment is required in the Water Services assets but with finance increasingly difficult to obtain, an innovative financing model is required.

Our Good Practice is developed to address this challenge. It is a basic energy performance benchmark tool which allows a Local Authority to evaluate an inefficient pumping system, benchmark it and develop a business case for capital upgrades. The framework of documents to support this tool consists of a pump efficiency calculation tool, a pump performance certificate and a pump procurement specification.

The Good Practice is supported by a Training Session for Local Authority engineers on the benchmarking process and an online Community of Practice to share ideas and experiences.

The output of the GP is a business case for replacement of an inefficient pump with a more energy efficient model with the capital cost being paid back over time by the reduction in energy cost. The financing of the projects can be through in-house financing or small scale EPC. To date this GP has resulted in Significant Energy savings of over 800MWh per annum in MRA region.

This GP is scalable to any size of pumping system, and easily transferable among the Step project partners.




The next edition of the European Union Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will take place from 24 to 28 June 2013.

EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) is an initiative of the European Commission that first took place in 2006 with hundreds of organisations and individuals participating each year. Through bottom-up efforts, organisers of EUSEW Energy Days, events and activities connect directly with citizens and energy stakeholders at local, regional and national levels. The combined results of EUSEW efforts are helping Europe reach its energy goals.

In this edition SARGA will present the STEP project during the time for Aragon region. For further information you can see the full agenda bellow .

Meeting the energy grand challenge with the EU Budget

- Joint Event: ERRIN, EUREC, Climate Alliance, Partnership of EU regional authorities, CEEP
- Brussels, 27th June (9.00 – 13.00)
- Charlemagne Building – rue de la Loi, 170, B-1040 Bruxelles


8.30 – 9.00 Welcome Coffee
9.00 Welcome speech – MEP Jerzy Buzek (Invited) – 10 min

PANEL 1: EU funding for sustainable energy: how Public and Private sectors can cooperate
Keynote: DG Regio Mr C. SCHULTZE Policy Analyst Competence Centre Smart and Sustainable Growth (TBC) - 15 min
    a. Using structural funds for energy innovative projects – Aragon Region - 10 min
    b. Impact of sustainable energy project on local and regional economics – Pomorskie Region - 10 min
    c. Sardinia region showcasing – 10 min
    d. North Karelia region showcasing -10 min
    e. Sothern Denmark region showcasing Project Zero - 10 min
10.15 Panel discussion moderated by: Richard Tuffs (ERRIN)
Intervention from CEEP (Central European Energy Partners): Business perspective
10.45 – 11.15 Coffee break
11.15 Welcome speech – MEP Claude Turmes (TBC) – 10 minutes

PANEL 2: EU funding for sustainable energy: Innovative initiatives & Business applications
Keynote: EU funding for during next Programming period – Horizon 2020 (EC DG Regio or Energy) – 15 minutes
    a. HORIZON2020 and how R&D financing is going to be structured under the new R&D financial programme – EUREC – 10 minutes
    b. RSFF and Access to Risk Finance (EIB) – 10 minutes
    c. Zeeland Region showcasing Elena – 10 minutes
    d. EUREC member - 10 minutes
    e. EUREC member – 10 minutes
    f. IEE showcase – Climate Alliance – 10 minutes

12.30 Final Discussion moderated by: Pirita Lindholm (Climate Alliance)
12.50 Closing speech (TBC)
13.00 End of the Event


STEP good practices and conclusions from the 1st thematic seminar



The objective of our STEP project is to improve local and regional energy efficiency policies and policy tools, with special focus on comprehensive solutions of renewable energy sources applications. Thus, STEP good practices deal with three thematic areas: 1. Better implementation of sustainable energy policies at local level; 2. Development of sustainable energy management systems and 3. Financing tools for sustainable energy investments.

The 1st interregional thematic workshop of the STEP project took place on 11.4.2013 in Helsinki, and ad-dressed, essentially, all three of the STEP thematic areas. It is understandable that this workshop was a milestone in the STEP project, and for more than one reasons: first of all it took place about a year after the start of the project, i.e. some 33% of the project time-plan is implemented and it is possible to have a deeper look into the project achievements (or not). For example, during these first 12 months it has been possible to agree on the good practice criteria and the good practice collection template was formulated accordingly; we also collected good practices from all the STEP partners and we have been able to analyse them in depth. Secondly, through our discussions, i.e. formal and informal ones among the STEP partners, we have tried to understand what “works”, the lessons for the regions from the good practices, what is GPs overall attractiveness (or lack of it). Thirdly, this was the first event that brought together with good practice presentations STEP partners and their stakeholders. Finally, last but not least, the first thematic workshop was the occasion to anticipate on the GP transfer interests of the STEP partners, and form a first idea regarding the final results of the project. Evidently, this last item will be opened up in depth during the following semesters of the STEP operation.

Overview of the STEP good practices

STEP partners have contributed to-date 13 good practices, including those that were presented for the first time during the interregional thematic workshop. Out of these 13 good practices, 6 address Thematic area 1 Better implementation of sustainable energy policies at local level, 4 address Thematic area 2 Development of sustainable energy management systems, and 3 address Thematic area 3 Financing tools for sustainable energy investment.

If we make an effort to visualise, to outline in a simple way what all our GPs are about, we can “see” them as need-based or context-based. By the term ‘need-based’ we mean GPs that reflect solutions to specific problems from various point of view, e.g. improving energy efficiency of public buildings, energy savings of public infrastructure (such as a communal swimming pool), of heating water boilers, etc. The context-based GPs reflect more holistic efforts to address energy efficiency, and are linked to national strategies and local energy management plans. Figures 1 and 2 map the need-based and the context-based GPs respectively.

The ‘need-based’ approach

What Figure 1 says is that everything starts with the identification of the need for improved energy efficiency. This is done through the audit process. In the case of construction audits are very formalised (EPBD directive) in other cases less so. Nevertheless, the process starts with the identification of a need for energy efficiency. Then, there are tools that address the need, some purely financial (like subsidised loans) other a combination of technical - financial such as ESCOs. As we know, ESCO signifies Energy Service Company

Figure 1 “Need-based” mapping of STEP good practices

Energy efficiency in buildings leads to budgetary savings and contributes to climate protection and the security of energy supply. An Energy Service Company (ESCO) provides its know-how and takes on the performance risk to ensure that adequate measures are implemented; that the stipulated energy savings are achieved. The investment is refinanced through the savings achieved.

ESCO:s ideally provide complex energy and project services. ESCO energy services include a wide range of activities, such as: energy analysis and audits, energy management, project design and implementation, maintenance and operation, monitoring and evaluation of savings, property/facility management, energy and/or equipment supply, provision of service (space heating, lighting, etc.). ESCO project elements include: site survey & preliminary evaluation, as well as investment grade energy audit (IGA).

The discussion during the thematic workshop opened up a few reasons why market formation is lagging:

- Municipalities want to save costs, i.e. they prefer to not spend. As long as construction audits are required only of new buildings and of buildings under retrofit, but they do not constitute arguments for initiating retrofits , i.e. audits are not required of all buildings as a way to ensure energy efficiency, many public and private actors might be hesitant to invest in an ESCO process.

- ESCO performance is not always guaranteed. There is therefore justified hesitation to utilise ESCO services, ESCO solutions. The discussion during the thematic workshop showed that the role of ESCO:s and the services they provide, are so demanding that it is suitable to 1) develop professional and qualified ESCOSs and energy engineers; 2) enhance, at the same time, the standing of ESCO:s and in particular energy auditing services; 3) when it comes to public administration, support services procurement and selection procedures.

- Among the STEP good practices, we have seen that there are important public sector –based strategic efforts to benefit from ESCOs, and an effort to “pass” to the private sector failure costs for energy efficiency investments. While these are very essential initiatives, still we miss a convincing market formation solution, i.e. integrating ESCO & IGA services in the day-to-day energy efficiency market, together with the skills and guaranteed results that such a market would imply.

The ‘context-based’ approach

In Figure 2, the context-based, comprehensive approach is based on a favourable national policy environment, and targets energy efficiency and RES at industry or even sectorial level. In the good practices presented there is an enabling environment, and often an effort to combine energy efficiency with other types of economic, development benefits, research and community benefits. In the good practices contributed we saw that partners tend to use various types of financing / funding tools such as Foreign Direct Investment, Bank loans, and special types of public – private partnerships. However, we do not have any good practices that discuss use of the JESSICA or JEREMIE tools.

Figure 2 “Context-based” mapping of the STEP good practices


There is no doubt, that renewable energy production and energy efficiency solutions are at least meso- (regional) and macro level solutions. They are in fact major investments. While this implies important overall impact, it is sometimes hard to make the impact tangible at micro, day to day, and even sometimes at meso levels. For performing regions, energy efficient technology is no doubt one dynamic, sustainable, innovative industry. But for regions that only apply, import technologies the benefits are not always visible, especially as energy prices and energy policy are not decided at regional level. We would like therefore, to propose, as an important aspect of regional & municipal energy management plans, the inclusion of related development actions, too, i.e. actions that link efficiency to effectiveness of the economy. As example, we note: market formation actions in respect to ESCO applications, investments in export-oriented energy efficient industries, investments in circular economy, investments in renewable energy storage.

First conclusions

1) Energy audits need to be more regular and more inclusive. Maybe regions could pilot such actions.

2) ESCO is an advanced tool for energy efficiency today. Tomorrow it can extend to other types of resource efficiency. It is important that ESCO, as an institutional combining technical knowledge with savings guarantees, continues and performs. Therefore, we propose to a) include ESCO in the regional / municipal energy efficiency management plans, b) include piloting of solutions for improvement of the ESCO.

3) Regional / municipal energy management plans to include both efficiency and effectiveness provisions; to support both energy efficiency applications and, at the same time energy efficiency industries.

4) Last but not least, ESCO:s and especially IGA:s need to be more inclusively disseminated and much better understood. Obviously, awareness raising among all concerned is very important. It is equally important, however, to gain better understanding of the crucial aspects that make ESCO/IGA into successful arguments. It is really encouraging that in the STEP project, already a few among the partners, for example Midlands PP7, Mid West Region PP8, Kainuun Etu PP2, have already expressed strong interest in the issue, towards understanding and/or importing relevant good practices.


Newsletter 02/2012



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.




The Covenant of Mayors is the mainstream European movement involving local and regional authorities, voluntarily committing to increasing energy efficiency and use of renewable energy sources on their territories. By their commitment, Covenant signatories aim to meet and exceed the European Union 20% CO2 reduction objective by 2020.

The Regional Energy Agency of Murcia (ARGEM) represents supporting structure for every municipality in the Region of Murcia. One of the ARGEM’s objectives is to promote the ESCO model.

When a Municipality joins the Covenant of Mayors, the first thing that they have to do is to develop a Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP), which represent the main strategic policy for the municipality. A good solution to fulfill the SEAP’s objectives is to stand by the ESCOs. During the procurement processes, an energy audit is carried out, and during the ESCO contract, a measurement and verification process is being carried out, just to verity the fulfilment of the objectives.

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.

ARGEM started the promotion of ESCO model in 2007. In this last year 2012 an ELENA project have been aproved from the European Investment Bank (EIB), in order to help the municipalities in the procurement processes to introduce ESCOs in their installations. This project will promote more than 116 M€ in investments from the ESCOs.

The case that we present here is the Municipal indoor swimming of Beniel, which had an inefficient heating gasoil system to cover its needs of heat (heating the swimming pool and hot water). That system had several problems, mainly the economic costs due to ever growing gasoil prices, maintenence problems and it was a pollutant instalation.


Saving costs for the Municipality and contributing to reduce CO2 emissions.

Description of the project

The fuel energy consumption of the swimming pool (included hot water for showers), from the recorded data between 2011 and 2012, is about 67.934 litres of gasoil per year. That is, in energy units 686.133,4 kWh. The project has consisted of the replacement of the old gasoil system to a modern parallel system using 2 biomass boilers of 102 thermal kW each, and 20 solar thermal panels in order to cover the total heating demand.

The boilers are included in a transport container, with the silo of 30m3 for biomass storage, and a little tank of 500 litres required as inertia for the transient situations during the swich on and off of the boilers. The operating temperature of the tank is 60ºC.

The boilers are multi biomass fuel supplyed. The average cost of the biomass is about 100 €/Tn.

Beside the boilers, a solar thermal system has been installed. The system consist in 20 solar heat pipe collectors. In order to get the highest performance, all the energy produced by the solar installation will be furnished to the swimming pool.

The project has been implemented through a contract during 10 years between the City Council and a Private Company (Energy Service Company - ESCO). The ESCO has funded the project and it will sell the energy to the City Council according the agreed price (initialy 0,056 €/kWh), also the ESCO will manage the instalation ensuring the performance, availability and maintenence during the contract.

Economic aspects :

- Anual energy consumption (gasoil): 686.133,4 kWh/year
- Old Gasoil System costs: 686.133,4 kWh*0,09 €/kWh = 61.758,18 €/year+VAT (21%)
- Modern Biomass and Solar Thermal System: 686.133,4 kWh*0,056 €/kWh = 46.492,39 €/year+VAT (21%)

In this case, the saving costs is 38% (381.964,64 € during 10 years). The City Council will pay monthly the energy consumed according the price agreed in the contract during 10 years. Moreover, the CO2 emissions saving is 196,92 Tn CO2/year. Once the contract is finished the Municipality will be the owner of the instalation, therefore the anual energy cost will go down even more.




Kainuun Etu has contributed to STEP the Helsinki Energia (Helen) good practice, which has been selected because of its comprehensive technological and co-location solution approach, bringing together industrial activities, associated energy release, and re use of this energy for heating and/or cooling purposes, through an urban district heating system network, for a neighbourhood of some 500 families (=homes) in the very centre of Helsinki. The whole solution is for the most part located underground.

One of the key functions of datacentres is, put in a simple way, to serve as back-offices for private and public organisations filing needs (backups); another key function is to provide online monitoring in real time of, for example, health, transportation, or even education processes. As a result, in many cases, datacentres are co-located with the production part of the organisation, especially when it concerns commercial uses. In the case of Helen, co-location has been possible by benefitting from the underground potential of the city. Datacentres release huge amounts of energy. Re-use of energy released from industrial facilities by district heating networks is not new. However the technology (and its continuous improvement) allowing simultaneous heating & cooling release options into the district heating system of the town.

The success of Helen is a result of ingenuous solutions and technologies as much as of an overall enabling con-text. We try to briefly give the picture of all this below.

The good practice

In Finland the renewable energy target level is 38 % of the total consumption of energy by 2020. In Helsinki city's Energia Environment Management Programme one of the objectives is to exceed at least the 20 % RES milestone in heat and electricity acquisition by the year 2020. By the year 2050 Helsinki city has a target to be a carbon dioxide (CO2) neutral city. A technologically new solution for reuse of energy released from one of the city's data centres decreases CO2 emissions and saves some 20 % of costs. In this case, being green means lots of savings, Figure 1.

Helsinki's underground city- a vast network of man-made tunnels and caves that houses much of its industrial infrastructure, including coal storage and a huge district heating and cooling systems. One of the newest tenants of the city's subterranean section is the data centre developed by utility Helsingin Energia and ISP Academica. The 2 megawatt facility is located 30 meters below the Uspenski Cathedral, a historic church. The data center uses cold sea water in its cooling system, while the waste heat produced by the servers is piped via a heat pump into the district heating network to heat Helsinki buildings and the residents' domestic hot water. When the hall is full of computers, the heat it produces is enough to heat up to 500 large single-family houses in Helsinki.

Next steps in the good practice

Some research needs have been identified. Data centres have heavy back-up systems (UPS batteries and generators) in electricity (redundancy) and of course require full electricity generation reliability. As a result of those back up systems and of the requirement that they are continuously operating, there is considerable energy and power loss (10 %). Helsingin Energia would be researching, in the next phase, the option if a data centre would be located nearer to an electricity plant (reliable electricity input), would that imply reduced needs for heavy back-up systems, and could then data centres survive with less redundancy? Is too heavy redundancy really worth of wasting money and energy? Such parametres could be could be taken into consideration at the beginning of data center planning, design and investment phases. Understanding these issues could lead to savings also in unused back-up equipments in the end of the data centre life cycle.

The enabling environment 1: Helsingin Energia and district heating

As early as in 1913, the director of the electricity board proposed combined heat and power generation. In 1953, the city council made a decision to build an extensive district-heating network in Helsinki. Helsingin Energia started its district heating operation in 1953. Currently, 93% of the city's heating needs are met with district heat, which is produced in a diverse way, through four power plants, heat pump plants and peak load plants. Energy efficiency has improved further when district cooling is produced through the same channels & processes.


Helsingin Energia is the biggest district heating company in Finland. It sells annual over 7 000 gigawatt hour of heating approximately for 14.000 customer property. Helsingin Energia uses natural gas in three of their power plants as a fuel. In their seven power plants they use fuel oil. In one of their power plants they use waste heat of cleaned waste water which is their ecological solution. District heating pipes are totally over 1.230 kilometers long and there is Europe's longest connected district heating tunnel in Helsinki.

District heating is suitable for all kind of real estates, even for most of the older single-family houses (picture 2). The general rule applied in connecting a building to a district heating network is that the further the building locates from the network the larger the building should be in order the connecting being economically justified.


Newsletter 01/2012



Improving Communities' Sustainable Energy Policy Tools, aims to provide useful information and best practices to those agents working in sustainable development energy policies

EU member states have committed themselves to demanding climate and energy targets, the so call “20-20-20 targets”. To reach these targets, however, national and regional policies need to be deployed more efficiently at local authorities’ level. The STEP project follows this approach by focusing on fostering local level policies supporting energy efficiency. The partnership aims at reducing the energy consumption and CO2 emissions in the partner territories and increasing the rate of renewable energy sources used. In addition, partners promote regional energy self-efficiency and diversification. Partners exchange policy practices via thematic seminars and study visits. To verify some of the practices in focus, three of the partner regions will serve as test ground for light pilot actions. Very importantly, STEP partners involve local authorities throughout the project’s implementation via regional policy exploitation actions. Thus the project serves as platform for the partner local and reg ional authorities to exchange with energy stakeholders and increase their capacity in the field of sustainable energy planning and implementation. STEP partners will elaborate thematic policy practice guides with recommendations in three topics: (1) Better implementation of sustainable energy policies at local level; (2) Development of sustainable energy management systems, and (3) Financing tools for sustainable energy investments.

These guides will be translated into 8 regional implementation plans, which will guarantee the durability of the project results. The plans will be ready after the end of the STEP project and will ensure the regional and local transfer of identified policy tools.




The kick-of meeting of the STEP project was held by the South-Transdanubian Regional Innovation Agency last May 2012 in Pécs (Hungary). This event enabled partners to meet each other personally and marked the beginning of the project’s work.

On the first day, the partnership held an internal meeting where the aims and activities of the project as well as the time-schedule for the next months were discussed in detail. There were presentations on the management and financial issues, the dissemination and communication activities and the professional contents of the project. In the evening, there was a sightseeing tour organized to the downtown of Pécs, which enabled partners to get to know each other better.

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 Kővári 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. Moreover, Mr. Dr. Péter Merza (Urban Development Nonprofit Ltd. of Pécs) focused on the "Financial tools for sustainable energy investments". 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.




    Király utca 23-25.
    7621 Pécs (Hungary)
    T. +36-72/511-676 /F. 36-72/511-675

    The South Transdanubian Regional Innovation Agency Non-for-profit Ltd. (STRIA Ltd.) was established in early 2008. Its main aims are to improve the innovation capacity of the regional SMEs, to support the technology transfer activities of the knowledge bases and to foster the international knowledge exchange. The core policy of the Agency is to provide real added value compared to the currently operating innovation support system by ensuring quality consultancy services for the regional SMEs. STRIA, as the lead partner of the STEP project, wants to improve their local sustainable energy policies.

  • P2. Kainuun Etu Oy

    Lönnrotinkatu 1.
    87100 - Kajaani (Finland)
    T. +358 44 551 4536

    Kainuun Etu OY (KE) was established in November 2000. It is a public equivalent organisation, owned by the municipalities of Kainuu. It is a policy implementer and policy adviser (to the regional authority of Kainuu). Its aim is to improve the competitiveness and the development of the region as a whole. KE serves & coordinates the clusters of key sectors of the Kainuu economy (i.e. ICT & metals, Wood processing, Mining & stone, Tourism, food processing and experience industry). The sectoral activities are complemented by cross cutting cluster activities and interregional cooperation actions. In the year 2009 an FDI operation was added to KE activities. In the year 2011, it absorbed Snowpolis OY which is a science park dealing with professional sports (measurement and life sciences) and well being in tourism. Following a government decision in 2010, KE is coordinating the development of an ICT & environmental knowledge cluster supporting a data centre operation. Kainuun Etu is also coordinating the bio waste programme that is run and developed by the university of Oulu. There are some 47 persons working in KE and there is an annual turnover of about 4.000.000€, and the value of the ongoing projects is about 120.000.000€. Since the establishment of KE, there have been some 25 trasnational and interregional cooperation initiatives, and some 30 cross border ones (Russia especially). The construction sector “enters” into the picture of KE activities through wood processing (urban wooden construction, following national policy), ICT-based research, and the bio-waste cluster.

  • P3. SAENA

    Pirnaische Strasse 9.
    01069 Dresden (Germany)
    T. +49 - 0351 - 4910-3152 / F.+49 0351 4910-3155

    Ensuring people benefit from good ideas is probably the simplest way of explaining the purpose of the Sächsische Energieagentur – SAENA GmbH. Saxony’s energy policy is defined by innovation – innovation that SAENA helps put into practice. The agency is a company of the Free State of Saxony and the Sächsische Aufbaubank - Förder-bank. We provide information and professional initial advice on energy efficiency
    and using renewable energies in Saxony.
    We work exclusively for the common good and do not serve the interests of any individual good news for compa-nies, local authorities and private citizens looking for independent energy advice. We also act as a kind of think tank. Energy experts and business specialists come together and play a significant role in numerous energy-effciency and renewable energy networks, allowing SAENA to play an advisory role for both the German parliament and Saxon state government.
    We inform our target groups about energy efficiency and renewable energies through pilot projects, specialist events, poster and ad campaigns, and more than 30 continuously updated informational brochures that can also be viewed at We also organize annual trade fairs and symposiums that bring together the leading energy experts in Saxony, ensure sustainable innovation and cover issues such as „battery technology and en-ergy supply“ and „regional value chains and energy independence.“ And because energy is not constrained by state borders, we also ensure that Saxony participates in relevant EU projects.

  • P6. ARLEG

    ul. M. Rataja 26.
    59-220 Legnica (Poland)
    T. +48 76 862 2777/ F. +48 76 862 0968

    Regional Development Agency "ARLEG" S.A. is a consulting organization, which activities are directed particularly to the sectors of public life, which may bring support to create new and support existing business ventures, creating sustainable economic and social values and inspiring relationships between domestic and foreign economic entities. An important element of the activity is taking actions to solve social and economic problems, which will strengthen the competitiveness of Lower Silesia in relation to other Polish regions and Europe and therefore we cooperate closely with companies, local authorities and institutions, non-profit organizations and universities.

  • P7. MRA

    Bridge Centre. Bridge Street.
    Tullamore, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
    T. +353 57 93 52996

    The Midland Region is centrally located within the Country and consists of the Counties of Laois, Longford, Offaly and Westmeath. The River Shannon forms the western boundary of the Region, which, although characterised by its rural nature, has a distinctive urban hierarchy centred on the linked-gateway towns of Athlone-Tullamore-Mullingar supported by Longford Town to the North and Portlaoise in the South.
    The Midland Regional Authority (NUTS III) engages in the development and implementation of EU and national policy at a regional level, a function enhanced by its ‘general competency’ to act in the interests of the region. Regional Authorities (Establishment Order 1993), were assigned a co-ordination remit and an advisory role to Government. The pivotal role of the Regional Authorities in terms of social, economic, environmental development was recognised in the National Spatial Strategy (NSS, 2002) and the Planning and Development Act, 2000 (as amended in 2010). The functions assigned to the Midland Regional Authority are summarised as follows:
    I.Regional Planning including the making and implementing the Regional Planning Guidelines (RPGs)
    II.Co-ordination of Public Services in the Region.
    III.EU Activities: securing and managing EU funding initiatives, and participating in policy development.
    Consisting of 23 nominated locally elected councillors, the Midland Regional Authority has a specific democratic role that facilitates the representation of constituent counties in regional policy formulation that is ultimately implemented at a local level, while identifying investment priorities that both translate and inform national policy.
    The Midland Region maintains a direct link with European policy making in the form of the Committee of the Regions (CoR) which consists of members from the Regional Authorities that interact with their National and European counterparts to ensure that the interests of the region are considered in EU policy development.

  • P8. MWRA

    Friar Court, Abbey Street.
    Nenagh, Co. Tipperary (Ireland)
    T. + 353 (0)67 33197 / F.+353 (0)67 34401

    The Mid-West Regional Authority (MWRA) is responsible for regional development and coordinating local action in the Mid-West Region, with a population of almost 400,000 people. The Region is strategically located on the West Coast of Ireland around the Shannon Estuary. The MWRA’s functions are to promote the coordination of public services in the Region, to prepare and implement Regional Planning Guidelines and to monitor overall development trends of the Region. Through STEP, the MWRA will look closely at how it can adopt effective strategies to improve its sustainable energy policies.

  • P9. Local Government of Mohács

    Mohács Város Önkormányzata.
    7700 Mohács, Széchenyi tér 1.
    T. +36 06-69/505-546 -/ F. +36 06-69/505-505

    Mohács is a city of 20.000 habitants in the southeastern part of Baranya County, on both sides of the river Danube. The settlement lies in the junction of the main roads number 56 and 57, and it is connected with the county town, Pécs by a railway station. The settlement was first mentioned in a document in 1093, its name might originate from the Slay word moha meaning moorland. The bishop of Pécs owned the fishing village, it started to emerge from the surrounding settlements in the 12th-13th centuries, when it became the centre of the estate due to its favourable position. Inv the 15th century, it was mentioned as a market town. Its development was broken in 1526 by the grey battle against the Turks in the near of the city, next to Sátorhely settlement. The fight lasted altogether one and a half hour, but our king, and a great number of our lords died, and we lost our national development, for centuries. At the time of the Turkish reign, the settlement along an important military road was a Turkish centre for some time. The area emptied during the period of the subjection. At the beginning of the 18th century, Hungarian, Swabian, Croatian, and Serb ethnical groups started to repopulate it. The city became multi-racial at that time. This has been preserved by the structure of the city, by the city parts of the nationalities, with churches in the centres. In the 18th-19th centuries, it received the prerogatives of the market town again from the bishopric, and became the economic and cultural centre of the area again. Its development was influenced by the border changes after the World War I., and by the changes of the population after 1945. Mohács attracts tourists – besides the historical memories due to the cultural programmes, the world famous „Busójárás” (a popular custom at the end of winter), the summer festivals, and the fest of the area’s wines.

  • P10. SARGA

    C/ Pablo Ruiz Picasso, 65 Edificio A, 3ª planta
    50018 - Zaragoza (Spain)
    T. +34 976 07 00 00 / F. 976 07 00 01

    More info...

    Aragonese Society of Agri-Environmental Management (SARGA) is a public company of the Government of Aragon specialized in the execution and management of all types of public infrastructure and in agri-environmental service delivery aimed at sustainable development in the Autonomous Region.
    The company was founded in October 2012 following the merger of two public entities of the Government of Aragon: Sirasa (Aragonese Society of Rural Infrastructures) and SODEMASA (Environmental Development Society), specialized in the field of agriculture and environment respectively. Thus, SARGA unifies the management of both services in favour of a greater efficiency and effectiveness.
    The company offers services in the following activity areas:
    a) Cattle services: transport and collection of animal carcasses, animal welfare, agri-food audits
    b) Agricultural services: industrialization and marketing of agricultural products and by-products, administration and management of farms and agricultural centres, prevention and control of pests and plant and animal diseases.
    c) Environmental services: protection and management of forests and natural protected areas, comprehensive waste management, management and operation of economic activities related to the environment.
    d) Forestry services: forests fire prevention and fire fighting.
    e) Infrastructure: execution of infrastructure works at local, provincial or regional level, preparation of studies, plans, projects and reports and execution of any actions related to the water cycle.
    Although the main customers of the company are located in the Autonomous Region of Aragon, SARGA also works for other customers outside the Autonomous Region and collaborates on different projects with partners from across the European Union. Thus, the company has developed important R&D+I projects that have allowed them to become a reference at a national and European level on some subjects, such as the fight against the zebra mussel in irrigation installations and manure management.
    SARGA has an extensive experience in the EFQM model of business excellence, having achieved the stamp EFQM 500+ prior to the merger, turning into the first public company of Autonomic Region scope to achieve it, and the second Aragonese company including the private sector.
    SARGA is accredited by ENAC as Inspection Entity in different scopes within the agri-food sector and has a highly qualified team that can develop projects with efficiency effectiveness and economic viability criteria.


    Avda. de la Fama 3
    30003 - Murcia (Spain)
    T. +34 968 36 28 00

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    Instituto de Fomento de la Región de Murcia - INFO - is the only public Regional Development Agency in the Murcia region (southeast Spain), which is organically attached to the Regional Ministry of Industry, Enterprises and Innovation.
    INFO is responsible for coordinating most aspects of regional economic development and establishing an environment that favors corporate competitiveness through regional industrial planning, technical and financial assistance to SMEs, setting up of technological infrastructures and business centers, innovation and technology transfer, cluster development, export promotion, entrepreneurship and foreign investment attraction.
    INFO contributes to the development of the regional economy by introducing new industrial policy models as well as promoting and supporting the regional business sector (notably SMEs) through different aid programs and technical services aimed at improving business productivity and competitiveness.
    INFO has recently being promoted as Support Structure of the Covenant of Majors in the Murcia region and has also inherited the overall management of EU funded projects started by the former regional agency for energy which has recently ceased to exist.
    INFO is leader of an IEE Project entitled Meshartility “MEasure and SHARe data with uTILITies for the Convenant of Mayors” in which 74 municipalities are involved at EU level to obtain the data required for SEAPs, same objective with different approach in SMARTIE Project in 7th FP “Secure and sMArter ciTIes data management”. As a partner, INFO works in SUM Project related to “Sustainable Urban Mobility” in Interreg IVC and has obtained funds from the EIB for an Project entitled ELENA FUENSANTA supporting the technical assistance for efficient energy investments in the Region of Murcia.
    In this context, one of the aims of INFO Murcia is to facilitate the economic activity of ESCOs, support to the efficient municipal policies, boosting the savings at municipal level, increase of sustainability and achievement of the 2020 targets in the Region of Murcia.