The Energy Agency South Tyrol – CasaClima, based in Bolzano/Bozen (I), is the new Caretaker of the Energy Community of the Alpine Climate Board (ACB). CasaClima is a centre of excellence for energy-efficient and sustainable construction and renovation. It has created a range of quality seals and training courses for building products and certifications that take a more holistic approach to sustainable construction. Moreover, CasaClima manages programmes in the field of municipal climate protection, improving energy efficiency in companies, environmental education in schools, and numerous capacity-building and awareness-raising initiatives
On a transnational level, CasaClima is co-leader of the Action Group 9 (“Energy efficiency and renewable energies”) of the European Macroregional Strategy for the Alpine area (EUSALP), and is involved in numerous international research projects.
In its new role as Caretaker, CasaClima will engage in taking forward the four implementation pathways of the Energy Community:
- Network of regional energy coordinators (prioritised pathway)
- Support low-carbon Alpine lifestyle & business models (prioritised pathway)
- Enable energy democracy in the Alps
- Alpine administrations as forerunners
Two questions for Ulrich Santa, general manager of the Energy Agency South Tyrol – CasaClima and, together with Benjamin Auer, Caretaker of the Energy Community
Q: What motivated you to apply to become a caretaker of the ACB?
When tackling the challenges brought upon us by the need to completely decarbonise our economies by 2050, I am convinced that we can only do so by working together transnationally. In particular, the regions of the Alpine area all face similar challenges on many aspects on which cross-border exchange can be very beneficial. If we think about renewable energy production and distribution, smart grids, energy communities, the gathering and processing of energy data – just to name a few – these are all aspects that need to be looked at regardless of regional or national borders.
Q: What ideas do you have for implementing specific steps of the pathways?
The ideas will be developed jointly in the Community. But I can give some input at this stage. Let us look at the pathway “Network of regional energy coordinators” for example: There are so many areas in which currently each region works by themselves. For instance: each region collects and processes energy data in different ways; but in order to monitor the data and their related energy strategies, we would need a common approach in order to improve comparability. So we could think about the elaboration of guidelines to obtain a common set of fundamental (open) energy data, developed using the same methodology. In parallel, we should envisage capacity building for energy coordinators on topics of transnational interest.
If we look at the pathway “Support low-carbon Alpine lifestyle & business models”, we could think about the extension of footprint calculators to the public (many examples already exist) and to enterprises; they would be able to carry out a self-assessment and see their potential for improvement. Related to this, we could imagine an instrument for compensation of CO2 emissions via local climate protection projects. Of course, some regions are more advanced than others, therefore the exchange of best practices will be vital.