Unlocking the potential of energy efficiency and renewable energy

Italy funds partnership to help cities implement efficient district energy worldwide

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According to the International Energy Agency, CO2 emissions from the building sector need to be reduced by approximately 40 per cent by 2030 compared to 2010 levels as part of efforts to limit global temperature rise to two degrees Celsius this century.

The funding for the District Energy in Cities initiative, which sits under the Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) Partnership, will initially be aimed at district energy projects in Morocco, in particularly focusing on new district cooling networks in Marrakech.

"Italy is fully committed to action and acceleration on energy efficiency," said Dr Federica Fricano, Head of the European Affairs Office at the Italian Ministry for Environment, Land and Sea. "The District Energy in Cities initiative is designed to help cities develop state-of-the-art district energy solutions. This is a very important step in delivering on the Paris Agreement and UN's Sustainable Development Goals, and is a continuation of Italy's support to local authority action."

The initiative is already working with Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Chile, India, and Serbia. The new partnership between Italy, Morocco and UN Environment will kick off the development of district energy across Africa, with other cities encouraged to consider joining the partnership. UN Environment research shows that modern district energy systems can reduce primary energy consumption for heating and cooling of urban buildings by up to 50 per cent. Such systems provide the only means to make use of waste heat to provide heat, cool and hot water services in buildings. District energy also allows for high levels of affordable renewable energy supply, making them a key measure for cities/countries that aim to achieve 100 per cent renewable energy or carbon neutral targets.

"We welcome the support of the Italian government and the UN Environment's District Energy in Cities Initiative," said Said Mouline, CEO of the Moroccan Agency for Energy Efficiency. "Without ambitious measures to transform our energy systems, electricity demand in Morocco could increase six fold by 2030, largely based on imported fossil fuels.

"Solutions like district energy will help us build low-carbon cities while also meeting our energy efficiency and renewable energy targets."

Ibrahim Thiaw, deputy head of UN Environment, said, "Combatting climate change will need ambitious action on energy efficiency. The District Energy in Cities initiative is helping cities and countries take this action. Italy's support accelerates our work and will enable Morocco to become a regional leader in district energy."

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