Climate Action

STEP UP launches city guides for sustainable energy planning

The four partner cities in the EU collaborative project STEP UP – Ghent, Glasgow, Gothenburg and Riga – have worked together to develop tools and resources that facilitate integrated planning for sustainable energy in cities

  • 06 August 2015
  • William Brittlebank

A smart cities project funded by the European Union concluded in July and has helped cities in Belgium, Latvia, Scotland and Sweden develop their clean energy programmes.

From November 2012 to July 2015, STEP UP (Strategies Towards Energy Performance and Urban Planning), an EU FP7 funded project, has assisted cities in transitioning towards a smart and low-carbon future.

Throughout the project four European cities - Glasgow, Ghent, Gothenburg and Riga – have collaborated to develop strategies aimed at enhancing their Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPs), developed under the Covenant of Mayors initiative.

The project has brought together twelve partners from municipalities, research and commercial organisations, with expertise in energy planning, economics, finance, technology, stakeholder engagement and project management. This multi-disciplinary partnership allowed STEP UP to take a holistic view on energy planning, set within the context of wider city systems and policy objectives.

This has helped the cities to identify and understand viable low carbon opportunities, and seize them in ways that engage stakeholders, deliver on the cities’ carbon emissions reduction targets and smart city ambitions, and contribute to environmental, social and economic goals. The active involvement of city councils has ensured that the SEAPs address the needs of the cities, their citizens, businesses and existing infrastructure, as well as being feasible to implement.

During the project several unique tools and methods have been designed to facilitate the integrated energy planning process in cities across Europe. These have been brought together in two easy-to-use guides: Developing Sustainable Energy Action Plans: a STEP UP guide for cities; and Developing sustainable energy projects: a STEP UP guide for cities. The guides are designed to support cities interested in developing or enhancing their own Sustainable Energy Action Plans and designing and implementing innovative low carbon projects.

STEP UP learnings have also been captured in two new Masters degrees: MSc Global Sustainable Cities at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and MSc Energy Efficient Infrastructure for Smart Cities at Riga Technical University.

To learn more about the project and its resources please visit: