Energy issues have a major impact on environment, employment and the everyday life of EU citizens. Both the trend of increasing energy prices and the necessity to limit emissions are raising energy issues on the agendas of public and private bodies. Energy costs represent an increasing budgetary burden for local and regional governments. It is therefore essential to develop efficient ways to rationalise the use of energy.

The local and regional governments work with all aspects of energy policies: They can influence energy demand directly through the management of their own energy use, but also indirectly by informing and motivating end-users as to how they can apply energy more efficiently.

Local and regional governments also take important decisions that have an impact on the energy supply. Decisions on the energy mix in favour of more efficient systems and renewable energy can promote local energy production and reduce dependencies on energy resources from other parts of the world.

Finally, climate change is a growing challenge facing local and regional governments. It creates imperatives to protect people from risks to health and well-being.

This guidebook is compiled for local and regional governments, both elected representatives and technical personnel. It contains a pool of ideas, measures and good practice examples that help local and regional governments develop and implement action plans for sustainable energy.

The guidebook answers the following questions: “How to approach the energy issues at local level? Where to start?” › Ten action steps for local decision makers.

“How can local and regional governments take action?”

“What are the links between local energy policies and climate protection?”

“What is the European dimension of sustainable energy policies?”

“How to get help; how to find ideas for action; and where to get support for exchanging experiences?”