Your city or region has ambitious energy and climate objectives and your local strategies and action plans are ready. Moreover, you have already managed to secure financing for your projects, mobilising other financial sources than your local budget. You have also implemented innovative financing schemes that mobilise citizens, local stakeholders, financing institutions and investors funds…
Despite all this, maybe you don’t really feel like an “expert” in the field. Maybe you think that you simply did your work, with perseverance, enthusiasm and years of experience. Though, many of your peers in EU cities and regions are less advanced and learning from you and your experience could make a true difference for them in implementing their projects!
Step by step, learning from each other, EU cities and regions could fill the gap between projects and their realisation, which is very often due to a lack of knowledge and internal capacity, as many studies and surveys demonstrate (see below). 
Such peer-to-peer learning is now easily accessible thanks to PROSPECT, a H2020 project that has created a unique learning environment to connect EU local and regional authorities, either as mentors or mentees, and provides them with:
– sound training programmes on innovative financing schemes, adaptable to your level of knowledge and expertise and connected to mentees’ concrete needs and local projects,
– science-based methodology with the participation in the project of Universities and applied research centers
– assistance and facilitation of P2P activities by members of the project consortium
A PROSPECT pilot group meeting took place last April in Linz, with Christiane Egger – Deputy Manager of the Upper Austria Energy Agency and Manager of the Cleantech-Cluster – and Christine Öhlinger – Head of Sector International Tasks at the Upper Austria Energy Agency, acting as mentors. In this learning programme focusing on Energy Performance Contracting in public buildings ans street lighting, they appreciated the feed-back from the mentees: “The exchange of experience among local actors is key to making progress. Despite many differences, it is always interesting to find many common challenges that we all need to overcome in order to make sustainable energy investments happen.”
If you recognised yourself in the first paragraph of this article, we warmly invite to apply to PROSPECT peer-to-peer learning programme as a mentor.
You will share your knowledge with one or more mentees, with the help of a facilitator. You will gain mentoring and leadership skills, and be recognised for future expert positions, thanks to a certification process. Moreover, you will showcase achievements of your city or region at European level. We will feature your city or region as a best practice in innovative financing and give it visibility in our PROSPECT materials, events, and communication channels. PROSPECT will also offer its mentor cities and regions the possibility to take part for free in one of the study visits organised in the learning programmes.
Registration for mentees will start in a second step on 3rd of September. We will then match the best pairs of cities and regions, according to their precise needs and learning objectives, and the learning cycle in itself will run from November 2018 to July 2019.
 A needs assessment of local authorities performed, based on a survey sent to the members of Energy Cities, EUROCITIES and FEDARENE, demonstrates that the most common barrier for financing public authorities’ sustainable energy projects is the lack of internal capacity to develop and implement innovative financing schemes and investment programmes. Next, the high cost of access to financing, notably in the form of high-interest rates, and the non-functioning ESCo markets are also identified as an important barrier in several Member States, followed by the lack of private financing and the issue of debt accounting. A similar study with 555 respondents from cities highlighted that 37% of respondents plan to consider some innovative financing methods, but only 11% have significant experience in a selection of these, which emphasises a need to increase knowledge and capacity-building in innovative financing and business models.
June 25, 2018