Vienna’s strategy for climate neutrality

The city of Vienna recently published Smart KLIMA City Wien, which outlines how it will achieve climate neutrality in the next 20 years. It is an updated version of the previous Smart City concept but has been tailored to reflect the climate goals combined with social policy aspects. This step is important for Vienna to ensure that it can continue being a highly livable city in the future.

The city has the lowest CO2 emissions per capital in Austria and has already taken serious steps to change the climate performance of the city: In fact, compared to 1990 C02 levels, a drop of 40% has already been recorded[1].  Nevertheless, the new Vienna Climate Roadmap contains over 100 measures, which are based on seven broad values:

  • Be inclusive: climate-friendly policies that take social justice into account;
  • Viennese success stories: Vienna uses the initial advantage through excellent infrastructure, a functioning administration and a high level of social cohesion;
  • Use market opportunities: strengthen the regional economy with sustainable innovations;
  • More Green Jobs: create impactful new profession(s);
  • Actively involving citizens: shaping the future together;
  • Viennese climate modernity: integrating science, art and culture;
  • Doing our own homework: finding good examples.

All measures fall into one or several target areas and cover topics such as: energy (photovoltaic offensive, district heating, district cooling); mobility (expansion of public transport, development and of e-ride sharing offers, city of short distances, hydrogen drive) and buildings (subsidies, simplifications for photovoltaic systems, sustainable construction) just to name a few.

If you are interested in finding out more, join us at our CEESEN conference in Ptuj. The city of Vienna will be giving a presentation on its plan on 18/05/2022. You can register for the conference here: https://ceesen.org/en/conference/

[1] https://smartcitiesconnect.org/vienna-publishes-latest-climate-strategy-plans-to-achieve-carbon-neutrality-in-20-years/

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Join our conference online or on the spot in 18-19 May @Ptuj, Slovenia or Online


Fuel of the poor - household biomass use in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania

In Central Eastern Europe the poorest rural households often face energy poverty, which means that they cannot adequately heat their homes, or can only do so by spending disproportionate amounts of their income on heating. They typically heat with wood, as often they have no access to gas and district heating networks. They live in houses that are in bad condition with very poor heat insulation and without the means to buy more efficient and more expensive heating equipment. Therefore a poor family needs considerably more wood to heat their home than a better-off family would in a same sized house, while they also face rapidly increasing prices of firewood. 

Energy production from biomass is the most important source of renewable energy in most of Central Easter Europe  as well as of fine particle emissions (PM10 and PM2). While wood as an energy source is considered almost CO2 neutral due to the carbon stored by the trees, considerable CO2 emissions are released at the time of consumption which adds to GHGs in the atmosphere.

The energy transition in the EU foresees a high technology future including smart infrastructure and advanced renewable energy systems. However these assume a certain degree of  financial and material status which is far from the realities of CEE households relying on solid fuels. Therefore it is important to specifically include solid fuel user households among the beneficiaries of energy transition by supporting them in upgrading their heating methods. 

At the CEESEN conference in May, Anna Bajomi energy poverty expert at Habitat for Humanity will talk about these topics as she presents the results of the study “Fuel of the poor - household biomass is Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania”, written in the frames of the LIFE- BiO-BALANCE project. 

SPEAKER INFORMATION

Anna Zsófia Bajomi is an energy poverty expert at Habitat for Humanity Hungary (HfHHU) with a background in social policy and urban planning,  working on energy transition, energy poverty and solid fuel user households. She is also a PhD candidate at the Polytechnic University of Milan.

 

 

Habitat for Humanity works in 70 countries around the world, HfHHU was established as an independent branch in 1996. HfHHU's mission is to see everyone live in decent, affordable and safe housing. We deliver pilot projects and provide renovation schemes and social services to people in vulnerable housing situations, and amplify our impact through advocacy and research activities, focusing on energy poverty among others.

Want to know more?

Join our conference online or on the spot in 18-19 May @Ptuj, Slovenia 


Polish municipalities finalized the first steps towards SECAP development

After the successful data collection process, the database created during CEESEU project was carefully analyzed in order to establish Baseline Emission Inventory (BEI) and Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (RVA) for each municipality that will implement the Sustainable Emission and Climate Action Plans on behalf of Mazovia Energy Agency:

  • Municipality of Stara Kornica,
  • Municipality of Korczew,
  • Municipality of Kotuń,
  • Municipality of Jabłonna Lacka.

Baseline Emission Inventory that was created for those four areas in Poland took into account final energy consumption, energy supply and CO2 emissions. Those calculations were made based on wide range of data considering buildings, equipment, facilities, industries, transport and agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector with distinction of fossil fuel and renewable energy sources. Inventory of CO2 emissions took into consideration also emissions that came from the non-energy related sources, for example waste management and waste water management.

The energy supply for each municipality has been verified. Data presented in BEI and RVA contains also information if the green electricity was purchased, if the local or distributed electricity production came from the renewable sources and what was the general electricity and heat/cold production.

The highest total emission has been calculated for the municipality of Kotuń with 8 490 citizens. The lowest total emission has been calculated for the municipality Stara Kornica with 4 694 citizens.

Risk and Vulnerability Assessment is an extensive analysis of the climate hazards risks, which due to the recent climate changes have become more likely to take place in the area e.g. extreme heat, draughts and forest fires. Common vulnerabilities amongst the municipalities analyzed in the process cover also the subject matter of the socio-economic indicators e.g., the perspective of decreasing number of citizens.

Significant decrease in emissions produced in the area of considered municipalities is the goal of implementing SECAPs – Korczew, Kotuń, Jabłonna-Lacka will reduce emissions by 40% and Stara Kornica by 55% up to 2030.  BEI and RVA conducted by Mazovia Energy Agency specialists are planned to make an impact on the future of involved municipalities.

 

Want to know more?

Join our conference online or on the spot in 18-19 May @Ptuj, Slovenia 

 


The importance of citizens involvement in local energy planning and implementing concrete energy community investments

Experience of Croatian partners within the ENES-CE project

Many Central European countries need support in the development of local and regional energy strategies and action plans, since they are lagging in their implementation and thereby threatening regional competitiveness. In addition, local authorities face many challenges in implementing their plans including lack of financing, being understaffed and lack of local acceptance. This undermines the pledge that CoM signatories made to support the recent EU action in reducing GHG emissions by 55% until 2030.

Creating a functional low carbon economy plans (like SEAP/SECAP) requires tapping into the human and financial potential of citizens. This challenge is addressed by the project ENES-CE – Collaboration between public bodies and citizen energy groups in implementing local energy strategies in Central Europe through improving the adoption and quality of energy plans with a bottom-up quadruple helix approach, where citizens play a pivotal role. Having this in mind, the main goal of the project is to stimulate citizen engagement in creating local energy strategies in different Central European regions and beyond.

The implementation of the project leads to sustainable regional development while the efficacy of all project interventions is directly linked to the development of energy cooperatives and other forms of citizen energy groups as a way for involving citizens in local energy planning and implementing concrete energy community investments. The aim of the citizen participation is to help the public bodies implement their strategies in a more efficient and bottom-up approach. In doing so, the project partners from Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, Germany and Italy from the beginning of the project in 2019 managed to increase the acceptance of low carbon investments and ease the achievement of existing SEAPs/SECAPs and other local low carbon development strategies and energy plan actions in their targeted regions. This resulted in increased activities in energy sector, combined with growing awareness of interrelations between economic and environmental issues for a broadening of energy research in order to address three pillars of sustainability: the social, economic, and environmental.

Image 1 - Founding assembly of "Green Energy Club Prelog"

As a part of ENES-CE project activities in Croatia, it is worth to highlight the engagement of included Croatian partners Medjimurje Energy Agency Ltd. and Town Prelog who managed to motivate citizens on the local level to participate in energy planning and implementation of planned energy investments in their community.

Through establishment of this acceptance atmosphere, they trigger the cooperation by enhancing communication activities from local and regional authorities towards their citizens through workshops, educations, printed material distribution, online marketing activities and other.  This resulted in organization of several workshops from year 2019 until the finalization of creation of citizen energy association “Green Energy Club Prelog” in year 2021. The association is open for anyone to join and its main goals are sustainable development, development and implementation of energy and climate projects, environmental protection and cooperation with other similar organization to satisfy its main goal. Town Prelog as well as Medjimurje Energy Agency Ltd. have been supporting the establishment of the association from the beginning and will do so through the course of its actions in the future.

The organized workshops combined with other relevant communication activities have triggered involvement of interested citizens in process of revision of existing energy plan from 2014 (SEAP), development of new energy plan (SECAP) and identification of most relevant measures to be implemented in cooperation with local authorities and/or SMEs in Town Prelog. In the end, three most relevant measures for implementation have been identified: installation of photovoltaic (PV) powerplants on public buildings; workshops for local entrepreneurs on financing energy related projects and bike sharing project and construction of bike lanes. On the citizen’s and newly established energy association initiative it has been determined that within ENES-CE project as a pilot investment a PV powerplant will be installed on the roof of Kindergarten “Fijolica” located in Town Prelog.

Image 2 - The building of Kindergarten "Fijolica" in Prelog

Base on the feedbacks from involved stakeholders it was agreed that the new PV powerplant will have the power of 50 kW. Total cost of the investment has been estimated at around 49.000,00 €. Since the cost of this investment exceeds the allocated budget for implementing pilot activities within the ENES-CE project (15.000,00 €), the plan is that the rest of the funds will be partially covered from the budget of Town Prelog and co-financed by funds available through Croatian national fund called Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund. The contractor for the construction of the PV powerplant is already selected so the construction works are being carried out according to plan and the PV powerplant is expected to be launched in the middle of this year. In the final word can be said that the Town administration is very proud of this initiative since the planned investment will provide better service to children and their parents and improve the working conditions of employees in concerned institution.

As the case is in Croatia, all project results are expected to have a significant impact in other included CE regions especially in increased citizen participation in local energy planning and developing local energy action plans in more bottom-up way and providing the momentum for further investments in the local energy infrastructure depending on real local needs. In addition, the pilot actions within the project can serve as testing ground for cooperation of citizens and public authorities in other CE regions beyond the project.

Want to know more?

Join our conference online or on the spot in 18-19 May @Ptuj, Slovenia 

SPEAKER INFORMATION

Niki Radiković (MSc in mechanical engineering) graduated in 2019 from Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, University of Zagreb (Croatia) and currently works as energy expert associate at Medjimurje Energy Agency Ltd. where he gained extensive experience in technical coordination of energy projects co-financed by various national and EU funds. He showed exceptional skills and knowledge in implementing community energy projects, developing relevant local and regional energy and climate planning documents including Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans, as well as in communicating with relevant stakeholders and their involvement in overall energy and climate planning process at regional and local level.

 

Katarina Drk Hutinec (MSc in economics) graduated in 2018 from Polytechnic of Međimurje in Čakovec (Croatia) and currently works as project manager at Medjimurje Energy Agency Ltd. and is known for her active involvement.  She spent her rich career mainly in social sector working on community relevant projects and directly interacting with citizens especially those who are vulnerable and socially excluded. During her working time at Medjimurje Energy Agency Ltd. she gained extensive experience in administration and finances of projects linked to energy and climate and in the development, application and reporting of the same. She has also participated in activities related to implementation of various projects oriented towards energy poverty, enhancing energy efficiency in households and fostering the use of renewable energy sources.


Is the grass always greener in other cities? How integrated urban planning can help your municipality to become more sustainable

Municipalities should lead the way towards energy transition for various reasons. First of all, because they are the closest to the citizens and many existing problems can be solved only locally, in close cooperation with local stakeholders. Second of all, because they have tools and capacities to take action:

  • as energy consumers they can reduce energy consumption in their own facilities and with respect to the services that they offer to the citizens (e.g. public lighting, public transportation);
  • as energy providers they can ensure that the energy supplied to the local consumers is secure, affordable and comes from environmentally friendly sources;
  • as local regulators they can implement laws and regulations that would encourage more energy efficient decisions in construction, spatial planning etc., as well as more frequent use of environmentally friendly means of transport;
  • as motivators they can encourage citizens and local stakeholders to involve in sustainable energy projects and initiatives and act in a more energy conscious way;
  • as actors of the policy making process, they can influence EU and national-level policies sharing their expectations and ambitions with the decision makers.

Single actions taken in all those areas are no longer a solution, though. The energy transition is a complicated process and calls for integrated solutions that would combine elements of sustainable transport, energy and land-use planning. They will help not only to make our cities more climate friendly but also to create more liveable areas satisfying citizens’ various needs.

At our CEESEN Partnership Conference in May, Zsófia Pej, climate programme leader at the Hungarian think-tank Energiaklub Climate Policy Institute will talk exactly about this topic. She gained a lot of experience while contributing to the EU funded MULTIPLY project and she is going to present valuable good practices and supporting tools are now available and to be presented besides in-side experiences.

 6*7 local municipalities have participated in the project and went through an interesting peer-to-peer learning process to design their own energy plans in line with the Covenant of Mayors initiative to mitigate at least 40% CO2 emission by 2030. 

More information: http://www.citiesmultiply.eu/en/

Want to know more?

Join our conference online or on the spot in 18-19 May @Ptuj, Slovenia 

SPEAKER INFORMATION

Zsófia Pej is an experienced project leaderwith a demonstrated history of working in climate adaptation at local level and energy efficiency in the public sector.
Energiaklub is a Hungarian NGO, policy and applied science center that concentrates on energy efficiency, renewable resources, climate protection, conventional energy resources and energy policy. 


University of Tartu hosts CEESEU’s second bootcamp on SECAPs

From March 8th to 10th 2022, CEESEU held its second bootcamp in Tartu, Estonia. The three-day training was attended by 42 project partners and municipal representatives from Germany, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Romania, Hungary, Poland and Austria.

Since some municipalities in Central and Eastern Europe struggle to prepare and implement Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans (SECAP), this bootcamp concentrated on a variety of important topics, namely SECAP implementation, data collection, technological solutions for SECAP implementation, available SECAP financing in the region, and tips for writing successful proposals. The three-day programme aimed at transmitting the necessary knowledge to successfully develop and implement SECAPs in municipalities in Central and Eastern Europe.

The bootcamp opened with an icebreaker session, a precursor to ConPlusUltra providing a presentation on SECAP implementation outlining the content of a SECAP, the elaboration process including stakeholder involvement, and the subsequent implementation. ConPlusUltra then explained how targets can be set and what guiding principles should be applied during the monitoring process. Finally, the Urban Adaptation Support Tool was presented, as well as its accompanying Excel template.

After that, a group exercise was held for which the participants were split into four groups and asked to discuss one of two questions: “What challenges have you faced in the development of SECAPs?” and “What challenges do you think you will face in the implementation of SECAPs?” The group exercise revealed that the countries in the region face numerous barriers related to both the development and implementation of SECAPs. These include a lack of data, difficulty understanding citizens’ needs, and insufficient political commitment.

In the afternoon of Day 1, climate change mitigation and adaptation actions at a local level were presented by Climate Alliance. The presentation focused on the Covenant of Mayors Good Practices database, which hosts all the actions of the Covenant Signatories. After that, Climate Alliance held another session on reporting methods, explaining how to enter information in the various sections of MyCovenant.

On the second day, the bootcamp was opened with a presentation on Tartu’s energy transition by a municipal energy representative, who came to speak to the participants and explain the various actions the city is taking to meet its climate targets. Following this, the participants took part in a guided tour around Tartu, finding out about the SmartEnCity project, which allowed for the refurbishment of old city housing among other measures.

In the afternoon, Climate Alliance led a session on energy performance and environmental data collection, addressing related problems and previewing the new pillar on energy poverty, with a focus on the strategic role of the CoM Territorial Coordinators.

The last session of the day, presented by MENEA, outlined technological solutions, which should make it possible to decrease energy consumption and reduce GHG emissions. While soft measures such as awareness raising are important, changes in infrastructure can have a big impact on energy consumption and thus such possible measures were outlined.

On the third day, the morning began with ENVIROS presenting a portfolio of financing options for SECAPs across the region, based on research previously conducted in the project on the different funding sources in the partner countries. Since finance is often a major barrier for SECAP implementation, this session was especially appreciated by the municipal representatives.

This was followed by a presentation by ConPlusUltra outlining several innovative financing options for SECAPs. These include traditional bank loans, alternative financing schemes such as Crowd Investing, Crowdfunding and Energy Performance Contracting. These instruments, while not widely used in Central and Eastern Europe, can be employed to mobilise the necessary finance to implement municipal-level SECAP measures.

Finally, Climate Alliance held a session on sustainable energy investment in European local authorities, highlighting how to receive technical assistance and support in the SECAP implementation process through ERDF, EPAH, NetZeroCities, and ELENA.

The last session of the day was dedicated to proposal writing tips. Led by the University of Tartu, a LIFE call for proposals was dissected and parsed, with ensuing discussions reflecting on the proposal development process. Practical aspects such as forming project consortia, laying out a ‘narrative,’ and assessing impact were also discussed.

The presentations will be made available on the CEESEN website, so please keep following the page if you are interested in downloading either these or the recordings of the bootcamp.

REGISTER FOR THE CEESEN PARTNERSHIP CONFERENCE


CEESEN Partnership Conference 2022

May 18-19, 2022
@Ptuj, Slovenia

Is your municipality ready to take part in the global fight against climate change and rising energy prices? Are you a municipal employee or NGO engaged in the Clean Energy Transition, or a business looking to make a difference? Are you worried about energy poverty, a just transition, leaving no-one behind? Then join us and learn from experts and pioneer cities, build partnerships and share your results and solutions!

The Central & Eastern European Sustainable Energy Network is committed to support municipalities in the region to adapt to help mitigate the climate crisis and realize a climate-friendly future.

Our conference will gather municipalities, local decision makers, and experts to learn about great ideas, acquire information about possibilities, and build useful connections with one another as well as with actors from the governmental, NGO, and corporate sectors. 

We will address those municipalities who are planning to take the first steps and would like to know more about the Covenant of Mayors and the SECAP. The range of our programme’s trainings, lectures, round tables, and workshops will help you to become familiar with the dos and don’ts of developing a climate strategy. Invited speakers from the Covenant of Mayors, DG Climate, and other expert institutions will help to understand the benefits of having a strategic view on climate and energy. 

For those who already know what they are aiming for, the most crucial question might well be how to finance the desired action plan. For the more experienced, we offer the options to deep dive into diverse topics - tackling energy poverty, adaptation, establishing energy communities to make the SECAP the core of your sustainability strategy. Learn directly from the most trusted sources: DG Climate, and Climate Alliance among others.

Let’s support each other with sharing experiences and learn from the pioneers! Get involved into the stories of selected forerunner cities in the region, Vienna, Bratislava, Brno, Kaposvár. Located not far from one another, these cities are in four different countries, thus deal with four different sets of national legislative requirements and varying levels of central government support. 

Find more information about the topics of CEESEN and collect useful inputs from our blog.

Attending the conference is free, prior registration is required. 

REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE HERE


Understanding the link between technology and a cleaner world: the twin transition

The importance of using digital technologies to foster a greener economy was clearly highlighted in Article 10 of the 2016 Paris Agreement. “Parties share a long-term vision on the importance of fully realizing technology development and transfer in order to improve resilience to climate change and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions” since “accelerating, encouraging and enabling innovation is critical for an effective, long-term global response to climate change”.[1]

This logic has also increasingly appeared in the documents and speeches emanating from the institutions of the European Union. In fact, the twin digital and green transition has been identified as a priority in the EU’s Green Deal and also plays a central role in its post-Covid recovery approach.[2] It is believed that such a transition, which refers to the transformation towards a greener and a more digital society, will ultimately allow for lasting and prosperous growth.

Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) such as advanced manufacturing, advanced materials, life-science technologies, micro/nano-electronics and photonics, artificial intelligence (AI), and security and connectivity have the potential of rendering industrial processes smarter since they further automate production systems. This increased efficiency is key to developing a circular economy and making our societies more sustainable. [3]

There are practical examples to illustrate the positive effects digital tools can have on the environment: a smart city project in the City of Vienna revealed that a combination of innovative digital solutions and data analytics made it possible to reduce CO2 emissions in a large residential building by 71%, helping the city reduce its environmental footprint.[4] According to some studies, digital technologies have the potential to enable other industries save 20% of global CO2 emissions by 2030.[5]

However, for the twin transition to be completed, new technologies, greater investment and innovation are essential. While new products, services and business models are key to sustaining the EU’s industrial leadership, these should also be climate neutral and circular to ensure that the EU can pursue its environmental goals. Managing this delicate balancing act will ultimately determine whether the EU succeeds in meeting the climate and economic objectives it has set itself.

[1] https://unfccc.int/topics/climate-technology/the-big-picture/what-is-technology-development-and-transfer
[2] https://esignals.fi/en/category-en/r-d/making-sense-of-the-eus-ambitions-green-and-digital-twin-transitions/#8bfc3ce6
[3] Twin Transition through the Implementation of Industry 4.0 Technologies: Desk-Research Analysis and Practical Use Cases in Europe
[4] https://www.digitaleurope.org/resources/digital-action-climate-action-8-ideas-to-accelerate-the-twin-transition/
[5] https://www.digitaleurope.org/resources/digital-action-climate-action-8-ideas-to-accelerate-the-twin-transition/


Development of renewable energy sources in Poland in 2022 - prospects

The past 2021 was very effective in terms of the development of the renewable energy sources in Poland. A great energy transformation is coming, it means giving up from conventional energy sources, which creates opportunities for fast development of renewable energy technologies. However, the last quarter of the year was focused on turbulences on the global energy market and significant increases in the prices of electricity, gas and oil. Therefore, the development of renewable energy sources in Poland must significantly increase in strength to avoid further increases in electricity prices.

The past year was very successful for the development of offshore wind energy in Poland. The first offshore act was created, which gives the opportunity to develop huge investments in the Baltic Sea with a total capacity of 11 GW. They are to contribute to the achievement of the declared climate neutrality by Poland in the future and help reduce the risk of power shortages.

What is more, in past months auctions were held for the sale of electricity from renewable energy sources, including wind energy. Their results showed that wind technology is still one of the most advantageous, with a price of approximately 250 PLN/MWh, compared to the current prices of energy from other sources. The market position of wind energy is also reflected in the large number of bids submitted for other technologies. Due to the good results, the European Commission has agreed to extend the support system for RES energy producers until 2027, which will allow for further auctions in the future and will ensure safe and predictable conditions for the development of the industry.

When it comes to photovoltaics in Poland, despite the slowdown in the micro-installation market, photovoltaics will continue to develop well and in 2022 it may reach 9-10 GW, and by 2030 even 27 GW. The upward trend of the total installed capacity in Poland will be maintained through changes in the structure of newly built photovoltaic systems. PV farms will play an increasingly important role in the Polish photovoltaic mix. According to the forecast, at the turn of 2023-2024, the installed capacity will be equal to the prosumer capacity.

 

Cover picture source: https://www.ekologia.pl/wiedza/energia-odnawialna/energia-odnawialna-alternatywa-dla-tradycyjnej-energii,11000.html


Green hydrogen from renewable energy sources in Poland

"Green hydrogen from RES in Poland" - the report is the beginning of a discussion on the use of renewable energy sources for the production of hydrogen. For this purpose, a report was prepared by the Polish Wind Energy Association and the Silesian Institute of Energy Studies. It is the first comprehensive study that deals with the subject of green hydrogen. It shows the current state of the hydrogen market and the prospects for its development in the future.

According to the report, the annual demand for hydrogen in Poland in 2040 will be more than 100 TWh. However, plans for the development of renewable sources nowadays do not offer a chance to meet the future supply. It is necessary to eliminate barriers and to facilitate development of renewable energy sources, especially wind energy, which will be the basis for the functioning of the hydrogen economy. The implementation of these aims requires over 60GW of RES generation in 2040.
Poland is currently the third producer of hydrogen in the European Union and the fifth in the world. Thanks to hydrogen, it will be possible to reduce the emission intensity of the Polish economy, increase its competitiveness and it will be possible to build own competences in the field of hydrogen technologies.

Achieving climate neutrality requires the use of hydrogen technology on a large scale. According to the Polish Hydrogen Strategy by 2040 hydrogen will become one of the key energy sources and 2 GW of the installation capacity for hydrogen production from low-emission sources
is expected. To achieve that, access to the appropriate capacity installed in renewable energy sources should be ensured. On the other hand, renewable hydrogen will support the further development of renewable energy, enabling the storage of surplus energy and their subsequent use both in the energy sector and other sectors of the economy. The infrastructure for supplying hydrogen to end users will also be developed and a mechanism to support the production of hydrogen from low-emission sources will be created. Its use in energy, heating, transport and industry will increase. It is also planned that by 2030 there will be 800-1000 hydrogen buses produced in Poland.


Energy poverty in the EU

Energy poverty is defined as the inability to keep one’s home sufficiently powered and at a pleasant temperature throughout the different seasons of the year. As a complex socio-economic problem, it typically affects the most vulnerable members of society, namely low-income families, single-parent households, the elderly and minorities. Furthermore, individuals living in social housing are disproportionately hit by the problem. At present, it is believed that 10% of Europeans cannot afford to adequately heat their homes in winter and 10% cannot properly cool their homes in the summer. [1]

In light of the current corona crisis, which has resulted in higher unemployment rates, concerns about being able to pay one’s energy bills are likely to rise. Moreover, with policy changes at EU level towards low carbon energy, prices are also destined to increase as cheaper and dirtier energy sources are replaced by costlier, cleaner ones. While this will hit countries across the European Union, the former Communist states of Central and Eastern Europe have already witnessed a substantial increase in energy prices due to the phasing out of subsidies and are still at the beginning of the energy transition.

Although the states of Central and Eastern Europe face the greatest difficulties regarding heating, Southern European countries struggle with the inability to ensure adequate cooling in the summer. Still, energy poverty can be observed across the Union regardless of climatic conditions as illustrated in the diagram below. According to the Right to Energy Coalition, almost 80 million people in the EU were late or could not pay their utility bills in 2019.[2]. Moreover, in 2014, the lowest-income households in the EU spent close 9% of their total expenditure on energy – a 50% increase compared to 2004, highlighting that this problem is becoming more widespread over time.[3]

What is the root cause of energy poverty? It is believed that there are three main factors: low-income levels, high energy prices and the low energy efficiency of buildings. Unfortunately, it is also largely recognised that especially those with low-income levels tend to reside in energy inefficient buildings. Due to a lack of funds and disproportionately high costs, these individuals frequently do not heat/cool their homes properly or only keep some of the rooms in their dwellings at a pleasant temperature. Consequently, these households are confronted with greater mental and physical health concerns than the average population.

Differences across the EU in general poverty rates as well as varying home ownership patterns equally make the tackling of energy poverty in a uniform way challenging. While countries such as Germany lead in terms of rental, in Central and Eastern Europe, private ownership continues to be the norm. In multi-owner buildings, the Homeowner Association must jointly agree to renovate for measures to go ahead. In countries where renting is popular, fair mechanisms must be found to share renovation costs between owners, tenants and the state. This bids for flexibility in the approaches adopted for making renovations more popular.

However, it is undeniable that renovations must play a key role in the combat against energy poverty in the EU. This is because existing buildings account for 36% of CO2 emissions in the Union, a number which can be slashed through energy efficiency measures.[4] Properly renovated housing lowers energy consumption, energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions, constituting a win-win situation. As climate change risks provoking more cold snaps and heat waves across the EU, energy demand levels are expected to rise and thus new and innovative schemes for dealing with energy poverty must be explored to meet both the welfare needs of citizens and those of the earth’s climate.

 

 

[1] https://righttoenergy.org/about-energy-poverty/
[2] https://righttoenergy.org/about-energy-poverty/
[3] https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2017/596816/IPOL_STU(2017)596816_EN.pdf
[4] https://ec.europa.eu/info/news/focus-energy-efficiency-buildings-2020-feb-17_en


SINCRO.GRID – cross border investment project of European significance

SINCRO.GRID is European project, do-financed by the Connecting Europe Facility of the European Union and is being carried out in the regions of Slovenia and Croatia. The project partners are the Slovenian and Croatian TSOs, ELES and HOPS, and DSOS of both countries, SODO and HEP ODS.
Project is tackling the challenges with overvoltage in transmission systems and established operation terms to enable greater production volumes from RES, an increase in transmission capacity of transmission lines (DTR) and capacity of system service. Project is providing solutions to the lack of flexibility resources needed to regulate the electric system due to increasing integration of decentralised renewable energy sources both in the regions of Slovenia and Croatia.

In Slovenia is planned: installation of a stationary compensation device with an SVC (Static Var Compensation)/STATCOM technology of +/- 150 Mvar at the Beričevo substation, the installation of variable shunt reactor of -150 Mvar at the Cirkovce substation, the installation of variable shunt reactor of -150 Mvar and the installation of a capacitor of +100 Mvar at the Divača substation and two battery storage units with a capacity of 5 MW will be installed at the existing substations of Okroglo and Pekre. At the same time the system for the assessment of power grid operating limits will be implemented, whereby is planned: the installation of hardware and software in control centres and atmospheric measuring instruments on transmission lines. Within the project also the upgrade of the system SUMO (the system for real-time and short-term forecast assessment of power grid operating limits) will take place, which will enable better utilization of existing transmission lines and transformers.

In 2017, the introduction of the virtual cross-border control centre begun, which will enable appropriate data exchange, voltage control and loss optimisation in transmission systems, better control and forecasting of electricity generation from RES, and implementation of tertiary regulation with management of consumption and dispersed generation in Slovenia and Croatia, and participation of RES in the provision of ancillary services.

For more information: https://www.sincrogrid.eu/en/


The benchmarking tool for monitoring, analyzing and reducing energy consumption in buildings

The benchmarking tool “Energiamonitor“ is an application for monitoring, analyzing and reducing energy consumption in buildings. With tool you can easily discover recommendations and tips for reducing energy consumption and saving money by entering just electricity, heating and water heating data of your own building or apartment. In addition to monitoring energy consumption with vivid graphs, the application offers the ability to calculate current energy label of your building (based on Estonian regulations), compare or share the energy consumption of your object(s) with others, and use an in-built solution to seek advice from energy experts up to reaching complete renovation solution in cooperation with energy experts.

Application supports English, Estonian and Russian, so international users can visit site and try with their own building(s) energy consumption. If you do not have your own data immediately available, you can check application with demo buildings integrated into system

If you don't know where you are, you don't know where to go and what you can achieve. Use Energiamonitor and find out!
emonitor.trea.ee

Energiamonitor application was developed with Baltic Smart City Areas for the 21st Century (AREA 21) project under Interreg Baltic Sea Region programme. You can also check AREA 21 guide on Energy Planning and Management Tools.