SMILEGOV workshop in Athens: Island authorities deepen their knowledge on stakeholders’ analysis and innovative mechanisms to finance local sustainable energy projects

The Greek cluster convened the 4th local SMILEGOV workshop in Athens on 19 June 2015. Building on the 3rd local workshop, hosted earlier this year in the Greek capital, participants had the chance to experiment with participatory processes in decision-making, all while deepening their understanding of innovative tools to finance sustainable energy projects on their territories. The workshop was organised in three parts. First, participants were introduced to participatory planning as a means to enhancing citizen engagement in policy- and decision-making. Then they gathered in teams and applied the focus group method to conduct stakeholders’ analysis for different real-life project scenarios (wind project involving the municipality; electro-mobility; pedestrianisation of main historic/commercial street of island centre; and energy efficiency upgrade in traditional building hosting a primary school), having as reference document the Guide on Stakeholder Analysis of the SMILEGOV toolbox. In the focus groups, participants were given the space to diagnose barriers to the elaboration of sustainable energy projects, identify the key stakeholders that need to be involved and suggest concrete ways of overcoming barriers and designing more inclusive processes in the project planning and implementation phases. In the second part, participants identified which of the three innovative financing mechanisms chosen for analysis (energy cooperatives, crowdfunding/crowdlending and ESCOs) fits best their project scenario and described the necessary steps for setting up the respective financing mechanism. The workshop was successful as it brought together energy officers and elected officials from municipalities who were very keen to learn about and make use of innovative decision-making and financing tools in real-life conditions.