Regional energy planning in Pomurje
The ambition for the Regional Living Lab in Pomurje is to develop a sustainable energy plan which should become the inspirational direction for a wide range of regional partners to join forces and create the desired institutional capacity
A central challenge for the Pomurje region is the lack of a regional governmental layer in Slovenia. While the country itself is of a modest size (2 million inhabitants), it has a clearly fragmented institutional structure. The size of many municipalities in Pomurje region is below 2.000, with only a few municipalities reaching 20.000 inhabitants or more. Hence, most municipalities have limited resources to cope with bigger regional challenges.
The shift towards a more sustainable energy system in Slovenia cannot simply be assumed to rely on national governmental interventions. The relevance of physical conditions, such as the availability of rivers, biomass and agriculture in Pomurje, will not only condition opportunities for developing sustainable energy systems. Also, the relevance of local conditions on implementation is crucial to take into account. In the face of limited institutional capacity on a municipal level, it is crucial to develop institutional capacity on a regional level.
The strategic energy planning is further inspired by the existence of a national policy that opts for municipalities to create so called ‘Local Energy Concepts’. As such, municipalities are motivated to engage in a process of institutional capacity building as they can use this directly for their own purposes. The Pomurje Regional development Council (LEAP) is the organization taking a coordinative role and is also the INTENSSS-PA partner.
As Pomurje does not exist as a governmental authority, the sustainable energy plan will depend on other institutional paths to be implemented. Hence, central to the Pomurje RLL is
- the linking of its activities to the development of municipal ‘Local energy concepts’
- the positioning of visions, plans and actions within the sustainable energy plan within other existing national and municipal plans to accommodate budgeting and implementation, and
- the creation of political, administrative and social commitment.
Especially this last ambition implies that Pomurje does not only depend on a context of working towards a plan on a regional level. Also, its concept is that taking actual action at the ground is a key instrument to join politicians, administrators and technical experts in learning from each other and developing true institutional relations and common awareness.
In this context, the region has developed a full Strategic Sustainable Energy Plan with an incorporated Action plan for the energy efficiency and exploitation of renewable energy sources as a basis for the work of the Regional Living Lab. The planning focus is oriented to the Action plan for the energy efficiency and exploitation of renewable energy sources in the Pomurje region.
Energy management in the large public sector is a particular priority in the region.