– the right of consumers to access to their energy data and the obligation of suppliers to provide this data according to European directives,
– the regulations on data protection and on public access to environmental information,
– the obligations of the administrations at national and local levels to work and report on sustainable energy issues in their own buildings according to the energy efficiency directives,
and summarizes also some local issues in different European countries, analyses the need of information for reporting in the framework of the Covenant of Mayors and gathers a list of key issues to be considered on sharing data about sustainable energy at local and regional levels.
Arguments and recommendations in favor of the creation of an observatory:
• Reporting for monitoring SEAP in the framework of the Covenant of Mayors should not be the only motivation for the establishment of an observatory. There are opportunities for working on a wider scope of improving local sustainability.
• Compiling data through an observatory creates a better climate of confidence for data providers and users, compared to doing it through an administration.
• Data privacy and sensitivity are very important issues for energy data providers; these issues should be clearly addressed in the relations with data providers. These data providers can take part in the process of defining what is given to the local authorities to solve this issue.
• Involving the right people within energy data providing companies is basic to simplify the task of obtaining the information.
• Asking for data on a voluntary basis is the most effective way for obtaining data from energy companies. It is convenient to create long-term relationships with key people in these companies.
• Identify and make visible the advantages of collaboration at a regional level to the national level utilities providing data.
• Signed agreements and memorandums of cooperation may be useful in some cases, but in others they may slow down the collaboration process, especially with big companies. Choose the best solution in each case.
• Simplify and standardize requests for data as much as possible to obtain best quality of results.
• Asking for data on a yearly basis is generally good enough and manageable for energy data providers.
• Be concise and clear in the requests for data.
• Creating an observatory is a long-term task. The quality of information improves with time and the effort to compile it decreases.
• Providing information about non-gridded fuels at local level (such as LPG, diesel oil or biomass for boilers, transport fuels) is always a challenge. A top-down distribution using local indirect indicators can be a solution; in this case it is convenient to be transparent on the methodology.
• For private mobility, calculation by modeling is normally necessary. Sources of information can be traffic data, surveys, vehicle fleet.
• Often surveys have not enough quality for small municipalities. A higher administrative level may be required for working in these cases.