Decentralised government levels are keeping the energy efficiency agenda high on the agenda
On behalf of Rensol ( EU financed project) Hans Brask, Director of the Baltic Development Forum, participated in the 8th Energy Forum 16-18 December 2013 in Sopot just outside Gdansk in Poland – the Polish neighbouring region of Kaliningrad. Please find more information about the Conference on Energy Forum’s website.
Hans Brask was invited to speak in a session on regional energy cooperation together with fmr. Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius, Polish MP Piotr Naimski and Strategic Manager Kalle Kukk, Estonia. Hans Brask underlined that regional energy cooperation offered many opportunities to address three key issues that all countries and regions around the Baltic Sea Region were concerned about, namely to increase energy security, to combat climate change and to ensure competitive energy markets. The countries of the region put however different emphasis of each of the three elements.
An efficient way of finding solutions to all three issues was to improve energy efficiency and to make full use of the many competences in the field that were available in the Baltic Sea Region. Baltic Development Forum’s experiences from working in the energy sector in the region and not least within the Rensol-project in Kaliningrad was that there often was too much attention dedicated to so-called “big tech” solutions (fx. power-generation) compared to the decentralized ”small-tech” solutions where ordinary citizens were involved in finding sustainable and energy efficient solutions. In this regard, municipalities played often a very important role and cross-border cooperation between cities and municipalities had proven to be an effective way of increasing energy efficiency.
Another finding was that the dedication to and concern in finding climate change and energy efficient solutions were often high on the agenda on decentralized levels of governments compared to central governments who were even trying to roll-back the agenda during recent years. From the debate during the 8th energy forum this seemed very much to be the case in Poland. There was a danger that politicians at central government levels were “unsynchronized” vis-à-vis local politicians who were working hard to finding concrete and practical energy solutions to its citizenry applying a longer term perspective.
During the 8th energy forum, Hans Brask met with representatives from local authorities in Gdansk area who were involved in energy efficiency projects at decentralize levels. They were invited to participate in upcoming Rensol-events: 22 January and 26-27 February in Kaliningrad.
Contracting Authority: The European Union, represented by the European Commission
Co-Funding: European Union, Non-State Actors and Local Authorities Programme for the Baltic Sea Region (within the framework of priorities of the Northern Dimension)