The Environmental Investment Centre (EIC) opened an application round for the preparation of local government climate and energy plans, within the framework of which local governments have the opportunity to add the climate and energy sector to already existing development plans or prepare a separate plan for a specific region. The budget for the round is EUR 400,000 and the deadline for submitting applications is 26 April 2021.
According to Minister of the Environment Tõnis Mölder, when drawing up the climate and energy plans, cities and rural municipalities need to think carefully about how to be greener and provide an increasingly attractive living environment for their inhabitants. ‘The green revolution in Estonia cannot take place without the contribution of local governments. On the contrary, municipalities should set an example when it comes to reducing greenhouse gases and implementing climate-friendly planning’, says Mölder.
‘In Norway, the role of local governments in mitigating and adapting to climate change is growing’, says Norwegian Ambassador Else Berit Eikeland, reaffirming that Norwegian local governments must take the climate aspect into account when making every decision, from thematic planning to the purchasing of cars. ‘We are looking forward to Estonian and Norwegian local governments being able to exchange their best experiences within the framework of this climate programme’, added Eikeland.
Andrus Treier, Head of the EIC, emphasises that local governments bring people, communities, companies, and public services together as key players in the green revolution. ‘If everyone thinks about and analyses how to develop transport, land use, housing, entrepreneurship, work and health in a better and more energy-efficient manner together, we can take a big step jointly in the name of a better tomorrow. Therefore, the preparation of a climate and energy plan at the beginning of this journey is necessary in order to organise thoughts’, says Treier. ‘At the EIC, we are able to work centrally in helping to set the direction, creating roadmaps and seeing the whole picture, so that the ambition of climate neutrality can be delineated with a clear set of steps’, he adds.
There are several areas that local governments can analyse within the framework of preparing climate plans. Local governments may prepare energy audits for the buildings they are managing and consider whether the buildings require reconstruction, or analyse how flood risks in the area have been managed. Or, for example, prepare an overview of local farmers, in order to facilitate the marketing of local products to their inhabitants and thereby reduce the amount of emissions arising from the transport of products. Once local governments have drawn up energy and climate plans, the plan is to open a follow-up round, which is intended for the implementation of climate measures.
During the application round, the inclusion of experts from Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein will provide the project with added value and higher scores. The Ministry of the Environment (kertu.sepp [at] envir.ee) can be of assistance in finding a donor country.
The budget for the round is EUR 400,000. The minimum amount of support is EUR 5000, the maximum is EUR 50,000 and the support rate is up to 90%. Local governments, agencies administered by them and county local government associations can apply for support. An on-line information day will be held at 10.00 on 10 March, to introduce the grant. Further information about the application conditions, and the opportunity to register for the briefing can be found on the EIC’s homepage.
The energy and climate planning round is part of the European Economic Area’s Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation programme, which has three main themes: strengthening ecosystems and circular economy principles, contributing to raising the capacity for climate change mitigation and adaptation at the local level. The programme is operated by the Ministry of the Environment and Royal Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment. In addition, the Norwegian Embassy in Estonia is playing an important role in transnational cooperation.
In accordance with the European Economic Area Enlargement Agreement, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will support 15 European countries through the EEA Financial Mechanism with EUR 1.548 billion, of which 95.8% will be provided by Norway, 3% by Iceland, and 1.2% by Liechtenstein. The purpose of the grants is to reduce economic and social disparities in the European Economic Area (EEA) and to strengthen bilateral relations between donor and beneficiary countries.
Various programmes in Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia are being funded within the framework of the EEA grants.
During the 2014–2021 funding period, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein will be contributing EUR 32.3 million to Estonia, of which EUR 6 million will be aimed specifically towards the implementation of environmental and climate projects through the ‘Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation’ programme.