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JRC Report - The Covenant of Mayors in Figures and Performance Indicators: 6-year Assessment

Created by
Albana KONA Scientific Project Officer
European Commission - DG JRC, Directorate C - Energy, Transport and Climate
Economics and Financing
Behaviours and Social
Buildings
Urban Areas

The main purpose of this scientific report is to provide an assessment of the Covenant of Mayors (CoM) Initiative 6 years after it has been initiated by the European Commission. By implementing the CoM Initiative, the European Commission has given visibility to the role of local authorities and their relevant contribution to EU2020 Climate and Energy targets. This is the second assessment report in a series of CoM assessment reports published by JRC.

As of mid-May 2014 5,296 local authorities signed the Covenant of Mayors, for a total of ca. 160 million inhabitants in the EU-28, and ca. 186 million inhabitants in the whole initiative.

Based on the data collected from Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPs) submitted by CoM Signatories as of mid-May 2014, a statistical methodology has been developed to select a CoM data set for evaluating the real impact of the CoM initiative. The report provides main statistics of the data set in terms of GHG emission and estimated reductions, Final energy consumptions and estimated energy savings and clean energy production in the local authorities.

Ultimately, the report aims to emphasize the feature of SEAPs as a flexible common platform for achieving EU Climate and Energy targets with a bottom-up approach.

The Covenant of Mayors

The Covenant of Mayors is the mainstream European movement involving local authorities voluntarily committing to meet and exceed the European Union 20% CO2 reduction objective by 2020 by increasing energy efficiency and through the use of renewable energy sources on their territories. The CoM initiative was launched in 2008 by the European Commission's Climate and Energy Package to endorse and support the efforts deployed by local authorities in the implementation of sustainable energy policies.

As of mid-May 2014 5,296 local authorities signed the Covenant of Mayors, for a total of ca. 160 million inhabitants in the EU-28, and ca. 186 million inhabitants in the whole initiative.

 

Fig. 1 - As of mid-May 2014 5,296 local authorities signed the Covenant of Mayors

 

By implementing the CoM programme, the European Commission has given visibility to the role of local authorities and their relevant contribution to EU2020 Climate and Energy targets.

Acknowledging this success, the European Commission's Energy Union Package1 confirmed its continuous support to the Covenant of Mayors Initiative, as an important platform for achieving progress on energy efficiency in buildings.

Furthermore, the European Commission's European Energy Security Strategy2 calls on Member States to accelerate the implementation of Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPs) in the "stress test" countries as means to improve the Union's security of supply.

Lastly, the Energy Efficiency Directive3 specifically acknowledges the Covenant of Mayors initiative and the role of local governments in achieving significant energy savings, and calls for Member States to encourage municipalities and other public bodies to adopt integrated and sustainable energy efficiency plans (SEAPs). Exchange of experience between cities, towns and other public bodies should be encouraged with respect to the more innovative experiences (preamble 18).

CoM East and CoM South

The CoM has already been extended to Eastern Partnership and Central Asian countries, with specific requirement for GHG emission reduction, adapted to the characteristics of these countries. Through the CES-MED project, the European Union has opened the CoM initiative to local authorities of ten southern Mediterranean countries (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria and Tunisia).

Assessment of the CoM

JRC has started to publish a series of yearly assessment reports on the Initiative, which may be downloaded from the website: http://iet.jrc.ec.europa.eu.  The first report on 5-year assessment of the initiative was published in 2013. This is the second assessment report which provides an overview of the Covenant of Mayors initiative as of mid-May 2014.

6 years assessment report

All the data provided in the current report are reported by the signatories in an on-line template provided on the web-site of CoM related to SEAPs submitted as of 13th of May 2014. The on-line template must reflect accurately the content of the official SEAP document, and the coherence of certain key figures is the checked by JRC. Yet, given the voluntary aspect and the difficulty of adapting sometimes local specificities into the general proposed framework, not all the data could be considered reliable, therefore a methodology has been developed to build a robust sample.

Methodology for the assessment

The results of the current assessment derive from a data set built according to a methodology developed by JRC "Methodology for Robust Data Statistics in CoM", to assess the effectiveness of the CoM initiative in terms of estimated energy savings, clean energy production and GHG emission reduction. The assessment report displays the main statistics of the sample selected from the CoM database, named "CoM data set as of 13th of May 2014".

Structure of the report

The assessment report is structured as follows:

  1. General Statistics on SEAPs: main statistics of signatories with a submitted SEAP in terms of population coverage/region, etc;
  2. Baseline Emission Inventories: main statistics of signatories with a submitted SEAP in terms of GHG emission, Final energy consumption; Local energy production
  3. Sustainable Energy Action Plans: main statistics of signatories with a submitted SEAP in terms of Estimated GHG emission reduction, Estimated energy savings, Estimated local energy production and Estimated investments in SEAPs; contribution of local action to the achievement of European targets.
  4. Performance indicators: per capita performance indicators

The followings are reported in the annexes:

  • "Signatories of CoM as of mid-May 2014 by country;
  • "Methodology for Robust Data Statistics in CoM";

Engagement of the signatories

The peculiarity of the CoM movement, compared to other GHG mitigation networks, is the engagement of small towns in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is important to highlight that the majority of signatories with a submitted Sustainable Energy Action Plan are small and medium towns, representing 88% of the total number of signatories of the sample.

One result, confirming the consistency of the “CoM data set as of 13th of May 2014” is that GHG emissions and energy consumption per capita are compatible with values from international datasets at national level (Eurostat, EEA).

Sustainable Energy Acion Plans (SEAPs)

Sustainable Energy Action Plans are flexible structures, with only one binding target (voluntary declared curbs on CO2 emission). A general recommendation was made to use 1990 as the year for the BEI reference; nevertheless signatories are able to choose the closest subsequent year for which reliable data could be gathered. As a result, different years have been chosen in BEIs of the dataset. Signatories with a reference year closer to 2020 are challenged with a higher effort on meeting the target of at least 20% of emission reduction by 2020.

Although the minimum commitment was to reduce the current emissions by 20%, CoM signatories who have already submitted a SEAP as of mid-May 2014, have estimated for 2020 an overall reduction of 28% of the overall GHG emissions in BEIs reference years.  

Furthermore, the report aims to emphasize the feature of CoM as a flexible common platform for achieving EU2020 Climate and Energy targets with a bottom-up approach.

Expected results

Energy efficiency has a fundamental role to play in the transition towards a more competitive, secure and sustainable energy system with an internal energy market at its core. In fact, the estimated energy savings by 2020 of CoM signatories amount to 479 TWh by 2020, which correspond to a reduction of 20% of final energy consumption in BEIs reference years.

Furthermore, SEAPs may contribute to a wider vision of sustainability in urban areas. Local authorities have to find the right mixture of actions on getting local energy demand under control and increasing use of local renewable source by encouraging the integration of energy systems. Based on estimation in SEAPs of CoM signatories as of mid-May 2014, 18% of final energy consumption by 2020 will be produced locally from renewable sources and by more efficient energy generation technologies (district heating and combined heat and power plants).

Lastly, an overall picture of estimated investment cost planned by signatories is reported. Investments in energy efficiency has the potential to contribute to economic growth, employment, innovation and a reduction in fuel poverty in households, and therefore makes a positive contribution to economic, social and territorial cohesion.

In the coming years signatories are challenged with the monitoring phase of CoM initiative. Every second year, signatories will have to submit a monitoring report of the implementation of the actions. Future studies will allow the assessment of the real progress of energy efficiency and local energy production measures planned in the SEAPs.

In this phase, bottom-up methodologies and GIS based tools may be integrated. Other regulatory frameworks and platforms (ex. Inspire) and open data sharing policies may further support the CoM signatories' efforts.

  • 1. Energy Union Package: COM (2015) 80
  • 2. European Energy Security Strategy: COM (2014)330
  • 3. EED 2012/27/EU
http://e3p-beta.jrc.nl/node/109