On the 20th of December 2022 at 14:00h we held a meeting with our stakeholders. Later that afternoon, at 15:00h, representatives from the Ministry of Internal Affairs joined to talk about upcoming national programs and our role in them.
In the first part of the meeting, we discussed the implementation of the action plan and the challenges we are facing now due to staffing and budgeting issues.
The past months have proved to be a challenge to find new staff to replace those who were stationed elsewhere due to the Covid lockdowns; the lockdowns resulted in financial crises for many SMEs. The staff has been reallocated to other projects and activities regarding direct practical and financial support to SMEs. This mainly affected the Municipality of Groningen.
At the same time, the Groningen Environmental Service has had to shift its focus to other activities due to a new national program regarding law enforcement on energy efficiency.
The sad conclusion was that the implementation of the action plan will be terminated, at least within the boundaries of SMEPlus.
In the second part of the meeting, with representatives of the ministry, we talked about upcoming programs and budgets for energy efficiency in business parks and a program for helping SMEs in the process of taking energy efficiency measures.
The provinces will be the executors of these programs, working closely together with the other stakeholders.
This means that in the next years, we will yet be able to use what we learned from the SMEPlus project partners these last years because we will be creating energy networks.