EU Energy Commissioner Simson meets the Energy Cities Board

Collaboration, renovation and decarbonisation of heat dominate the agenda


12 months since the launch of the EU’s Green Deal was an ideal time for EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson to meet with the Energy Cities’ board to discuss the Renovation Wave, the energy transition and how citizens, cities and the European Commission can drive the change we need together.

As a former advisor to the Mayor of Tallin, Commissioner Kadri made it clear that she understood the ambitions and constraints of cities and was determined that the European Commission would be a reliable partner for cities.

The hour-long discussion between Commissioner Kadri and the board of Energy Cities covered a number of important domains and priorities. One positive point was her clear support and recognition of energy cooperatives as key to the energy transition.

Another of the top priorities discussed by the Commissioner was ensuring the necessary technical assistance to cities to support the scale-up of building renovations as part of the Just Transition Fund and the recovery fund.

“We need strong support for local governments to achieve our communication on the renovation wave and action plan to double the renovation every year by 2030. I would like to highlight EPCs uniform across Europe and to change them so that they are more informative,” said Commissioner Kadri. “Of course, but not all the public owners to have sufficient funds. So second important aspect is reinforced accessible and targeted funding to cover the investment needs and we estimate that the cost for this level across Europe will be approximately 275 billion a year.

The meeting was an excellent example of give and take between the Mayors and the Commissioner. Priorities, concerns and the ambitious plans of many cities were shared.

One ‘hot’ topic discussed was the decarbonisation of heat. In Heidelberg it is possible to completely decarbonise their district heating network in just three years. While the deputy mayor of Delft, Stephen Brandligt, raised the potential of hybrid heat pumps to deliver significant emissions cuts in the short term while renovations are rolled out across the broader building stock.

Underlining just how long-term and ambitious a target it is to decarbonise heat the Commissioner said she expected that ‘decarbonising heat will be a major topic for the coming decades.”

On the political front it was underlined that cities, and Energy Cities, can play a key role in helping cities within less progessive countries to decarbonise.

For her part the Commissioner made it clear that achieving the European Green Deal climate targets was a matter far beyond just the energy portfolio. It required breaking down silos and greater collaboration between Transport, Environment, Agriculture, Regional Funds and Health.

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Author

Adrian Hiel

Publication date

February 1, 2021