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Act Now! Newsletter #4                                                                              April 2020

The Act Now! Project in Times of COVID-19
Health experts and politicians discuss worldwide and need to find solutions for many problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the whole world it has a huge impact on the life and work as we used to know them – and so it has an impact on the Act Now! project.

The Managing Authority/Joint Secretariat (MA/JS) of Interreg Baltic Sea Region provides guidance to partners of projects funded by Interreg BSR concerning the COVID-19 pandemic and updates it regularly on www.interreg-baltic.eu/covid-19.

The lead partner of Act Now! had initiated a quick first overview survey in March, to be answered by the tandems and single partners of the project. The aim was to get a better picture if/how the general conditions changed and what kind of unexpected obstacles might be encountered in times of COVID-19.  First results and further discussions show that all partners are suffering under the pandemic.

For example, meetings cannot take place or the settings must switch to online versions, the work of the local energy efficiency groups is hampered,
regional/national workshops need to be postponed, the timing/setting for transnational conferences must be re-considered.

Two of our project partners could not attend the Steering Committee Meeting (SCM) already in early  March due to travel restrictions. The next scheduled SCM in June most probably has to be conducted as an online meeting.

Many colleagues work from home, ways of communication have changed and are partly suffering,   for some the access to their usual information base is severely interrupted. Organising their daily work in changing conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic is challenging for people and organisations.

Overall changes in all societies due to the situation in the health sector and to the economic situation need to be taken into consideration. Municipalities will suffer hugely of less resources, and so will private investors and other people. How will the focus of interest shift and how is the new framework of conditions  –  the months to come will show.

[Author: Petra Schneider]

5th Act Now! Steering Committee and Partner Meeting in Kalmar
On March 2nd-4th the Steering Committee held its 5th regular meeting in the old Swedish town of Kalmar. Some 35 members of all 9 member states attended and had lively discussions. Lena Eckerberg, Johan Milton and Lidia Salame organized the meeting and gave an introduction into the programme of the two and a half days.

The Steering Committee centred around two main topics: a detailed report from all 9 Local Energy Work Groups (LEEGs) and an intensive discussion of the 5 public documents to be delivered as one of the main outputs during the last period of the project. The LEEG presentations were given in the following order
  1. Gulbene Municipality, LV
  2. Sievi Municipality, FI
  3. Kaliningrad, RU
  4. Gdynia, PL
  5. Silute, LT
  6. Elva; ES
  7. Sonderborg, DK
  8. Mönsterås Municipality, SW
  9. Bremerhaven Municipality, GE
The first six municipalities received Interreg funds for investments which are all transacted in meantime. Now data are collected and evaluated in order to arrive at valuable conclusions to be presented in the 5 documents. Due to the size and structure of the municipalities a broad range of experiences have been gained; the international exchange helps to sharpen the necessary measures. All LEEG reports are available on the internal Act Now web pages (ecolocloud).
An intense and long discussion took place about the 5 public documents.

The aim, target group and structure of the Manual was presented first by Project partner PP 03, GE. The document will develop the rationale of the project, give an overview of all results and introduce the four in-depth guidelines.

PP03, GE presented Guideline 2 for Identification of Energy Efficient Measure.

PP08, DK presented Guideline 3 for cooperation of public authorities with private investors.

PP12, LV presented Guideline 4 for Energy Efficiency in Buildings.
PP02, GE presented Guideline 5 for Financing of Investments.

A timeline was established for the first drafts until the final adoption at the 6th Steering Committee, to be held beginning of June in Ylivieska, FI.

The Act Now! project is scheduled to be terminated on September 30th, the final transnational conference is planned for September  9th - 11th at Bremerhaven, GE.

The conference was closed with many thanks to the Swedish hosts for the excellent organizing of the meeting, including a socialising event in the premises of an old warehouse near the harbour.

[Author: Meinhard Schulz-Baldes]

Mönsterås municipality take steps forward for energy efficiency
During the Act Now! project Mönsterås municipality has been supported by the Act Now! partner the regional Energy Agency for Southeast Sweden to find solutions how to decrease the energy consumption in the buildings owned by the municipality. Mönsterås is already a frontrunner and has invested in several low energy buildings, for example a library and a kindergarten, which are fine examples how public sector set act example to improve the energy performance in public buildings. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of things to do in the municipality in this matter.

Marcus Olsson is the head of the real estate department in Mönsterås: "In the cooperation with the regional Energy Agency for Southeast Sweden we have been supported to find methods to systemize the energy monitoring in our buildings. This support has resulted in a decision to employ an operating technician who will be the appointed responsible person for energy monitoring in our buildings. This will be done in an overall systematic way. It will give us an improved base for decisions for the planning of future investments and maintenance." 

Thanks to the Act Now!  project Energy Agency for Southeast Sweden can support the regional 

actors to achieve energy efficiency in the buildings by different capacity raising activities such as seminars, workshops and meetings.

Johan Milton, project manager at Energy Agency for Southeast Sweden says: ”We supporting the municipalities to shift their focus from the short term maintenance towards a long-term focus on reinvestments in their building stock to reduce the risk of building a mountain of maintenance need.”

[Author: Lena Eckerberg, Picture: Energy agency for Southeast Sweden]

The Sievi municipality LEEG as part of the Act Now! project

In Finland, the Sievi municipality LEEG (local energy efficiency group) has now been working for five months and the meetings have been innovative and productive. The LEEG has members not only from the municipality but also from stakeholders just as from the local industry, parish and agriculture. In a small municipality with a strong industry and agriculture the impact of stakeholders on the CO2 can be significant. Therefore, in order to update the municipality’s 
SEAP, the stakeholders were asked to tell about the energy efficiency actions they are planning. These actions were included in the updated SEAP in the confidential part of the report. The confidentially was made in order to reassure that the stakeholders could feel safe to inform the municipality about their situation. 

One of these energy efficiency actions planned by the stakeholder, is the change of the parish district heating network to the local district heating network. The parish’s district heating network is at the end of its lifetime and its utilization rate has decreased. The Sievi LEEG has created a save environment for the parish and local heating company to talk about the possibility to integrate the parish network into the larger network. Also, with the help of the Act Now! expert partner, Centria University of Applied Science, the independent calculations can be made. 

[Author: Anne-Riikka Rautio,  Picture: Timo Kiema]

LEEG and the private homeowners in Sonderborg
The Sonderborg private homeowners focused LEEG (local energy efficiency group) in Sonderborg has been active for more than six years, aiming at ensuring powerful actions focused on the private homeowner segment.

The Sonderborg LEEG is constituted by a broad representation from banking institutions, real estate agents, craftsmen, educational institutions, and relevant departments of Sonderborg municipality.

The LEEG played during 2018 an active role in the creation of Sonderborg´s SECAP Roadmap2025 climate action plan and inspired the Roadmap2025 process to create additional 7 LEEG Groups focused on other housing segments, corporations, farming etc. The aim of Roadmap2025 is to achieve a 75% carbon-emission reduction by 2025, compared to baseline 2007.

The private homeowners LEEG has contributed with insight, knowledge and suggestions on the focused initiatives, aiming at securing that the carbon reduction in the private homeowner segment, consisting of around 18,600 private homes, is reduced by 35,000-ton carbon reduction by 2025.

The LEEG group can be characterized by a kangaroo that, with great strength, takes big leaps while carrying the future in front of it.

At present, the LEEG group meetings are being held as workshops, sparking ideas, exchanging knowledge and initiating cooperation across the group participants.

The workshops focus on the “Customer Journey”, with specific focus on the barriers private homeowners must overcome in order to fulfill their energy renovations and energy efficiency. 

During the workshops the “Customer Journey” is essential in discussions concerning the private homeowners and on what actions needs to be taken in order to reduce the carbon emission by 35,000 tons by 2025.

[Author & Pictures: Vivian Krøll]

Gdynia’s LEEG
LEEG in Gdynia has a flexible structure, depending on considered issues. The core is the employees of the Energy Department of Gdynia Municipality and other departments responsible for development of energy efficiency action plans in Gdynia and polish project partners: Szewalski Institute and Gdynia Trolleybus Company. The first meeting of LEEG/OMGGS was organized on 6 Sep. 2018 in Gdynia. It was preceded by several meetings of initiative LEEG’s group.

Gdynia has a Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) approved in 2012 that is to be reached by 2020. Thermomodernization of educational facilities in Gdynia with an energy management is the main issue that LEEG is working on because in the long run it brings not only economic but also ecological benefits. All taken steps are aimed at preparing the specification proposal for the BMS system.

Until now Gdynia’s LEEG has led to:
  • the purchase procedure and installation of 4 air condition dataloggers with monitoring system (CO2, humidity, pressure, temperature) for 1 selected school building – pilot investment;
  • preparation of 1 audit and 2 certificates for building energy performance of municipal facilities;
  • 3 applications in Horizon 2020;
  • Increased LEEG’s members knowledge of different energy management systems (by meetings with BMS providers);
  • Integration of the district heat supplier’s heat consumption data into the InvisoLite EMS system (instead of collecting it from invoices);
  • Strengthening the PPP group in Gdynia Municipality (there is the ordinance from June 2019 of the mayor of Gdynia regarding the establishment of an additional team for purchasing the energy system for buildings using public-private partnership).
Our further work plan for next months includes:
  • 6 audits and 11 energy performance certificates;
  • Data analysis from air condition data loggers and recommendations for authorities;
  • Next steps within the PPP group: trainings, selection of buildings, description of the technical condition of buildings;
  • 1 workshop remaining, 1 study visit in Sopot (to see the results of the implementation of ESCO formula). 
Despite the difficulties connected with limited funding, little experience in the ESCO formula and a large number of municipal buildings in Gdynia we all are well on our way to acting just right now.

[Author & Pictures: Ewelina Barnat-Prokopiuk]

Currently Gulbene Municipality is implementing the Capacity Building Scheme (CBS) action plan developed during the first period of the Act Now! project focused on the definition of a SECAP in a tandem approach with Riga Technical University (RTU). In cooperation with the Local Energy Efficiency Group (LEEG) established in Gulbene Municipality, RTU defined a tailored series of workshops aiming to have by May 2020 the final and approved version of the SECAP.

During the last 3 months two key workshops have been organized, namely:

a) Workshop 2: Towards SECAP implementation (3rd February 2020, Gulbene Municipality);

b) Workshop 3: Energy Management System according to EN ISO 50001: 2012 Standard
(28th February 2020, Gulbene Municipality).

The workshop Nr. 2 was focused on specific topics mainly addressed to:

  • theoretical aspects abut SECAP and presentation of best case practices from other Latvian Municipalities;
  • insight about adaptation strategies in SECAP;
  • Practical task: prioritization of key adaptation strategies.

This workshop (lead by M.sc. Anda Jekabsone and Assoc. Prof. Francesco Romagnoli) was essential in order to provide a guideline for the SECAP development, by giving insight in recent national and EU policies (see figure 1). The presentation of case studies from Latvian municipalities, already implementing SECAP, was essential to both give valuable instruments for the selection of the key priorities for Gulbene Muncipality and what targets the Municipality wants to set (figure 2), and to finally select the proper mitigation and adaptation measures (a mandatory step for the SECAP).

Figure 1

Figure 2

During the practical task the LEEG identified all the vulnerabilities in the Gulbene municipality and list them in a flip chart (see figure 3). The list was then prioritized using a Multi Criteria Analysis (MCA) approach (see figure 4).
Figure 3

Figure 4

The workshop Nr. 3 was focused on specific topics mainly addressed to:
  • Development of an Energy Management System according to LVS EN ISO;
  • Outcomes from the assigned practical task: feedbacks from SECAP risk/vulnerability identification.
This workshop (lead by Prof. Marika Rošā and Assoc. Prof. Francesco Romagnoli) was essential in order provide a consistent support to develop an Energy according to ISO standard 50001 with reflections in the organization of the management team and of the energy department. The key steps of the standards were presented together with the potential criticalities. Following a discussion with the LEEG the scheme of the information flows for the Municipal building sector was identified (see figure 5 and 6) highlighting the key role of the building energy manager. In the second part of the workshop the LEEG presented the final prioritization of Risk and Vulnerabilities as essential part of the SECAP.

Figure 5

Figure 6

[Author & Pictures: Francesco Romagnoli]

Transitioning to a Low Carbon Economy
The local energy efficiency group (LEEG) Kaliningrad began its work later than all the partners of the Act Now! project, but managed to do quite a lot from October 2019 to March 2020.
A particularly significant element was the contribution to the development of a new Energy Saving and Energy Efficiency Program of Kaliningrad for the period 2020-24, which was developed in the light of a new national policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the transition to a low-carbon economy. Over the course of a series of LEEG meetings, discussions took place on the ambitious Strategy for the Long-Term Development of the Russian Federation until 2050 with a low level of greenhouse gas emissions, which set national goals for reducing emissions and proclaimed scenarios of low-carbon development of the Russian Federation.

The baseline scenario assumes a reduction in carbon intensity of GDP by 9% by 2030 and by 48% by 2050 (from the level of 2017) and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by two-thirds by 2030 (from the level of 1990). An intensive scenario that allows achieving carbon neutrality of the economy until the end of the 21st century is strengthening the national goal of reducing emissions and launching tools to stimulate companies and organizations to reduce them.
The document also states that the regional executive authorities and local authorities should be guided by the provisions of the Strategy when developing and implementing regional programs (subprograms) and other documents. During the LEEG meetings energy-efficient measures necessary for the prospective implementation of the Kaliningrad city administration's 2020–2004 new energy-saving program were discussed. Since the increase in anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases is associated mainly with emissions from burning fossil fuels in all sectors of the economy, in particular, it was proposed:

  • a comprehensive program of 100% conversion of thermal boiler houses operating on coal and diesel fuel to gas;
  • increased use of cogeneration thermal power plants operating on gas and renewable energy sources;
  • use of energy service contracts in the implementation of energy-efficient LED technologies. 

The results of meetings found their application in the new energy saving program being developed by the City Hall of Kaliningrad for 2020-24.
[Author: Olga Kovaleva; Figure: Sergey Molchanov]

LEEG in Silute district municipality (Lithuania)
The local energy efficiency group (LEEG) is a new unit established in the Act Now! project frames. The LEEG group consists of three representatives from Silute district municipality, two from expert partner Civitta, also the representative from the local heating supply company and members from different companies that are involved in energy efficiency management in Silute.

Our LEEG is solving energy efficiency issues in Silute district municipality. The communication of the LEEG is assured by eye-to-eye meetings or conference calls.  Our LEEG can proudly say that buildings that had been selected by the LEEG members have the heating system automatization done and smart meters installed. Heating data in these buildings is monitored, accumulated and analysed by member of the LEEG and positive results are visible at the end of the heating season. Our LEEG has also monitored the process of installation of solar panels on schools and kindergartens. Also as the result of productive LEEG’s action and involvement the application form was submitted to the European energy efficiency fund (EEEF) for the renovations of eight buildings in the municipality.  

The LEEG is also working on technical specification of SECAP 2021-2030 procurement. Also technical documentation for the capacity building training is being prepared, the training is planned to be done during the summer.

The LEEG is constantly solving energy efficiency problems even outside the Act Now! project.

[Author & Pictures: Simona Bokštaitė-Dryžienė]

Save the Date: 9th - 11th September 2020
"Green Economy - the heating market changes - Act Now!"
More information coming soon. Look at the website www.actnow-baltic.eu/final-conference/
or at www.green-economy-bremerhaven.de.

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