Heidelberg was great, see you in 2020 in Heerlen!

Our 2019 annual conference took place within the framework of ICCA 2019 on 22-23 May in Heidelberg, Germany.

Energy Cities organised several workshops, as well as a Mayors’ Session. We would like to thank the participants for their contributions, ideas and visions and share with you a few of the many messages delivered.

We know that cities lie at the heart of the energy transition and have the greatest leverage potential to improve the quality of life for all citizens. Over the past few years, local governments have increasingly used their legislative and purchasing powers to implement change in their own operations and in the wider community. Many cities, both large and small, have been innovative with champions and city officials demonstrating an ability to think outside of the box.

Today, more than 100 cities are producing 70% of their renewable energy themselves. It is therefore time to redefine the role of cities that are no longer merely energy consumers but energy producers! Cities are the sphere of government closest to the communities they serve and as such hold enormous power to transform the energy and carbon emission profile of countries. Despite this, national and supranational governments do not share their power with these crucial actors in an adequate manner. Collaboration between these levels needs to improve and direct the debate towards the local level.

During our workshops, we learned that:

  • Long-term planning is required and politicians have to make decisions for the long run. Long term planning has to be accompanied by long-term commitment (surpassing the political cycle)!
  • Political commitment can foster initiatives that include the private actors: We need the industry to be on board. Local initiatives can convince via shared benefits.

We therefore want means to be directed towards the local level so that local governments can

  • Engage with citizens and all stakeholders for both, planning and implementing.
  • Empower the whole society to produce, sell and consume their renewable energy.
  • Make a new economy a reality.

In the Mayors’ Session – with participants from all over the world, our common goal of sustainability was viewed through the prism of hurricanes in Mozambique, a refugee crisis in Turkey or the importance of a budget line in Canada. It became clear that the consequences of climate change are already standing up to many people’s necks! The students who were demonstrating outside of the buildings during ICCA are of course right.

THANK YOU, all you committed and inventive mayors and local actors out there. It gives hope to see that so many of you, all over the world, are ready to push the boundaries. Please, continue to do so and keep up the good work!

As an outcome, ICCA has produced the Partnership Declaration, which represents the commitment of states, cities and regions as well as networks and other actors to provide all citizens with better quality of life, in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement’s goals. You can find the link for the partnership Declaration here.

A great thank you goes to Mayor of Heidelberg and President of Energy Cities Eckart Würzner for hosting the event in his city.

Want to get some visuals from these days? Please visit our photo gallery on Flickr or the ICCA website. Feel free to share the pictures!

Save the date for our next conference in Heerlen!

We would be delighted to welcome you again in 2020 at our next Annual Conference, which will take place on 22-24 April in the Dutch city of Heerlen. Curious? This video shows what is awaiting you next year!

Missed some moments of the conference? Follow us on Twitter!

© photos: Energy Cities, Stadt Heidelberg : Philip Rothe, Tobias Dittmer und Christian Buck


Publication date

June 14, 2019