Outcomes of the Data 4 Action Conference


Conference DATA4ACTION: the Observatories for Energy and GHG, a strong support to the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy

Regional and local public authorities design, implement and monitor Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans (SECAPs). The Covenant of Mayors initiative provides support at each stage of this process. However, the success of these tasks as well as the improvement of the SECAPs can be guaranteed only through the availability of energy and GHG data. Ensuring the regular exchange of data between the stakeholders of the energy transition is the challenge at hand. The Conference will propose:

  • A discussion between energy data providers on how to develop more advanced data collaboration models between municipalities / regions and data providers.
  • A showcasing of structured data exchanges and of examples on how this data is used for the development and monitoring of sustainable Energy and Climate action plans.
Download the programme

Didier Dousset The DATA4ACTION project relied on regional observatories of energy and climate. These observatories, which are usually set up by regional energy agencies, are important tools for providing local authorities with the data necessary for the construction, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of their energy policies and the achievement of the 20-20-20 European objectives. Regions play an essential role in achieving these objectives, being both engines of proposals at the regional, national and European levels and actors of the implementation of the decisions emanating from these different levels.

“The project, based in part on the experience of the members of FEDARENE, is a concrete example of the importance of cooperation and sharing of expertise and innovation between European local authorities.”



Session European and Regional views on the need to develop Regional Energy and Climate Observatories
Moderated by Catrin Maby

Françoise Coutant, Vice President for Climate and Energy for the Region La Nouvelle Aquitaine and President for the Regional Climate Assessment Agency – different elements of the Nouvelle Aquitaine climate and energy policy that counteract the effects of climate change
Since 2011 the NA region has a Regional Scientific Committee on Climate Change called AcclimaTerra that provides factual data on the impacts of climate change in the region at different levels and on different subjects. The observatory is essential to acknowledge what happens in the regions in terms of GHG emissions and consumption of energy, and to harmonize objectives previously belonging to three different regions that merged in the Nouvelle Aquitaine. As for today, not only the Region has common objectives, but has common data and a coordinated policy thanks to the observatory. In order to achieve the ambitious 30-30-32 objectives set by 2021 [reduce GHG by 30% by 2021, reduce energy consumption by 30% by 2021 and achieve an increase in renewable energies at 32%] an additional Permanent Energy Transition and Climate Change Council has been created. This is how NA participates in the scenario of limiting the increase in temperature of 2 degrees by the end of the century. But “How will regions, even with ambitious projects, succeed to have an international impact if there is not a global strategy at the European level?”

Alin Guezello, CEO of Energies Réunion SPL, Regional Councillor Solidarity and Renewables of La Réunion Region – La Reunion climate and energy policy, the main elements of the energy policy that counteract the effects of climate change and how does the observatory support that policy.
The observatory in the Reunion Island has celebrated its 10th anniversary at the end of 2016. It is highly recognized by all partners involved, publications have become nationally important, data is at communities’ disposal and helped to have a more global vision of the energy situation of the Reunion Island. Moreover, the data of the observatory were pivotal to co-create with the State the pluriannual energy programming. The Observatory’s figures are used in a framework of energy governance, that brings together all the private and public actors, allowing to share difficulties and to move towards an ambition to achieve electric autonomy in 2030.  “The challenge of ecological transition must be a matter of everyone, we will win together with the population”. Consumers do not have to feel abandoned. Indeed, the Region wants to effectively deal with fuel poverty: the effort to accompany the homes since 2011 has been made with Eco-solidaire, which allows households in situations of fuel poverty to receive almost 100% financing to equip themselves in solar water heaters.

Michel Lebrun – the European Committee of the Regions’ support to the Covenant of Mayors
7000 local and regional authorities have embarked on a voluntary action to reduce greenhouse gases, renewable energy production, which is more ambitious than national or even European projects. The objective of the CoM is to establish a governance structure that uses two principles: subsidiarity and multi-level governance. Local and regional authorities have a fundamental role to play in this fight against climate change since they are the closest to the citizens and “if we want to succeed in this energy transition, it is clear that the citizen must be interested”. Therefore, “the local and regional authorities are essential tools for the success of this energy transition”.
The role of the regions is to coordinate and support the cities, the role of the member states is to coordinate all and allocate national resources. Concerning the European framework and the funding of programmes, the CoR launched a few months ago an initiative creating an ambassadorial role for the CoR in order to avoid political change hampering the CoM, an initiative that has been echoed outside the Eu by the Compact of Mayors.

Pedro Ballesteros European Commission- DG ENER, in charge of the launch of the Covenant of Mayors – how Europe can help Regions and Cities in data collection
“The Covenant of Mayors is the most important way through which Commission supports data collection”, and since it is no longer at the initial level, it is more advanced, it is necessary to create complex mechanisms of cooperation between the different administrations in order to make CoM have visible results on the quality of life of the citizens. In order to do so, one should look at France as an example, an advanced country in terms of climate legislation that has a law that engages all governments. What the Commission can do is to give a local framework, to bring together local and regional authorities who understand the complexity of their level of governance and are able to step outside a binding framework, and give them the freedom to act.
It is also noteworthy to mention that Municipalities and regions need to have access at all times to the data they provide, the need for data to be of public domain: this is important because there are countries that privatize their electrical data, where cities have to pay to have their electrical data because they are sensitive data. This aspect has to be  harmonized. 


Regional Energy and GHG Emissions Observatories, a Powerful Tool for Implementing Efficient Strategies at The Local Level

Patrick Biard, in charge of the European Affairs of Rhônalpénergie-Environnement FR] to present the DATA4ACTION project
The European sponsored Project called DATA4ACTION has carried out activities over the last three years with a consortium of 15 project partners. 12 member states, covering a geographic area of 6000 municipalities, with the need for robust energy data for energy planning.
The key players involved were:

  1. Public authorities that need to develop and monitor their plans, and they need this robust and aggregated data at territorial level.
  2. Energy data providers, encompassing a wide range of actors: energy players, energy stakeholders, being for instance TSOs, but there could also be other kind of structures providing data, such as professional associations, ESCOs and sometimes national level organization.
  3. Energy Planning Facilitators, being energy agencies, energy authorities, in some cases private companies, and there are those actors facilitating the process and helping the local authorities in accessing this robust aggregated data.

The main purpose of DATA4ACTION was to work with this third group and create Energy and GHG gas emission observatories
There is the need for a shift towards more collaborative approaches and a stronger commercial relationship between data providers and public authorities; project partners have seen a shift in paradigm from energy providers, with the new regulation and liberalization of the energy market and the acknowledgment that LA are the most important customer in terms of purchasing energy and the need to collaborate with them. Within different models, there are cases like Italy or Sweden where bilateral agreements are used, which are the first step towards a collaborative approach; the other model we worked on in this project is the multi-lateral agreement, and when you have a third party (regional energy agency or public authority). We can acte as the third party and as a one-stop-shop service providing support to LA, gathering, processing and analyzing data.

Collaboration models

40 models across Europe have been identified, regional initiatives investing in this kind of structure, providing regional and local support. In DATA4ACTION the effort was made to develop 12 new data centres, regional observatories, 7 new ones in Bulgaria, Czech Rep, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Romania and UK and developed existing ones in France *Auvergne-RA, Hauts-de-France*. The free access network ENERGEE WATCH was developed in the scope of the project, where planning experts share their experiences in GHG emission and data, this platform is coordinated by FEDARENE.


What kind of services do these observatories offer to the public authorities?

  • Data in different formats (baseline emission inventories, monitoring emissions) and sometimes is targeted, focused on specific actions with progress based indicators. The key benefit of such structure is that it will manage partnership of regional and local actors, coordinate this governance structure.
  • They can also go beyond providing data: data modelling. In European standards there is a common approach on methodologies for accounting GHG emissions which are shared by these structures.


How do they operate?

  • They have a governance involving a consortium with both data providers (several of them that they can be competitors as well) and public authorities, supported by regional level PA (this is the case in La Reunion, in LAREC etc).
  • They develop technical skills, useful for LA
  • Provide services free of charge (providing data in this public service approach)

Benefits for LA

Providing one-stop-shop services to these authorities, support them in data management, some interesting points is that they can implement bottom-up approaches that would be needed to improve the accuracy of the data (surveys, energy management systems).
Another key element of this multi-level governance approach is to mobilize pivotal regional and local stakeholders in a joint effort; talking about the coherence of objectives and plans, it is a way to manage this challenge in having comparable and consistent plans between different levels.
Outcomes of the project
Regional data centres have been created and started to operate in the last 18 months working in Data sharing especially for SEAPs. One thing that has been done was to work with the European Commission and to organize round tables on this topic new to many people. A booklet of recommendation is now available in the website, a publication focused on what could be done at European and national level.
Many tools used: partnership management and data processing and dissemination.
The European network: involve partners outside of this consortium, working with them in bilateral exchanges and expand the scope of the project.

Contribution of the Observatories to the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy

Albana Kona and Silvia Rivas, Covenant of Mayors team from the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.
The CoM launched in 2008 gave visibility to the urban areas in the climate change fight; is is indeed one of the main important tools for climate change in urban areas. 57 countries in covering 220 million citizens. At the EU level it covers 31% of population. We have published an analysis in November 2016, with 6200 signatories, with 434 of them committed for submitting adaptation strategy. As a matter of fact, the JRC is working to include the new commitments for the 2030 in the CoM, not only the 40% reduction but also the adaptation to climate change as part of the new Sustainable Energy for Climate Action Plan. From now on, the new signatories who join will commit not only to mitigation (baseline emission inventories and the plan regarding mitigation action) but also to submit a risk assessment plan and actions regarding adaptation in their territories. In fact, these are measures of “adaptigation”. 


Session “Development and implementation of win-win collaboration models & Establishment of a Regional Energy Data Centre”
moderated by Ina Karova EAP Plovdiv

Pierrick Yalamas, Rhônalpénergie-Environnement – Energy Transition Law: Art 179 is related to the work of observatories
The Energy Transition Law for Green Growth in France introduced a new process for providing energy data to local authorities in art 179, which is a new step in a process that has been underway for some time. There was the Grenelle Law few years ago, which addresses this matter. This law and the associate regulation provide for progress on the local level:

  • The first progress concerns ACCESSIBILITY
    • Data of commercial sensitivity on energy consumption was not released to the LA and energy transition law enables us to move forward on this point and facilitates the disclosure of this information to the LA. We are no longer held back by the formal means we had and we can know the actual energy consumption in a given territory, whether it be a private individual or a company.
    • The text provides for a certain number of circuits or channels for providing data, LA can ask a network of distribution operator to provide that data or the statistical department of the ministry may provide these data publicly
  • The second major progress in this Law is that the data provided is now more PRECISE.

Currently we have data for areas below municipal level and in few years we should have data more precise per building, to facilitate the energy renovation of buildings or the analysis conducted on energy poverty or other issues


The key challenges

– When we look in to more detail the data that has been made available recently thanks to this law, we see that even these majors step forward that have been made, is not enough to answer all the questions we have at local level because for example if a territory wants to compare its consumption today with 10 or 20 years ago, that data is not necessarily available, and also, we want to work on all the different types of energy. At present, the energy consumption data that is provided is for electricity, gas, in some areas for petroleum products, in near future for heating networks also, woods or other forms of RES which are not taken into account in the data.
– Another limit to what has been done is that, despite all this extra data been provided, we have to be able to find a way around that data and that means that the LA do need to have an expert able to process and analyse that data and to make proper use of that data. We need more advanced complementary analysis and we need to review tools used to process and to contact modelling on the basis of this data.
Another limit quite aside from the question of producing a more precise analysis is that how do we present and publish that data so that the LA can take ownership of it and the need to find ways of presenting that data to try to pinpoint the major challenges of the different local territories we are working in.
–  In order to understand the data that has been provided, there is the need to have a closer dialogue between the local authorities and energy operators. In the Observatories created, we have these partnerships with this type of stakeholders, and we become a forum for discussion between them.
– Perhaps is the biggest challenge for the observatories is to change from formally having a typically technical approach to a more strategic approach to the way that local territories work in terms of energy
Servan Le Guern GRDF Rhône-Alpes Bourgogne [FR] – Why it is interesting for the GRDF to participate in the exchange and in the cooperation with observatories

GRFD is not a data supplier, it is a distributor. It operates in a network structure, and like any other energy operator, the objective is to contribute towards a world of more efficient energy with greater use of RES and consume as little energy as possible. The participation in the DATA4ACTION project was motivated by the fact that France does have a law now that asks to provide data on a much smaller and more precise geographical scale, so data is not an issue: the issue is what do with do with it. The Document that has been produced displays the energy system in the RA region and shows the challenges we have in the energy system. RA and Hauts-de-France observatories in DATA4ACTION are mentioned; what the GRDF is interested in, in the gas sector, is the production of bio-methane using renewable gas into the network and now on the political level people are thinking about the subject, so this is what it has gotten out of this collaboration.
Collaboration is important. Nobody has the absolute truth but “what it is important is to establish the means of collaborating together, co-constructing the future”.

Carolyn Mc Kenzie, Kent County Council [UK] – what it is beyond energy operators, what is the role of other economic players in the data exchange chain
In the UK there is limited incentive for finance available for energy measures. There are 4 main alternative actors that the County Council works with:

  1. The public authorities. The work done with them looks at how to develop spatial strategies that encourage low-carbon development for the future, where to invest, which industries are to encourage through economic development strategies
  2. Business support organizations to help influence those businesses, so they can support them to cut costs, cut emissions, but also look at where there may be more opportunities for jobs and growth
  3. Directly with businesses
  4. The financial and investments sector to grow confidence is what is still quite a young industry.

Other actors one wouldn’t necessarily associate with this agenda: public health professionals, to look how to jointly put money into measures that would encourage alternative forms of transport; by doing that, investing in electric vehicles, cycle networks and walking paths, poor equality can be reduced. The County Council works with them also to look how cold homes or even hot homes have an impact on residents, illnesses related to cold or hot air conditions; once one takes the data, it can be turned into intelligence and evidence and work with all the sectors across Kent to enable the development of cross functional infrastructure and joint activities.

Session “Which kind of reliable and accurate energy data in your territory”
moderated by Etienne Viennot Rônalpénergie-Environnement


Florin Andronescu, Local Energy Agency of Alba [RO]
All started seven years ago from the Alba county level with a strong political engagement for changing in terms of energy: an Energy Master Plan was provided, and since then, a number of Local Authorities entered in the Covenant of Mayors and developed their SEAPs. In that moment, ALEA realized the need for a good and reliable data. The activity of the energy observatory Alba Local Energy Observatory [ANERGO] started three years ago and now supports 14 CoM signatories to have good data for their baseline monitoring emission inventory. It is a strong supporting tool to help our local authorities. The partnership with FEDARENE and RAEE offered us the possibility, through the DATA4ACTION project, to exchange data. The quality of data varies from sector to sector, and it is our aim to extend the domain  not only to energy data but also to environmental and mobility sectors, because they are interconnected with energy.

Tomas Perutka, Energy Agency of Zlin [CZ], – a combined approach to air quality and energy consumption: first worked on air quality before thinking about energy
In Czech Republic there is a national Baseline Inventory – a national database for emissions and resources of pollution- and 13 regions responsible for their own regional energy strategy. For the regions, this database is background and regions are creating our own energy strategies based on this BEI. It is therefore important that these two levels cooperate. The problem is that this data can only be extrapolated at regional level, and here comes the importance of having a tool, like the energy agency, facilitating the approach to data providers with its flexibility on the one hand and supporting the regions on the other. The energy agency extrapolates the data and, once obtained the support from both national and regional level, we approach them more easily and we can carry out reliable action plan, able to monitor actions effectively.

Silvio Denigris, Piedmont Region [IT]
Piedmont Region is Covenant coordinator supporting over 60 municipalities who signed the Covenant of Mayors. The Region provides them data and collects data from them, addresses data providers directly in order to get all the information needed to support municipalities to elaborate their own baseline energy for the SEAP; in the meantime, the Region needs information regarding public buildings, facilities, streetlight, and developed a web-based tool that municipalities can access freely.
“This is a strong tool for them for energy management.” The aim is to make municipality understand the potential for investments, of collecting data, and by doing so the Region is providing some additional services: training, workshop for networking with neighbouring municipalities facing the same problems, so they can exchange solutions, consultancy services, to understand better what lies behind data they are entering.

Alvaro Laborda, Ente Vasco de la Energia [SP] – the oldest observatories in Europe
Sometimes the quality of data is problematic, data is inconsistent and database incomplete. EVE has started to work with energy distributors and ask them annually for information to have a better feedback, to identify inconsistencies and try to improve data. 

Session about developing and monitor an informed Sustainable Climate and Energy Action Plan
Moderated by Maria Fabianelli, IRE Liguria

Paddy Phelan, Carlow-Kikenny Energy Agency [IE] – differences in designing plans and in stakeholders involvement
The CKEA has recent experience of completing a sustainable energy action plan in two different local authorities, Kilkenny County Council and Carlow County Council, where SEAPs have been developed by the stakeholders: NOT by the energy agency, NOT by the municipality or the council, but by the entire stakeholder groups within the county. The energy agency is working with the observatory developed in DATA4ACTION to collect the data. When the plan is in place we can accurately manage to report, and give useful feedback to the steering committee and the working groups.

Kjell Skogsberg, EnergiKontor Norr [SE]
The Energy Agency of North Sweden is a Regional Coordinator in the CoM. As such, it helps municipalities from informing them about the Covenant, guiding them throughout the process, assisting them with the SECAP to the reporting. One of the benefits of the CoM is the strategic process: in the municipalities, the competences are quite good concerning energy efficiency in the buildings, but what the CoM really adds is the strategic process defining where we are, where do we want to get and finding suitable actions and measures to go there and put these actions in place and adjusting the action plans.

Laure Monpetit, Hauts-de-France Region [FR] – the actions of municipalities having more than 50 thousand inhabitants.
Since the energy transition law was promulgated in august 2015, which obliged the public intercommunal cooperation agencies – more than 20 thousand municipalities – to draw up energy and climate action plans, the scale has gone from a communal scale to intercommunality scale, from 50 thousand to 20 thousand inhabitants: it is much more precise. The CoM has an impact here: the value of signing it is to exchange with foreign, non-French communes and get their experiences and feedback. Another interesting thing is to see how the commune wishes to be part of this; city awareness is a major challenge. 

Session “Observatories benefiting from the experience of Data4Action observatories”
Moderated by Christian Labie, Rhônalpénergie-Environnement

Emil Andersson, Energikontoret i Mälardalen [SE] -what has learnt from the D4A project in terms of exchange activities from the partners
The main thing can be done is giving the smaller municipalities the capacity to follow up their own numbers, setting targets from the data, and also see what actions they should take. There is a large interest in the CoM from the Swedish Region, and the Energy Agency signed it.

Gaëlle Gilboire, Energie Réunion [FR] – the D4A project and the exchange between the Reunion observatory and RAEE
The difficulty in the Reunion Island is having specific features in terms of energy use, so it was useful to be part of the project having two different views of the data and of the proper indicators to use. We are asked to conduct a RES analysis and a review of energy savings, and we thought about a methodology to conduct an inventory in our observatory. For the energy analysis, we realized that we didn’t have data for the different territories. We can now look at the resources in each intermunicipal organization and then see how to organize things to pull resources.

Ion Dogeanu, Bucharest Energy Agency [RO] – how to collect the data to feed the observatory
The Covenant of Mayors was promoted in the framework of the transposition of the Energy Directive into the national law; in 2010 a plan for Bucharest District 1 was developed and there is the will to expand the plan to all 6 districts of Bucharest and to other 8 municipalities near the capital. The observatory developed in the D4A framework it is not only a tool, but also a good example for communities that the Energy Agency helps to make energy action plan. “It is easier to mobilize the stakeholder if you already have a mature observatory”. The difficulties in Romania stem from the political changes in the municipalities, because now policy makers need to be convinced of the importance of the Action Plan, which is “the right tool at the right time”. 

Session “Future Development of the Observatories”
Moderated by Catrin Maby

 Liyana Adjarova, Energy Agency of Plovdiv [BG] – the main tasks of observatories
What is the current situation? If we are to define the mission of energy observatories, we can say that it is a data hub – different information energy flows. Collecting data about energy consumption and renewables generation at local level, to contribute strongly to building representation of local impact on climate change in a framework of identifying responsibilities and priorities for action. The main task of the observatories is to gather, analyse, and provide data to local authorities, aimed at the development of strategic documents of energy environment and climate. By doing so, observatories can also improve knowledge about current situation on climate change and information related to CO2 emissions.

Julien Dumont
, CERDD, Centre Ressource du Développement Durable de Hauts-de-France
The most important condition that one needs to create a climate and energy observatory is to get political support and to make stakeholders understand the importance of data.
The CERDD does not just look at GHG admissions, but it aims to look at the state of climate change in Hauts-de-France region. Each type of data we collect, even it is not related to energy, must be brought in, factored in and modelled, so that it can play a role in making the decision-makers and people aware of what the real challenge is.



President of FEDARENE, Mr Domac
“We need to improve planning at regional and local level; we have plans, and we are now in the position to challenge our national governments, trying to include our plans to the national ones: this is a big challenge for the future”
The project directly contributes to the energy transition we have been discussing extensively in these last 3 days in Bordeaux. “Energy transition in European Regions is happening. The road ahead is difficult, we need to implement the capacity, the knowledge, the experience that we developed in this project in our national and In the European policy. With the support from many of you and from FEDARENE, we can do this”.


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