Running from 2014 to 2016, the RES H/C SPREAD project has developed six regional pilot plans in the field of heating and cooling with renewable energies, in order to harmonize baselines and therefore allow better policy planning. The project involves six pilot regions (Castilla y Leon in Spain, Emilia Romagna in Italy, Salzburg in Austria, Riga in Latvia, Western Macedonia in Greece and Rhodope in Bulgaria) representing the main climatic zones in Europe, primarily in the Mediterranean area. These pilot regions have benefitted from procedural and methodological support in developing their own plans for the optimal use of renewable energy for heating and cooling. Special attention has been devoted to improving participatory governance, enabling the collaboration of regional and national stakeholders.
In each region, the project has established Country Governance Committees to support the plans’ implementation and to help regional authorities, key stakeholders and citizen representatives reach consensus. The plans have been developed in accordance with the regional demand for heating and cooling and with Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) requirements: “to optimize the utilization of locally available residual and waste sources of heat, cooling and RES through the use of district heating & cooling networks in areas of sufficient heat and cooling demand.” In the long term, it is hoped that the project’s outputs will support the establishment of regional plans in additional areas, by providing an example of best practices for guidance, procedures and planning methods.