The GMF Cities program of The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) and Energy Cities are launching “Energy Allies: Transatlantic Multi-stakeholder Dialogues for the Local Energy Transition,” funded by the European Union under the program “EU–U.S.: Transatlantic Civil Society Dialogues (TCSD) to foster strategic partnerships and collaboration between local civil society and government leaders, and embed them as a constant pillar in the policy planning and implementation action that supports cities’ energy transition. The invited cities include: 

Charlotte, North Carolina (Case study ») | Cambridge, Massachusetts (Case study ») | Heidelberg, Germany (Case study ») | Nantes, France (Case study »)

Energy Allies will:

  •  Connect and leverage the expertise of U.S. and EU civil society and local government leaders in driving democratic and inclusive processes to accelerate the energy transition;

  •  Outline and understand the best practices for successful partnership models in the energy transition, leading to the mutual empowerment of city government and civil society;

  • Disseminate and encourage wide replication of participatory policymaking and implementation regarding climate and energy action in U.S. and EU cities.

To meet these objectives, Energy Allies will conduct the following activities:

  1. City selection and network preparation

In the first phase of the project, carried out over the first six months of 2018, the activity will be devoted to screening and outreach to select a transatlantic network composed of 16 participants. The network will include two cities in Europe and two cities in the United States, representing a delegation of three people from the four participating cities (one local government representative and two individuals from relevant civil society groups within the city), as well as four representatives from multiplier stakeholders operating at the U.S. and EU level.

  1. Transatlantic dialogue execution:

GMF and Energy Cities will design two customized and innovative three-day-long Learning Lab and Workshops agenda, including a public event and a lab around a particular challenge raised by the host city on participative engineering methods to drive the local sustainable energy agenda of the city.

These activities are scheduled to take place in fall 2018 in the United States and spring 2019 in the EU and will provide time blocks for expert intervention and group dialogue on the three key challenges that emanate from the energy transition policy planning and action, and which are of direct concern to local, civil society groups, and local leaders:

  • City visioning and planning for low-carbon systems: how to reflect the motivations of civil society groups and maximize their decision-making;

  • Local energy ownership and energy access: how to ensure that civil society groups can become prosumers and participate in the production of renewable energy;

  • Innovation: what can be done to allow local stakeholders to flourish in the energy transition process and multiply existing civil society groups’ innovations on a large scale?

The final phase of the project will consist of analyzing and synthesizing the discussions from the peer learning network to provide substantive insight and recommendations on strategic partnerships and collaborations between local civil society groups and government leaders for coordinated policy planning and action to support and accelerate the energy transition across the Atlantic.

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