Climate protection is becoming one of the main concerns of citizens and they have demonstrated their will for urgent action. In response, the European Union proposed the new European Green Deal, but local authorities across Europe (such as municipalities) have already taken action to mitigate their carbon footprint. Their endeavour has mainly been supported by European, national, regional and local funds mobilised for the Covenant of Mayors action plans. Another important source of financial resources has been the funding provided by citizens in local projects.
In this context, the second C-Track 50 webinar took place successfully on the 9th of June 2020, gathering more than 130 participants and demonstrating the wide interest of local stakeholders across EU in identifying solutions to implement ambitious projects. More specifically, the webinar focused on various innovative schemes for funding sustainable energy and climate actions from citizen finance at a local level, hosting first-hand practitioners as well as institutional actors.
According to the practitioners, there are two main ways for citizen financing, either through crowdfunding or through energy cooperatives. The power of these cooperatives can be increased by the cooperation of local governments in order to increase the benefits for the local communities. Furthermore, an interesting example of crowdfunding is presented regarding a solar roof plant in Croatia, where 40 investors funded a 23,250 € project in less than 48 hours with an interest rate of 3% for 10 years. Last but not least, another promising method of funding was demonstrated, the Citizen Green Bonds. In this framework, citizens lend money to the local authorities for sustainable energy projects and they are paid back with fluctuating interests. These interests are regulated by the reduction of emissions in the said area; hence citizens will be more focused on reducing their carbon footprint.
The specific titles of the webinar presentations are as follows: :
- Funding Climate Actions Initiatives through Citizen Financing Instruments (Somesh Sharma and Catherine Foley, HIS)
- Citizens energy cooperatives (Daan Creupelandt, REScoop.eu)
- Local Governments join hands through Energy Cooperative (Arthur Hinsch, ICLEI Europe)
- Crowdfunding of solar roofs (Petra Orehovački, REA North & Lucija Topic, city of Krizevci)
- Combo Bond: increasing the impact of the same budget (Alex Houtart, European Climate DB)
A copy of the presentations and the recording of the webinar is available through the following links: