How can municipalities make their sustainable energy ambitions come true? The partners of the BEAST project (short for ‘Beyond Energy Action Plans’) seem to have found a way. In nine European countries, they are assisting local authorities to launch 23 projects that are leading to measurable energy savings and an increase of the share of renewable energy sources. As of now, the project that was started in 2014 already resulted in more than € 3 million of investments.

The BEAST projects are all about saving energy and increasing the share of renewable energy sources such as wind, water, biomass and solar power. Midterm results - the project ends in 2017 - are promising.

The East Sweden Energy Agency assisted several municipalities to provide more charging infrastructure for electrical vehicles and to increase their electrical fleet. The municipality of Boxholm decided to invest in the storage and use of waste heat of a local steel company. In the Valtellina Mountain Community of Morbegno (Italy), first investments include additional bicycle infrastructure for commuters and tourists. The Møre and Romsdal County Council in Norway assisted municipalities to install speed chargers for electric vehicles and to apply energy management systems in a number of public buildings. Moreover, a fish sludge biogas pilot plant at Smøla has been built.

In Belgium, the Province of Flemish Brabant convinced a number of municipalities to start with energy performance contracting - a form of ‘creative financing’ that funds energy efficient investments from cost reductions. By providing assistance in project applications for the purchase of electric cars, the Zemgale Regional Energy Agency contributed to the rise of the number of electrical vehicles on the roads in Latvia. The Western Isles Council in the UK  helped to create ‘Hebrides Energy’, a community interest company to provide access to cheaper, green electricity.  In Croatia, the University of Zagreb facilitated the installation of a first public charging station for electrical vehicles in the Mljet National Park.

In the next years, total investments in the BEAST project, that also includes partners in Spain and Cyprus, are expected to reach € 40,5 million. That financial effort would result in 23 GWh in energy savings and 6 GWh in renewable energy production. This equals reduced GHG emissions of 21.227 tonnes of CO2 equivalents.

The investment projects that are currently being developed within BEAST range from energy efficient refurbishment of office buildings, low impact hydro power and energy efficient street lighting to community renewables, micro generation, commercialisation of ocean power and microgrids for renewables.

All over Europe, authorities have drafted ‘sustainable energy action plans’ to contribute to the transition to a low carbon economy. However, many municipalities struggle to put these plans into practice. The BEAST approach helps local authorities to identify bankable projects and systematically remove barriers that might prevent implementation.

The partners of the BEAST project are looking forward to sharing their experiences with local and regional authorities and with the general audience. Follow the project on




Ylva Ek

East Sweden Energy Agency

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