Portuguese city of Águeda sets up a local Fund for Energy and Water Efficiency


Known for its colourful streets, the small Portuguese town of Águeda undertakes a number of actions from environmental education to technological innovation and energy efficiency with the objective to become the first ‘Smart City’ in the country. It does not lag behind the front-runner European cities when it comes to innovative financing either. The municipality has just created a local Fund for Energy and Water Efficiency based on the model used by the city of Stuttgart (Germany).

In the framework of the Covenant of Mayors, Águeda developed a Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) aiming at improving the city’s energy efficiency and autonomy. The focuses on increasing energy efficiency and using renewable energy, intelligent energy management, energy diversification in public transport and the promotion of sustainable mobility, climate change adaptation, prevention and management of climate risks as well as investments in the water and waste sectors.

The SEAP implementation requires considerable funding. The city of Águeda therefore decided to set up a local revolving Fund for Energy and Water Efficiency (FEWE) and a related internal contracting scheme that was already tested by the city of Stuttgart, in Germany.

The municipality implemented the following measures enabling the smooth operation of the fund:

  • Setting up the regulation and operational management procedures of the FEWE which was created with the purpose of financing investments to modernize municipal facilities, public lighting system and increase its energy and water efficiency by reducing the use of electric power, gas and water. All municipal services may present eligible investment proposals.
  • Setting up a “Fund of Energy and Water Efficiency Platform” designed to systematize and provide information on the energy consumption of municipal buildings and facilities.
  • Capacity building of the municipal staff about the fund and its functioning.
  • Launching and testing the FEWE through a pilot project consisting of a set of energy audits in various municipal buildings (municipal indoor pool, youth forum, municipal library, municipal stadium and one elementary school).

The standard internal contracting procedures are simpler than those used by the city of Stuttgart and adapted to the needs of a small-sized city. These will be based on simple e-mail requests from all municipal services to the Environment and Sustainability Department which manages the fund.

The project proposals will be evaluated according to a two-step approach:

  1. The project has to comply with the measures featured in the SEAP (one or more of the identified typologies)
  2. Deeper evaluation will be carried out against the following criteria (weighting factor/score): payback (35%), energy savings (30%), CO2-emission reduction (15%), contribution to the Covenant of Mayors or Mayors Adapt objectives (10%), innovation (10%). Based upon this second stage, the project will get a score. The implementation of the project depends on its score and on the Fund availability.

The municipality does not neglect awareness-raising and education on local energy and climate protection. Águeda carries out a number of actions with schools and citizens aiming at encouraging a more active citizenship.

The city of Águeda carries out these activities thanks to the support of the INFINITE Solutions project, coordinated by Energy Cities and co-financed by the European Commission in the framework of the Intelligent Energy Europe programme. 
Discover the financing solutions set up by 10 European cities on the INFINITE Solutions website!

© photo: Patrick Fotografia

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Author

Jana Cicmanova

Publication date

February 11, 2016