For Spain to meet greenhouse gas (GHG) emission targets efficiently and promptly, and implement the identified (feasible) technical solutions for energy transition to low carbon, it is imperative to break down the national goals to the local level systematically. The promotion of a multi-partner local approach helps solve complex, cross-cutting issues such as reducing carbon emissions from a local area. Local-level actors and local authorities can have a significant and long-term impact on the development of MRE systems in Andalusia by driving this area's energy transition road map based on innovation, engagement, and empowerment.
In this context, the proposed energy governance model consists of several actors that can amplify local climate policies and initiatives to be expanded and upscaled, by acting in three different directions: i) upwards: through influencing local and national government; ii) downwards: through energy demand and carbon reduction at the local level, and; iii) through encouraging, networking with and supporting other groups and sectors, developing social innovation actions, and facilitating good practices. Simultaneously, it is important that the local government sets out an agreed scope on MRE with the national government, encouraging it to participate in the implementation of national programs and plans actively (e.g., Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan 2021-2030) at the local level.
The proposed solution to address the challenge on energy governance at the local level can be categorised in the following phases:
Phase 1: Initial mapping and analysis of the local circumstances to identify the local needs and priorities, conceptualise and design the type of actions that should be taken.
Phase 2: Identify the most relevant local stakeholders (both primary and intermediary) and their roles and responsibilities. Potential stakeholders are local government institutions, universities, research centres, technology centres, social enterprises, renewable energy producers, clusters, NGOs and associations, and civil society. Relationships between the different groups of stakeholders should be clearly stated.
Phase 3: Develop the stakeholder engagement and governance processes and define the stakeholder engagement and governance processes and define the most appropriate decision-making processes and operational methods to be adopted.
Phase 4: Establish an integrated governance system while ensuring constructive communication and active involvement of all stakeholders.
Phase 5: Evaluation of the multi-partner governance model and continuous improvement of the process.
All stakeholders will contribute to the identification of needs and priorities, the evaluation of MRE technologies, taking into account the MRE resources of Andalusia, and the selection of the most effective policy measures. Primary and intermediary stakeholders from public and non-public sectors will perform a wide range of roles. Main areas of involvement are focused on energy efficiency, energy conservation, and MRE generation, with the aim to influence energy actions at the local level. For instance, intermediary organisations can provide tools that enable action, can organise and facilitate networking and skills sharing channels, and increase the scale of local schemes to a level where finance providers are interested in supporting the activity. On the other hand, local governments can develop public-private partnerships, deliver decarbonisation visions, and foster strong collaboration between local and national entities to provide MRE systems. Relationships between the stakeholders should be built on trust and transparent communication, while horizontal and vertical interactions across the various levels of the governance system, requiring a considerable coordination endeavour, will drive policy formation not only at the local level but the national level as well, to facilitate the implementation of MRE plans.
An overall impact is shifting society from scarcity to abundance –based on what we have– and tackling issues that cause environmental and related problems through new and novel ways. The main socio-economic impacts from the development and implementation of the proposed model are the following:
· Empowerment and engagement of citizens, local administration, and public sector for the energy transition
· Diversification of energy supply and reducing dependence on imported fuels
· Access to local energy supply and new financing possibilities
· Creation of new job opportunities, empowerment of local professionals, and attraction of inhabitants through the development of MRE at a local level
· Change of the mindset of the local population through enhanced knowledge and capacities related to the MRE sector
· Empowerment of communities to drive initiatives for a common benefit
· Raising citizens' awareness on energy transition and climate change
· A positive economic impact is expected since new energy systems based on MRE are a way to decrease taxes
· Companies would be more incentivised to invest in MRE technologies locally
· Encouraging the creation of start-ups focusing on the development of MRE technologies
· Greater cooperation between the public and the private sector regarding MRE technologies in response to the local needs
· Fostering research and innovation for the development of MRE technologies
· Creating funding opportunities and attracting investments in MRE technologies
· Improved public health
The main environmental impacts of the proposed model are the following:
· Reduction of the environmental footprint of the local public and private sector
o Reduction of emissions and pollution (especially air and water pollution) associated with carbon-intensive energy sources and fuels consumption
o Improvement of energy efficiency locally based on MRE production
o Development and use of environmentally friendly technologies
· Increase of local biodiversity through proper design and management of MRE installations
The Cyprus Marine Maritime Institute (CMMI) is a Centre of Excellence for Marine and Maritime Research and Innovation established in 2019 under the EU's HORIZON 2020 Programme Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation Call. CMMI aims to drive sustainable blue growth by undertaking Research and Innovation activities guided by industry and society's needs, addressing the major challenges that the Marine and Maritime sectors face. CMMI fosters innovation and development by reinforcing the interactions between members of the quintuple helix to empower sustainable development with a positive impact on the economy, society, and technology on a local, EU, and global level. CMMI is organised in ten Research and Innovation Centres with specific focus areas and know-how covering a broad spectrum of marine and maritime disciplines. MRE sector is among the target markets where CMMI pursues opportunities and implements solutions. Key personnel involved in this innovation challenge includes the following members:
· Monica Andreou is a researcher in the Maritime Human Element Centre (MHEC), dealing with proposals/projects and initiatives in the Blue Economy area. She has a bachelor's degree in European Studies and International Relations and a Master's in business administration (MBA – Project Management). She has been a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI – PMP) since 2016. After completing her first degree, she did her internship, for almost one year, in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece. She has a working experience of more than 15 years in the coordination of various projects, from several EU and International co-funded research/ training programmes. Her main research interests include marine integrated maritime policy and maritime human element (eg. blue skills blue career; mentoring.
· Sofia Maragkidou is a researcher at the Centre for Marine and Maritime Policy Research and Regional Cooperation (CM2PR2C) of CMMI. She has a bachelor's degree in EU and international relations from the University of Macedonia (Greece) and two Master degrees in European Studies and European Integration from the Institute for European Studies-Université Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium). From 2011 until 2013 Ms. Maragkidou worked at the office of a Member of the European Parliament focusing on the policy areas of regional development and budgetary control. In addition, she has 5-year experience in the management and implementation of marine and maritime projects funded by the EU, having worked in organisations such as the Maritime Institute of Eastern Mediterranean (MarInEM) and the Cyprus Marine and Maritime Institute. Her main research interests include marine and maritime policies and regulations, coastal and maritime tourism, marine and maritime clusters, ocean governance and regional cooperation.
· Flora Karathanasi is an Associate Scientist at the Cyprus Marine Observation Network (CyMON) of CMMI, with a PhD from the Department of Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering of NTUA. Between 2014 and 2020, she worked as a Junior Researcher at the Institute of Oceanography of the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR). Her main research interests include assessment studies of marine renewable energy resources (especially offshore wind and waves), long-term modelling of metocean climate, extreme value analysis of metocean parameters, and numerical simulation models for waves, currents, and sediment transport.