Set up project
The foundation of a successful project is set in the planning stage so the time to think twice is now. Even so the planning part can be made more efficient by using what others have already done. Do not invent the wheel again! Here is a list of advice to help prepare the EEAP.
Get inspiration from others
It will not take long to find many good examples of others developing EEAPs but remember that a copy and paste approach is seldom a good idea. All cities have their specific conditions that will affect the possibilities of success. Using ideas from other cities is not just a way to get good ideas for your EEAP. It is also a strong communication tool by using the method “They can, so why shouldn’t we be able to…?”.
Get consensus on a general vision
Aim at reaching an agreement on what the overall goal for energy efficiency is at an early stage. Depending on the local conditions the vision for energy efficiency can vary. Is the focus to decrease the total amount of used energy? Is the vision to become energy self-sufficient?
Get inspiration for energy efficiency actions from around Europe.
Left: Street lights in Tartu, Estonia.
Right: Counting bicycles in Eskilstuna, Sweden.
Build a cross departmental project group
A project group with representatives from different departments has many positive effects on the EEAP. Different competences will strengthen the outcome. The extended network of the project group will be larger. The communication and the implementation of the plan will be facilitated.
Choose an experienced coordinator
Managing the process of developing an EEAP includes coordination of a large amount of data and the engagement of a large group of people including stakeholders. An experienced coordinator with project management competence and good knowledge of the city is beneficial.
Eskilstuna’s project group works across departments
The project group to develop the EEAP in Eskilstuna included people from different departments; planning, environment & society, real-estate and mobility management. The broad representation gave good conditions to cover energy efficiency as a cross-sectorial topic and to get access to the extended network. The coordinator had extensive previous experience with energy efficiency and good skills in writing strategic plans. The fact that the coordinator was new to the organization, though challenging, made developing into an opportunity to get to know different departments.
Consider the city’s pre-conditions
Gather as much ideas and experiences as you can from others but remember to avoid copy-paste. You always have to consider the local pre-conditions and change the EEAP accordingly.
Consultants write the EEAP in Santiago de Compostela
If the resources or the competencies to develop the EEAP are not available in the city’s organization using external resources might be an alternative. Santiago de Compostela put most of their efforts into developing a mission statement. The development of the actual plan is then done by an external consultancy firm.
Write a project plan
By writing a project plan it is easy to remember the initial vision and set up of the process and to quickly include new members of the process by letting them read the project plan. For it to be useful it should be simple, clear and short. Cities have very different views on how much time is needed to wr ite a strategic plan. Some cities say it depends on the plan and some cities have a set planning process that is the same for all strategic plans. When writing a project plan a good way to make sure that important topics are covered is to answer some basic questions:
- Vision and goals – what should be done?
- Background – why should it be done?
- Time plan – when should it be done?
- Organization – who should do it?
- Method – how should it be done?
This is of course very general but works as a strong basis to build on. Rather than trying to include everything it is important to be very clear. Be concrete and avoid writing long texts. A good way to keep it short is to write your EEAP in Powerpoint instead of Word.
Regulations can hinder or help Stoke-on-Trent’s EEAP
Regional and national guidelines affect strategic planning more is some cities than in others. Stoke-on-Trent is strongly affected by both regional and national regulations. This affects what they can include in the strategic planning and how and when it should be done. Depending on your attitude it can be either a hinder or a support. Sometimes you can find solutions by being creative.