As energy agencies, we have an important role to play in our regions in building strong, positive narratives for the energy transition. The extensive Energy Efficiency Watch 4 (EEW4) survey of 1 270 experts in all EU countries offers valuable insight for improving our messaging and the actor groups we work with. Are we talking about the right things? And to the right people?
UPS AND DOWN IN POLICY AMBITION
The ambition of sustainable energy policies often fluctuates with changes in political leadership, such as after elections. Within the Energy Efficiency Watch (EEW) project, we analysed exceptions from such developments and found that policy ambition remains more stable in countries and regions where a society-wide acceptance is reached on ‘why’ they want the energy transition to take place.
THE MISSING ‘WHY’
These ‘whys’ – the so-called narratives – are messages, embedded in a wider framework, that impact our understanding of reality. They allow us to put topics into a context and provide meaning that resonates with people and helps achieve buy-in from larger societal groups.
The extensive EEW4 survey of 1,270 experts in all EU countries, carried out in 2020 clearly shows the importance of jobs, competitiveness and investments in the public debate. As energy agencies, this offers us valuable insight for improving our messaging and the actor groups we work with. The current price crisis is, among others, the result of insufficient attention to energy security (which also ranked low in the survey) and also to energy efficiency as a pillar of diversification. Especially in times like these, there is an obvious need for updating existing narratives and remaining flexible for new developments!
LEAVING OUR COMFORT ZONE
Using energy savings and climate protection as main arguments for the energy transition has often brought good results. However, many people and groups do not consider these sufficient for changing their behaviour or investment patterns.
How can we speed things up? We know that the energy transition has many benefits both for individuals and society. Do we talk about them enough? Is our messaging clear enough about the positive impacts on jobs, competitiveness and investments – in short, the wider economic benefits? Equipping ourselves with a greater portfolio of positive arguments, facts and figures can be an important element in boosting the acceptance of the energy transition.
Together, we have shown time and again that energy agencies are agile and pro-active in driving the implementation of new technologies and ambitious policies. Let us also innovate by broadening our narratives and partnerships! If we, as energy agencies, get this right – if we succeed in creating strong, multifaceted narratives for the energy transition – we can help achieve more stable ambition for energy policies in our regions and countries despite future political changes.
Let’s dare to step out of our comfort zone, review and improve our messaging and find ways to work with a larger range of actor groups, so that we can help every person find their ‘why’ for the energy transition.
- Full EEW4 Survey Report: www.energy-efficiency-watch.org/media/publications/EEW4-survey-report.pd
- Summary of the EEW4 Survey Report: www.energy-efficiency-watch.org/media/publications/EEW4-survey-summary.pdf
About the author:
Christiane Egger is Deputy Manager of OÖ Energiesparverband and FEDARENE Vice-President for Climate Neutrality. She is Manager of the Cleantech-Cluster Energy, a network of 250 companies active in sustainable energy and the environment and Conference Director of the World Sustainable Energy Days, one of Europe’s largest annual conferences on the energy transition and climate neutrality. She has developed and led over 40 EU funded projects. She is a Member of the management board of the Austrian R&D platform for the decarbonisation of industry (NEFI). As an expert in market development, she has developed and implemented numerous promotional activities for energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. She holds a law degree and a post-graduate degree in environmental engineering.
FEDARENE (European Federation of Agencies and Regions for Energy and the Environment) is the collective voice on the energy transition for regions and regional energy agencies. FEDARENE’s members drive the energy transition and climate action in their territories through ambitious policy development and strategic facilitation actions.
Disclaimer: This article is a contribution from a partner. All rights reserved.
Neither the European Commission nor any person acting on behalf of the Commission is responsible for the use that might be made of the information in the article. The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) only and should not be considered as representative of the European Commission’s official position.
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