Adrian Hiel is responsible for EU Policy and Communications at Energy Cities, a network of more than 1000 cities implementing a radical transformation of the energy systems and policies, giving citizens the power to shape a decentralised and renewable energy future. A transplanted Canadian and former journalist he believes that system change at the local level is the fairest and fastest way of ensuring that the goals of the EU’s Green Deal and avoiding the worst impacts of climate change can be achieved.
There is not one template for decarbonising a city. Each city has its own challenges and resources and will have its own unique path to becoming future-proof. But there are clearly common challenges, ideas and efforts which can be shared amongst cities. That is why Energy Cities is primarily a knowledge-sharing network where cities of similar sizes can find inspiration about what can work, and what might not, from other cities.
Moving away from fossil fuels in electricity, heat, food and other sectors is complicated. But we have examples from cities across Europe that change can be embraced and that it can drastically improve the lives of inhabitants – which should be the goal of every mayor.