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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Saturday, 16.12.2017, 03:34

Riga’s stakeholder identification and prioritization in the planning process of sustainable energy development

Gregory Olevsky, Professor University of Latvia; Timurs Safiulinsб Director Riga Municipal Agency «Riga Energy Agency», Baltic Rim Economies ISSUE # 3, 21.11.2017.Print version
Sustainable energy development of the city must be based on the plan. The energy actions described in city Sustainable Energy Development Plans (SEAPs) will be difficult to successfully implement without strong support from city leaders and commitment from public and private stakeholders.

By bringing multiple stakeholders and projects together it is possible to create integrated solutions that have the scope to speed delivery, enable new projects, improve economic viability, increase availability of public and private investment, maximize positive impacts and reduce deployment risks. The long-term success of any sustainable city strategy is likely to depend critically on the support and input of key stakeholder organizations. This sub-task assists cities in identifying the various stakeholders that they need to engage with to deliver ambitious sustainable city plans, including businesses, citizens, public companies and political decision makers. These stakeholders need to be engaged throughout the process: in vision building, the analysis of actions, planning for implementation, the development of innovative projects, up to the actual deployment of the enhanced SEAPs.

 

The long-term success of any sustainable city strategy is likely to depend critically on the support and input of key stakeholder organizations. This sub-task assists cities in identifying the various stakeholders that they need to engage with to deliver ambitious sustainable city plans, including businesses, citizens, public companies and political decision makers. The objective of this study is development of sustainable energy action plans that are actively supported by key stakeholders and that are aligned with their objectives.

 

The object of study is the city of Riga – the capital of the Republic of Latvia. Key stakeholder groups that have been identified include academia, local and regional administrations, industry and commerce, finance, energy suppliers and citizens. The researchers proceeded from the fact that are working to engage all relevant stakeholder groups to help them move towards smart cities status including Information and Communication Technology (ICT) partners, communication companies, innovation bodies and international companies – in the process of developing their enhanced SEAPs. As a result, Riga are making connections between energy, transport and ICT and their role in CO2 emissions reduction, and recognizing that this can be brought about through cross-sectoral actions and best practice projects in conjunction with relevant local stakeholders, international companies and banks all working together to roll out innovative sustainable energy solutions at scale. During the study it was necessary to:

 

• identify potential stakeholders and conduct analysis to identify stakeholders for engagement;

• organize stakeholder interviews;

• review stakeholder prioritization;

• agree on a stakeholder engagement plan; and

• proceed with the implementation of the engagement plan throughout the project and ongoing implementation of enhanced SEAPs and beyond.

 

Riga had already developed formal, legally binding relationships with a number of the most important stakeholders. City has identified internal, external and international stakeholders and the variety of sectors covered provides a good opportunity for a successful development and implementation for enhanced SEAPs. Identified stakeholders cover city departments, organizations, groups and businesses that are affected by the SEAP, as well as those whose activities can affect the city’s SEAP, who possess or control information, resources and relevant expertise for the SEAP and whose participation is needed for the implementation of the SEAP. During the implementation and monitoring of the current SEAP, Riga’s initial long list of stakeholders has been growing due to regular contact with local and international businesses, banks, universities, national administration representatives and neighboring municipalities, as well as professionals and citizens and their organizations. Regular communication tools such as an actively used website (with an average of 1,200 unique users a month), Riga Energy Agency’s Facebook profile and Twitter account, monthly discussion groups, quarterly newsletters and regular events such as „energy days” have created a network of more than 300 representatives of various local, national and international groups that are influencing the process of SEAP development. Stakeholders were prioritized by plotting them on a matrix according to their power, influence and interest. Following this, the potential role of each stakeholder in the SEAP process, from development to reporting and ongoing revision, was assessed. 






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