CO2FREE stems from the need identified by the partner regions to address the problem of climate change and the dependency on fossil fuels, and to seek ICT-based solutions for energy challenges and new approaches to make transport more sustainable; the partners have decided to tackle these issues through the exchange of good practices and their transfer into their Regional Operational Programmes.
The partnership has emerged from the ERNACT network, which has an established track record in developing and implementing Knowlegde Economy solutions in a regional context, and 5 of the CO2FREE partners (ERNACT EEIG, Donegal, Derry, ALAV and ARDI) had successfully implemented a previous Capitalisation project -PIKE-. The remaining 5 partners (San Sebastián, North Karelia, Carinthia, West Romania and Avila) all have important good practices to share in the energy efficiency and sustainable transport themes and have previously worked with some of the ERNACT and/or CO2FREE partners.
The aim of CO2FREE is to give the regional and local authorities specific instruments to address the challenge of energy efficiency and sustainable transport, by jointly developing Action Plans in close cooperation with regional stakeholders, to be implemented by making use of mainstream
Obj. 1 and 2 Structural Funds (SF) available in each participating region. Sub-objectives are:
- To translate the best practices mastered by the CO2FREE partnership into regional Action Plans (APs) to be implemented under the Operational Programmes (OPs) of the EU SF (Obj 1 and 2 OPs) in each region
- To have political commitment that regional APs will be actually implemented, both from the regional stakeholders and the Managing Authorities of the OP.
- To involve regional and local stakeholders in the preparation of regional APs
- To disseminate information about the project, its objectives, the approach, results and lessons learned to a large audience at local, regional, national and EU level. Each participating region will develop an AP to transfer the GPs into their mainstream SF programmes.
Main activities will consist of Selection of the GPs (GP Transfer Pack, GP Transfer Workshop) ; Adaptation of GPs (Study visits, GP transfer roadmaps, Thematic seminars) and Commitment to implement the GPs (Local meetings with MA, presentations to regional OP Monitoring Committees, AP development and regional AP launches)
OUTPUTS: Brochure, 4 newsletters; launch conference; closing conference; 500 GP Packs; GP Transfer workshop; 27 Local meetings; 3 Thematic seminars; 9 GPs made available;18 participants in study visits; 9 regional Action Plan launches; Project presented at OPs Monitoring Committee meetings.
CO2FREE (Cooperating 2 Foster Renewables and Energy Efficiency) tries to address the problem of climate change. Aware of this CO2FREE partnership is translating good practices into regional Action Plans (APs) implemented under the Operational Programmes (OPs) of the EU Structural Funds (Objective 1 & 2 OPs) in each region; to get political commitment that regional APs will be implemented; to involve regional and local actors in the AP preparation and to disseminate project information at local, regional, national and EU level.
The 10 Good Practices shared within the project are:
- North Karelia Bioenergy Programme,
- Green ICT in Västernorrland,
- San Sebastián's Best Energy project,
- Donegal's Wood-burning systems installation in public buildings, Non-Food use of crops and Wind Turbine training programmes,
- Carinthia's "Lebensland Kärnten" sustainable transport project,
- Avila's Intelligent Energy Europe project "Probio",
- Derry's installation of renewable energy sources in homes, community centres and public buildings,
- Bulgaria SE's Programme for Sustainable Development of Enterprises,
- West Romania's Research Institute for Renewable Energies and
- Participation and clear guidelines to a climate smart future in North Karelia.
Project now is coming to its end. Apart from the internal management tasks work has been mainly focused in the whole process of document, exchange and import Good practices coming from other regions and also to disseminate and communicate project key aspects and achievements.
In terms of exchange of experience partnership has followed a complete process to share and exchange knowledge and experiences and also to involve the key regional stakeholders in order to try to assure that the RAPs will be successfully implemented. To this extent activities such asthe production of the Good practices transfer pack including all the relevant information about them took place.
Thematic seminar on ICT and Energy Efficiency (Derry, December 2010), Interregional GP Transfer Workshop (Carinthia, February 2011) seminar on Renewable Energies (North Karelia June 2011) and 3 on Green ICT (Vasternorrland, November 2012) were organized including presentations from experts in order to provide a deeper knowledge about the topic addressed in the project.
A key activity was the organization of 10 study visits which took place in months 7, 8, 11 & 13 and where recipient regions visited donor regions to see the GP being transferred and get an opportunity to discuss relevant issues with people directly involved in the GP implementation. Partners have celebrated a set of local meetings throughout the project keeping informed to decision makers and other relevant stakeholders about project progress and aiming the agreement and support for the selection of the preferred good practices to be included in the RAPs. As a result an overall of 12 RAPs (3 more than the originally planned) have been approved.
Partner 6 (Fomento San Sebastian) finished their Regional action plan importing the GP coming from North Karelia. The rest of the partners are now finalizing their Regional Action plans. In terms of Communication & Dissemination, project is being widely disseminated and achieving higher targets than the initially expected causing a big interest at local and European level. Project can be followed through website www.co2free-project.eu and social media channels in Facebook and Twitter. The Launch Conference took place on 12-May-11 in San Sebastián.
Other dissemination activities have included a project brochure designed in 7 languages and with more than 18,000 copies disseminated. 500 CO2FREE Good Practice packs were developed and disseminated. Partnership is being very active disseminating CO2FREE project in other related events and forums.