Communities seeking to participate in European Union funding opportunities for Smart cities – such as lighthouse projects for Smart communities – are advised to sign up to the EU’s Covenant of Mayors ahead of making applications.
The Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy is an EU initiative started in 2008, bringing together local and regional bringing authorities to implement the EU’s climate and energy objectives on their territory.
New signatories pledge – on a voluntary basis – to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 40% by 2030 and to adopt an integrated approach to tackling mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
The Covenant of Mayors now has 6,958 signatories within the EU. They share and learn from initiatives to reduce carbon emissions and increase access to secure sustainable and affordable energy.
In order to translate their political commitment into practical measures and projects, Covenant signatories commit to submitting, within two years following the date of the local council decision, a Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP) outlining the key actions they plan to undertake. The plan features a Baseline Emission Inventory to track mitigation actions and a Climate Risks and Vulnerability Assessment.
The adaptation strategy can either be part of the SECAP or developed and mainstreamed in a separate planning document. This bold political commitment marks the beginning of a long-term process with cities committed to reporting every two years on the implementation progress of their plans.
The European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) instrument – a funding tool of the European Investment Bank (EIB) – is supporting Covenant signatories.
ELENA grants help local authorities structure their energy efficiency or renewable energy investment projects in the most efficient ways so they can attract finance from local banks and other sources.
There is no call for proposals as local authorities can submit their project to the EIB at any time.