“The benefits of renewable energy should be harvested by everyone.”

Geert Vanhorebeek from Leuven, Belgium

Before Covid-19 turned our lives upside down, we met with Geert Vanhorebeek in the Belgium old university town of Leuven. Geert is the city’s sustainable development advisor. You’ll see, he knows how to bring people’s ideas and engagement into municipal action. There is much to learn from Leuven on how to build on strong local communities.

During the conversation, Geert tells the story of how solar energy was boosted in Leuven through a strategic partnership with the energy cooperative EcoPower. The city’s ambition is to become climate-neutral by 2030. Coordinated efforts between all stakeholders of the community, businesses, knowledge institutes, semi-public organisations and the local government itself are considerable. The city is now committed to shifting from ‘doing what can be achieved’ to ‘doing what must be achieved’. The success of community energy in Leuven shows that these aren’t empty words.

This episode of “City Stories” is brought to you by the EU project mPower. mPower explores how cities and citizens can manage the energy transition together – in a fair, clean and democratic way. Participation can happen at various stages: from involving citizens, local NGOs or businesses in the policy design to any stage of the energy value chain: for example as shareholders or even prosumers. The mPower project gets funding from the European Horizon 2020 programme.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is mPOWER-1024x239.jpg

Geert Vanhorebeek



Geert Vanhorebeek


Sustainable development advisor




Leuven, Belgium