North Sea Sustainable Energy Planning Potentials Leading to Utmost Success

Background and Aim


In NSSEP PLUS, partners from all EU Member States represented in the North Sea Region Programme and a non-co-fundable Norwegian participation further exploited and refined the potential of the CO2-calculator tool. A key outcome under the NSSEP project, this tool was the perfect instrument to work on the mindset towards carbon reduction.

The central goal was to communicate with this tool and through new partners, means, methods and multipliers how actions of public authorities, SMEs, organisations, individual citizens and other stakeholders easily contributed to the CO2-reduction goal.



The current climate change discussion is still perceived as complex, and a simplifying focus on a clear chain of arguments and a facilitating tool convincing to win the support of many. Set and tested in the NSSEP appraisal model context mainly with geographical entities such as municipalities, the CO2 calculator tool has reached a level of reputation, that demands a capitalizing by adaptation to new environments and target groups, more usefulness and further enhanced applicability. 

NSSEP PLUS built on making best use of the widespread connections established under the NSSEP project, adding to address new target groups such as the fast-moving entrepreneurial SME sector, where enterprise for the future are built.

NSSEP PLUS also diversified through new ways of transporting the tool and its message. The minimised team included new members and widened scopes of dissemination, embracing new media and technologies. NSSEP PLUS led by example, reducing physical travelling throughout the project duration. 

The CO2-calculator reached a high resonance via the spread through e.g. the Covenant of Mayors (CoM), but there was more demand with municipalities to review their existing CO2-monitoring. The project identified showcases with which to harden further the quality of the CO2-calculator to establish it as a wider standard. This would be targeted e.g. by making functionalities compatible with the CoM initiative BEI (baseline emission inventory) for monitoring.

Taking this one step further, would link up to create regional CO2-reduction targets and indicators (performance and directional indicators) integrating with a CO2-emission monitor, but also potentially monitoring the progress established, e.g. by matrixes such as the CoM-plan SEAP (sustainable energy action plan), and this way become a leading reference tool. 

Exposing the CO2-calculator to new target groups, it became exemplary for using a well communicated single aspect for highlighting the significance and necessity of programmed regional planning. And especially in areas with a spectrum of planning philosophies established and practised, it added further to the simplification of public involvement. Hence it was most suitable to foster catch in the end-users’ awareness, but also in the exchange and progress monitoring, as well as ongoing behavioural change. 

The NSSEP PLUS embodied a scope of setting up participation-projects (co-creation) and communication instruments to put the CO2-calculator in the center of the debate: towards citizens, local and regional policy makers and stakeholders, and also beyond the region. 

The think tank installed under NSSEP indicated more potential to address. NSSEP played an important role as a driver of information. As a key to future developments, the way to continue from the foundations laid in a think tank, NSSEP PLUS formalised this further by installing a Regional Energy Planning Council, a more visible organ and point of advice. 

By a pro-active engagement in the communication strategy within and beyond NSSEP PLUS, this council helped to co-ordinate means and activities, encompassing technical platforms and atlases, organised knowledge exchange between municipalities concerning capacity for action for carbon reduction, set up local stakeholder processes and workshops with local stakeholders and local policy makers to engage their actions in terms of CO2 reduction, and thus promoted the tool to integrate participation, competence and capacity of many more stakeholders than being reachable during a one-year term. 

PROJECT DURATION: 2014-06-16 - 2015-06-30
ERDF GRANT: 175,000.00 EUR

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