Tartu Regional Energy Agency (TREA) was formed in 2009 and now has a staff of 10 people. An ambitious team of engineers, scientists and energy and climate experts are investigating new ways in which they can lead the energy transition in Tartu and Estonia. The three day expert mission began with an information session to understand the structure, strategy and operational features of TREA. The political, economic and societal conditions which influence the energy and climate agenda in Estonia were explored and lessons learned in Ireland and from across Europe were shared with the entire team. TREA has been extremely successful in securing funding through a range of EU programmes and the impact and outputs from these projects were reviewed.
TREA has a particular ambition to develop new services in relation to community energy projects and also residential retrofitting. Constructive meetings were held with two financial institutions (an ethical bank and a credit union) to explore collaborations and opportunities. New opportunities were identified and development options explored. Dedicated sessions with experts within the TREA team were held to explore both areas and new services scoped out. Large scale investment opportunities exist in both these areas in the immediate future and there are exciting opportunities for TREA to be at the forefront of these developments.
On the final day of the mission the entire TREA team reviewed the work completed and further brainstorming was held. Discussions were held on the topics of quality assurance, technical standards, homeowner engagement, behaviour change, financing tools and working with contractors. Opportunities to increase the impact of the TREA work through the use of ELENA funds was also reviewed. This is particularly timely as TREA is currently developing the SECAP for Tartu city and has an in-depth knowledge of the investment requirements across energy efficiency, renewable energy and mobility in the region.
TREA is entering an exciting time with many opportunities. Aligning it ambitions with its resources, engaging with new partners and developing new services will ensure it continues its successful role in informing, influencing and delivering on the energy transition in Estonia.