October 26, 2009
Sustainable Energy Action Plans template
The European Commission has unveiled an online interactive instrument to help Local Authorities to better manage their energy performance by turning good intentions into action. The Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAP) template and guidelines is intended to help cities and municipalities to bring together the relevant information for establishing their own baseline inventory of emissions, to structure their overall energy strategy, and to detail concrete measures foreseen in delivering upon objectives.
This is part of the further roll-out of the Covenant of Mayors initiative which now brings together over 700 European Local Authorities in a permanent network to make better use of energy and commit to reducing local CO2 emissions beyond the EU 20% by 2020 target. This is to be achieved by each signatory developing, adopting and implementing their own SEAP, which, thanks to the online template will be evaluable and readily usable for exchanges of experience.
The Covenant's signatories will soon be able to access flexible loans and financial engineering instruments under the newly created ELENA (European Local Energy Assistance) fund for projects contributing to the development of their respective SEAPs.
Posted by iroronan at October 26, 2009 11:14 AM
October 24, 2009
EUR28 million awarded to NSS Gateways & Hubs
The Border, Midland & Western (BMW) and the Southern & Eastern (S&E) Regional Assemblies have announced grants totaling EUR28 million to co-finance Urban Regeneration and Sustainable Urban Transport projects in the National Spatial Strategy Gateways and Hubs. The funding has been achieved through an advance payment of European Regional Development Fund support to the two Regional Operational Programmes (Structural Funds).
The selected projects, which are to be largely completed by the end of 2010, are intended to greatly enhance the attractiveness and economic, environmental, social and cultural development of urban centres. The 5 BMW designated Gateways - Galway, the Midlands triangle (Athlone, Tullamore, Mullingar), Sligo, Letterkenny and Dundalk - have collectively been awarded EUR10.85m, towards strategic transport, urban regeneration and cultural investments; while the Hub towns of Ballina, Castlebar, Cavan, Monaghan and Tuam will benefit from an investment of EUR6.3m. In the S&E Region, EUR11 million have been awarded to the Gateway cities of Cork, Dublin, Limerick and Waterford for public realm improvements, green transport routes, arts centres and tourist visitor attractions.
Posted by iroronan at October 24, 2009 11:08 AM
October 21, 2009
EUR50 billion investment plans for low carbon technologies
The Commission presented its much-awaited strategy to accelerate the development and deployment of cost-effective low carbon technologies on 7 October. This financing element of the technology pillar (SET-Plan) of EU energy and climate policy, calls for increased efforts to develop the necessary technologies to address climate change, secure EU energy supply and ensure the competitiveness of our economies by 2020.
Together with industry, the Commission has identified six priority energy technology research initiatives in which an estimated additional investment of EUR50 billion (from public and private sectors at national and EU level to European Investment Bank funds) is foreseen over the next 10 years to create jobs:
1) European Wind Initiative. 2020 Target: 20% of EU electricity produced from wind energy; creating 250,000 skilled jobs. Key challenges: reducing costs, increasingly moving to offshore, and resolving grid integration issues. Cost: EUR6 billion.
2) Solar Europe Initiative. Target: generating up to 15% of EU electricity; creating more than 200,000 skilled jobs. Key challenges: helping these technologies become more competitive and gain mass market appeal. Cost: EUR16 billion.
3) European Electricity Grid Initiative. Target: Half of all European networks enabling the seamless integration of renewables and effectively matching supply and demand in an internal energy market. Key challenge: integration of intermittent energy sources and management of suppliers and customers interactions. Cost: EUR2 billion.
4) Sustainable Bio-energy Europe Initiative. Target: 14% of the EU energy mix from cost-competitive sustainable bio-energy; creating 200,000 local jobs. Cost: EUR9 billion. Key challenges: commercialisation of promising technologies, with a view to large-scale, sustainable production and highly efficient combined heat and power from biomass.
5) European CO2 Capture, Transport and Storage. Target: wide commercialisation of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies, while reducing costs and demonstrating the full CCS chain. Cost: EUR13 billion.
6) Sustainable Nuclear Fission Initiative. Key challenge: developing a new generation of reactor prototypes for long-term sustainability. Cost: EUR7 billion.
Posted by iroronan at October 21, 2009 06:47 PM
October 21, 2009
Opportunity to access 'strategic' Interreg NWE funding: Brussels, 16 & 17 November.
Project development meetings to bring forward applications based on 6 topics especially designated by the programme authorities ('strategic initiatives') will be organised by INTERREG IVB North West Europe in November. The intention is to identify a ''critical mass'' of relevant actors from across the programme area who are clearly interested in developing ambitions into firm project proposals with the programme's assistance. The themes chosen partly reflect gaps in the areas addressed by the programme's approved projects to date and represent a rare opportunity to access an inside track towards EU funding.
The project ideas to be discussed are:
1. North West Europe Renewable ''Energy Agency'' - NWE network of centres
2. Biomass Energy Development
3. Energy from Algae/Bio-solar-safe: tapping energy from green cells
4. Economic cluster development across North West Europe
5. North West Europe network of centres co-operating on innovation and technology transfer
6. Freight telematics and logistics chains management (including transnational corridors)
Posted by iroronan at October 21, 2009 03:53 PM
October 19, 2009
Job opportunities: European Movement Ireland
European Movement Ireland, a voluntary organisation that explains the work of the European Union in a jargon-free way, wishes to expand its current team by recruiting two new positions in order to further develop its role in the European debate in this country and abroad.
The organisation works through a variety of campaigns and events to engage the public on the EU and the role it does and should play in Ireland. This expansion is In line with a three-year Strategic Plan developed for the organisation, to reflect the changing role of the EU in Irish daily lives and to enable an even greater connection between the Union's activities and its impact on our country and our development.
The following positions are available, each for a two-year contract:
Membership & Communications Manager
This person will have overall responsibility for the implementation of the organisation's membership strategy and communications strategy. The holder of this position will play a pivotal role in ensuring that we communicate our messages effectively to our members, key interest groups and to the public at large. Applicants will need to have solid experience in a broad communications role, with some management experience.
Education & Advocacy Manager
This person will manage the political advocacy role of the organisation and will ensure delivery of the education strategy. The holder of this position will need to have a thorough knowledge of the EU and have the ability to run national and thematic campaigns. Applicants will need excellent written and oral communication skills, an ability to analyse information and a proven record of producing succinct and clear policy type documents, preferably in an advocacy context.
The deadline for receipt of applications is 5pm, Friday 30 October 2009. A letter of application and CV should be sent by email, clearly indicating the position being sought in the subject line, to Andrea Pappin, Executive Director, to firstname.lastname@example.org . A complete job description for both positions is available at http://www.europeanmovement.ie/index.php?id=8200
Posted by iroronan at October 19, 2009 08:37 PM
October 13, 2009
European Entrepreneurial Region initiative
A pilot scheme to recognise outstanding dynamic vision in building on the potential of the local and regional entrepreneurial environment was launched by the Committee of the Regions on 6 October. ‘''Give a new vision to your region and make it known throughout Europe'' is the rallying call behind the European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) initiative. As with most EU definitions of a 'region', this may be applied to administrations at various levels. Consequently, formal strategies on economic development at city, county or regional level could be considered. Up
to three entrants with the most credible and forward thinking action plans will be granted the label of ''European
Entrepreneurial region of the year' in February 2010.
Posted by iroronan at October 13, 2009 10:36 AM
October 12, 2009
Regional Development conference: Limerick, 6 November
As part of the celebrations of its fiftieth anniversary, Shannon Development will host a conference at Thomond Park on 'Dynamic Regions'. The event will incorporate international perspectives from continental Europe and the UK as well as addressing key issues in overall Irish regional policy (its role in national recovery; progress on the National Spatial Strategy; and the likely territorial impacts of the challenges that lie ahead for Ireland) and local activism (combining 'top-down' with 'bottom-up' governance; strategic planning at city region level; and place-making to foster competitiveness).
Posted by iroronan at October 12, 2009 11:47 AM
October 12, 2009
EUR28 million awarded for urban development projects in NSS designated Gateways and Hubs
The Border, Midland & Western (BMW) and the Southern & Eastern (S&E) Regional Assemblies have announced that they have recently approved grants totalling EUR28 million to fund Urban Regeneration and Sustainable Urban Transport projects in the National Spatial Strategy Gateways and Hubs under their respective Regional Operational Programmes, which are co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund.
These allocations will provide up to 60% of public investment costs in the selected urban projects in the BMW region and 50% of these costs in the S&E region, with the balance provided by the local authorities. The announcement follows a call for projects which was issued in July and these projects were assessed by a Steering Committee representing the Department of Finance, Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government and the two Regional Assemblies. The funding is drawn from the 7.5% advance of ERDF funding to the 2007-2013 Regional Operational Programmes.
In the case of the Southern & Eastern Region, EUR11 million in grants have been awarded to the Gateway cities of Cork, Dublin, Limerick and Waterford to co-finance a variety of projects from public realm improvements to green transport routes, from arts centres to tourist visitor attractions.
In the Border Midland and West Region, the 5 designated Gateways: Galway City, Midlands (Athlone, Tullamore, Mullingar), Sligo, Letterkenny and Dundalk have been awarded EUR10.85m, towards strategic transport, urban regeneration and cultural investments; while the Hub towns of Ballina, Castlebar, Cavan, Monaghan and Tuam will benefit from an investment of EUR6.3m in urban renewal, amenity provision, energy efficiency and cultural infrastructure investment.
The selected projects which are to be largely completed by the end of 2010, will greatly enhance the potential of the Gateways and Hub Towns, making them more attractive places in which to live, work and invest. The diverse initiatives proposed by the Gateway and Hub local authorities are expected to make a significant contribution to the economic, environmental, social and cultural development of these cities and towns in both regions.
Posted by iroronan at October 12, 2009 10:17 AM
October 08, 2009
New Interregional projects (Interreg IVC)
The INTERREG IVC programme have published a brochure summarising the first 41 approved initiatives being undertaken by regional and local authorities to improve their regional development policies in the areas of Innovation and the Knowledge Economy, and Environment and Risk Prevention.
The following approvals have an Irish element:
- PIKE - improving regional and local Innovation & Knowledge Economy policies through the exchange, and transfer of e-Government and Wireless Broadband good practices (led by the Donegal-based ERNACT trans-European grouping on regional ICT development along with Donegal & Galway County Councils);
- Flipper - Flexible Transport Services and ICT platform for Eco-Mobility in urban and rural areas (Ring a Link Rural Tourism Ltd., serving Carlow, Kilkenny & Tipperary South);
- MITKE - maximising the role of Business Areas and Industrial Parks (BAIPs) as a policy and planning instrument for local and regional development (Shannon Development & Udaras na Gaeltachta); and
- Sharing Experience Europe - integrating design into regional and national policies to boost innovation, entrepreneurship, sustainability and social and economic development (Centre for Design Innovation at the
Institute of Technology Sligo).
Posted by iroronan at October 8, 2009 01:42 PM
October 02, 2009
Urban Mobility Action Plan published
Urban congestion is recognised as a significant problem in terms of both hampering the movement of people and
goods to realise economic potential and of emissions. The 30 September publication of the European Commission's long awaited 'Action Plan on Urban Mobility' - almost a year behind schedule and following upon the September 2007 Green Paper on Urban Mobility - proposes 20 measures intended to make the provision of urban travel at local and national levels ''easier, greener and better organised'' according to Commissioner Tajani.
The plan addresses areas where action at EU level is felt most appropriate to improve urban transport management, in particular by encouraging exchange of information and good practices among cities, possibly leading to the adoption of '''voluntary commitments'' on issues such as:
- more joined-up travel planning and improved information;
- green areas accessibility standards;
- increased passenger rights; and
- energy-efficient driving.
To accelerate the take-up of sustainable urban mobility plans by local authorities the Commission will prepare information material and launch training and promotional activities as well as producing guidance documents on key
aspects of these plans such as urban freight distribution and intelligent transport systems. Heightened emphasis
will also be placed on pioneering practical low emissions research and demonstration projects and on establishing links with EU policies for health, cohesion and disability. The actions are set to be launched over the next four years.
One area the plan shies away from is introducing new funding mechanisms on the basis that this is a national responsibility. However, the Commission is in the process of assessing the transport sector's future funding needs
and streamlining its existing Structural Funds, European Investment Bank and the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Development instruments to better correspond with market needs and policy objectives.
Action Plan Summary
Posted by iroronan at October 2, 2009 01:01 PM