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Act Now! Newsletter 02/2019

Upcoming Events and Deadlines
Oct, 1st-2nd 2019, Sønderborg (Denmark): Steering committee meeting and partner meeting

Act Now! Regional and National Workshops
Within the Act Now! project three regional/national workshops will be carried out by each participating country during the run-time of the project. The idea behind these workshops is to come into a dialogue with target groups from local authorities outside the project.

They intend to inform about the project, to present and discuss interim project results, to collect the
participants’ feedback, to set impulses to enhance the energy efficiency activities in the attending local authorities. The exchange and interaction also aims at stimulating interest to follow the Act Now! project and to use results and tools that will be developed. The main topic for the first workshops was centered around "Energy Management".

Act Now! Workshop in Denmark: “Energy Management and Energy Efficiency – from Strategic Energy Plan to Action”
 ProjectZero, Act Now! partner from Sønderborg (Denmark), has held a successful first workshop within the project frame on “energy management and energy efficiency”.

A headline in the program should appeal to the individual: Why participate in the Act Now! workshop? More than 50 participants came from all over Syddanmark (South Denmark region), and represented housing associations, municipalities, regional bodies, real estate companies and craftsmen. The general idea of the workshop was to underline the benefits of energy management systems, to increase knowledge about energy topics in participants and to exchange experiences, ideas and challenges that have occurred when implementing energy management systems. Ambitious communal “Strategic Energy Action Plans” (SEAPs) often lack tangible measures. The aim of the Act Now! project and the workshops organized from its partners is to put these SEAPs into action to reach a higher level of energy efficiency and less carbon dioxide emissions.

The workshop was held at Alsion in Sønderborg, a building situated in a beautiful and inspiring setting with views over the sea Alssund. After a presentation about the Act Now! project and five inspirational presentations the second part was dominated by group work.

The Sønderborg workshop also wanted to provide an overview of tools that can be used for gathering data for improvement of existing energy management systems or for supporting professional building operators. In four discussion panels ideas were elaborated on private house owners, housing associations, public buildings and Strategic Energy Plans. Four key points have been identified as particularly important in the process “from Strategic Energy Plan to Action”:



  1. Use of one central energy management system for comparable results, interoperability and low maintenance and training efforts.
  2. Exchange and sharing of knowledge between municipalities, housing associations and craftsmen.
  3. Collection of data.
  4. Use the potential of internal and external (private and other public actors) collaboration in municipalities.
The workshop was perceived as a “good opportunity for exchange of experiences, led to a much wider angle and thus a different understanding due to the broad composition of local people, housing associations etc.” as an overall résumé. The exchange led to inspirations for the further way towards more energy efficiency and built the basis for new networks. “More energy management is the alpha and omega of the process”, concluded one participant.

Opportunities and Barriers for Municipal Energy Management Systems – Retrospect of the first Bremerhaven Workshop
Which actions can municipalities take in order to tackle topics like energy efficiency, energy transition and climate change in order to constitute a sustainable municipal energy management? This was the key question raised on the first regional workshop in Bremerhaven (Germany) on 21st March 2019. Representatives from municipalities in the German federal states of Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony) and Bremen, politicians and energy efficiency experts attended the first regional workshop within the framework of the Act Now! project.

Following a presentation on challenges of municipal energy management and a panel discussion, two working groups exchanged their experiences from different points of view and discussed future measures.

The discussion on energy management systems as such involved the identification of goals,
benefits and challenges that come along with the implementation. Typical barriers for launching energy management systems named during the workshop were resource and personnel limitations, complex administrative processes and lack of political will. To overcome these obstacles, it can be helpful to point out the benefits like the savings that can be achieved and consider pooling options to optimize contracting models. Subsidies are available from the European Union and national programmes. Communicating success to raise enthusiasm and identification among the citizens, politicians and the administrative staff is very important. And why not have a "municipal priority list" showing concrete energy efficiency implementation measures that should be continuously implemented.

The success of energy management systems is highly dependent on factors like political support, capacity building in the administration, communication, continuous monitoring and evaluation as well as stamina for the implementation of measures.

The latter was convincingly presented by the Mayor of Geestland, an award winning town adjacent to Bremerhaven, who radiated enthusiasm for energy efficiency and described how Geestland became proud of following an innovative and sustainable path.

The second regional Act Now! workshop is scheduled for October 2019.

Achievements and Future Prospects – Workshop on Energy Management in Municipalities in Riga (Latvia)
Riga Technical University, expert partner in the Act Now! project, hosted its first national conference on municipal experiences in the development and implementation of energy management systems. The aim of the conference was to discuss the experience of municipalities in developing and implementing energy management systems, the process of certification and the synergy between efficient energy management at national, regional and municipal level.
Representatives of relevant target groups such as ministries, municipalities and planning regions shared their vision.

Among the roundabout 60 participants were representatives from nearly 30 different Latvian municipalities and planning regions. Energy managers from five Latvian municipalities, including Gulbene Municipality from the Act Now! project shared their experiences with the implementation of energy management systems within the framework of different projects co-funded by the European Union (“Compete4SECAPS”, “5000 & 1 SEAPs” and Act Now!). One of the key benefits arising from energy management systems was data collection, which allows live monitoring of energy
consumption and consequently a systematic approach of further actions to achieve energy savings. The key role ministries regarding awareness of what is happening in the regions was discussed as well as chances for municipalities to make greater use of regional platforms to promote cooperation and synergy.

There were some uncertainties about legal requirements for the implementation of energy management systems, which is why governmental representatives explained the framework of Latvian national Energy Efficiency Law.

During the final panel discussion several key aspects of motivation for the introduction and potential certification of energy managment systems in municipalities were explored. Among them ideas of energy agencies as central support points at regional level, or the formation of an Association of Energy Managers.

Altogether a wish for more and better exchange in regions and with the government was expressed and further cooperation to find solutions.

"How to Increase Energy Efficiency in Buildings?" - Seminar at IFFM Gdańsk
 “How can existing oversized heating systems be used in insulated buildings to increase energy efficiency and to decrease the costs and emissions?” This issue was analysed by Dr. eng. Mieczysław Wierzgowski from Warsaw Technical University during the seminar, which took place on February, 27th 2019 at the Szewalski Institute of Fluid-Flow Machinery, Polish Academy of Sciences, Gdańsk.

In modernised buildings that are equipped with thermo-insulation, the heat sourced from the local distributor often does not decrease significantly, if at all. Careful inspection of the heating centre in a building is necessary and should be performed by professionals soon after insulation works ended, in order to avoid system pollution due to very low heat stream.



Many participants took part in the meeting and a vibrant discussion was developed for almost one hour. The meeting was co-organised by the Regional Fund for Environment Protection in Gdańsk.

Local Energy Efficiency Groups in Nine Countries
An essential part of the Act Now! project are nine so-called Local Energy Efficiency Groups (LEEGs) in the participating municipalities. The aim of the LEEGs is to bring together actors from the municipality staff, local steering bodies for future energy efficiency measures and other relevant stakeholders.

The nine LEEGs are located in Bremerhaven (Germany), Elva Municipality (Estonia), Gdynia (Poland), Gulbene Municipality (Latvia), Mönsterås Municipality (Sweden), Silute Municipality (Lithuania), Sønderborg Municipality (Denmark), Ylivieska Region/Sievi Municipality (Finland) and Kaliningrad (Russia).

Each LEEG is set up in a slightly different way depending on the participants, workloads, how the LEEG was established, ,how strong the support of the local authority is and many other factors. Subsequently also the involvement of the LEEG members differs regarding the development of methodologies and tools. Among other tasks the LEEGs contribute to developing a SWOT
analysis, customized capacity building schemes (based on methods from the REFURB EU-project), identifying potential for energy saving and most effective measures.

Most LEEGs have been established in 2018, but some are based on previously existing structures. Each LEEG has had a few meetings and most LEEGs had additional meetings in different contexts (e.g. bilateral, or in sub-groups etc.) or as video-conferences.

Some LEEGs have come more from a private sector background, others are imbedded more in the public sector, depending on the partners involved and the contemplated energy efficiency measures.

The diversity of the LEEG structures is challenge and opportunity at the same time and integral part of the capacity building process. The experiences gathered in the LEEGs will be evaluated in ‘Lessons Learned’ and contribute to the development of the learning tool and guidelines.

Act Now! Investments
In six Act Now! project municipalities investments are funded for ICT based energy monitoring. The total amount for the investing Act Now! project partners and their coaching partners is almost 325,000 €.

The municipalities are Elva Municipality (Estonia), Municipality of Gdynia (Poland), Gulbene Municipality Council (Latvia), Kaliningrad (Russia), Silute District Municipality Administration (Lithuania) and Association of Ylivieska Region (Sievi; Finland).

Their coaching expert partners are South-Estonian Centre of Renewable Energy (MTÜ LETEK; Estonia), The Szewalski Institute of Fluid-Flow
Machinery Polish Academy of Sciences (Poland), Riga Technical University (Latvia), Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (Russia), Civitta UAB (Lithuania) and Centria University of Applied Sciences Ltd. (Finland).

Different systems are installed in the municipalities (e.g. wireless sensors for monitoring heating and ventilation status, smart metering, heat energy meters etc.). The target of all municipalities is getting the installations ready before the next heating period.

Within the Act Now! process it is intended to harmonize the tools and make them available for the whole project partnership.

3rd Steering Committee and Partner Meeting in Vilnius
On April 2nd-3rd 2019 the project partners of the Act Now! project met in Vilnius, Lithuania, to talk about the projects’ achievements and to coordinate pending activities. The meeting also left room for overseeing the project timeline and updating tasks and deadlines.

30 participants from eight countries attended the meeting and one partner joined in temporarily via online-conference. After a partner dropout in an early project phase, this time a major budget change was on the agenda due to changes and adjustments in money allocation between the different budget lines. In compliance with the EU Interreg BSR regulations the steering committee agreed on requesting a major change at the EU managing authority.

For the first time a separate workshop for the project partners from municipalities was conducted and highly appreciated. It was important to exchange experience within this group, they are one part of the tandems. It was agreed to continue with a workshop of the municipal partners at the next conference in Sønderborg.
Parallel an expert partner meeting took place; the coaching expert partners being the other half of each tandem.

The central document exchange platform (ecolocloud) has been restructured for easier use and logical folder structures. An overview of the new folder system was presented and discussed in Vilnius and can now be found in the main level folder “Instructions for use”.

Other topics discussed comprised of the upcoming Sønderborg conference in October 2019, the communication strategy, which is in the process of revision with the project partners, reporting, investments and troubleshooting.

For the first time a separate workshop for the project partners from municipalities was 


conducted and highly appreciated. It was important to exchange experience within this group, they are one part of the tandems. It was agreed to continue with a workshop of the municipal partners at the next conference in Sønderborg.
Parallel an expert partner meeting took place; the coaching expert partners being the other half of each tandem.

The central document exchange platform (ecolocloud) has been restructured for easier use and logical folder structures. An overview of the new folder system was presented and discussed in Vilnius and can now be found in the main level folder “Instructions for use”.

Other topics discussed comprised of the upcoming Sønderborg conference in October 2019, the communication strategy, which is in the process of revision with the project partners, reporting, investments and troubleshooting.

Besides the official part there was time to talk and laugh, enjoy excellent Lithuanian cuisine together and have a stroll in beautiful Vilnius in the evening. Thank you again to the organisers.

For further details: Act Now! project partners find the documentation on the ecolocloud.

Act Now! Co-organizes “100 % Climate Neutrality” Conference in Sønderborg in October 2019 with Youth in Focus
Sønderborg (Denmark) will host the “100 % climate neutrality” conference from September, 30th to October, 2nd with a focus on carbon neutral cities and special attention to youth participation.
A separate YOUTH summit two months before the conference wants to foster empowerment of young people to take actions for their sustainable future. At the “100 % climate neutrality” conference in october representatives from the Bremerhaven (Germany) “Jugendklimarat” (youth climate council), and the “Ungeklimaråd” (youth climate council) from Frederikshavn (Denmark) will participate.

Act Now! will appear as a co-organizer of the “100 % climate neutrality” conference and conduct a workshop particularly addressing municipality representatives. In addition, Act Now! will hold its regular steering committee meeting and other project meetings in the light of the conference.

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Klimastadtbüro Bremerhaven
Till Scherzinger / Petra Schneider
Waldemar-Becké-Platz 5
27568 Bremerhaven
Deutschland


dialog@klimastadt-bremerhaven.de
www.klimastadt-bremerhaven.de