Municipalities and energy efficiency in countries in transition: review of factors that determine municipal involvement in the markets for energy services and energy efficient equipment, or how to augment the role of municipalities as market players
It is widely recognized that many cost-efficient opportunities to employ end-use energy efficiency measures exist in countries in transition (CITs) and that municipal authorities have an essential role to play in capturing these opportunities. The aim of this paper is to review the factors that determine the degree of involvement of local authorities in the market for energy services and energy efficient (EE) equipment in three CITs: Bulgaria, Hungary and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (hereafter: Macedonia). We achieve this aim by examining the current status of local governments as the most powerful determinant of municipal market involvement. Two broad groups of factors are discussed: statutory obligations and powers of local governments, especially energy-related tasks, and finance. We explain how specific features within these two areas may influence the motivation of local authorities to improve energy efficiency and their capacity to do so. We argue that greater decentralization is the first step in augmenting the role of local authorities in the market for energy services and EE equipment. Based on the analysis we give recommendations on how to encourage municipal authorities to use market mechanisms more extensively to deliver energy efficiency.