Over 60 representatives of cities and communes met on May 19 and 20 this year in Jadwisin during the seminar "Inclusive energy transformation and climate protection in cities and municipalities", organized by the Association of Municipalities Polish Network "Energie Cités". Participants had the opportunity to listen to experts, incl. from the Ministry of Climate and Environment and the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management, and a debate on planning the further development of cities and communes in the context of new energy, geopolitical and social challenges, as well as take part in good practice sessions, conducted in small groups.
During the opening both Artur Borkowski – the Mayer of Serock and Leszek Drogosz - Head of the Board of the Association of Municipalities Polish Network „Energie Cités” (PNEC) and Head of Infrastructure Office, Capital City of Warsaw, emphasized the importance of climate actions, despite new difficulties emerging. Anna Jaskuła - Executive Director of PNEC, started the first part of the seminar, which concerned sustainable city management in the context of new energy and social challenges.
Paweł Różycki from the Ministry of Climate and Environment, Department of Strategy and Planning for Climate Transformation was our first speaker. In his presentation on the climate and energy policy of Poland in the context of new energy, geopolitical and social challenges, he presented the current challenges of the energy transformation and described the initial assumptions for the update of PEP2040 - first of all the introduction of the fourth pillar concerning energy sovereignty. Anna Czyżewska from Department of Climate Change Adaptation of the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management followed with a brief presentation of the available sources of financing adaptation measures. She also reminded the participants of the new call for applications under the priority program 1.4. Adaptation to climate change and protection of waters against pollution, announced on May 9.
The next two presentations were given by the representatives of the Association. Iwona Korohoda presented the Covenant of Mayors initiative for climate and energy and the support of European institutions for local governments - leaders of the energy transformation in Poland. As the Covenant signatories undertake not only to take action to mitigate climate change and adapt to its inevitable consequences, but also to take action to reduce energy poverty, she also briefly presented EPAH - the EU's leading initiative in the field of fighting energy poverty.
Patrycja Płonka presented integrated urban planning as a tool to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from the city, using the experience of the MULTIPLY project, which is implemented together with the Association in such cities as: Bydgoszcz, Sztum, Piastów, Grodzisk Mazowiecki, and Minsk Mazowiecki, Ostrołęka and Siemianowice Śląskie. In the room, you could also see the posters developed as part of the project, which presented good practices in the above-mentioned cities.
Presentations were followed by a debate, in which participated: Anna Czyżewska - National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management, Zuzanna Sasiak - Polish Green Network, Przemysław Major - Mayor of Cieszyn, Ryszard Pabian - Mayor of Jasło, Artur Borkowski - Mayor of Serock and Marcin Augustyniak - plenipotentiary of the Mayor of Wałbrzych. The discussion on planning the further development of cities and communes in the context of new energy, geopolitical and social challenges was moderated by Leszek Drogosz, director of the Infrastructure Office of the City of Warsaw. City representatives emphasized that the transformation poses an even greater challenge in the face of soaring energy prices. Anna Czyżewska presented financial instruments that can help local governments, but their representatives emphasized that in the current situation, despite the will, ideas and mobilization of human resources, the financial barrier may turn out to be decisive, because even in the case of using NFOŚiGW funding, the funds needed for own contribution for investments may not fit in the budgets of local governments. Taking local pro-climate measures is hampered not only by financial uncertainty, but also due to legal changes, and moreover, local governments turn out to be uncompetitive on the labor and investment markets. In the light of these formal and financial considerations, Zuzanna Sasiak reminded local governments from the perspective of an environmental organization that they are also expected to act in the social aspect, and despite the fact that she notices significant progress in this area, she still considers raising the awareness of residents and activating them to be extremely important.
The afternoon block was started by Tomasz Skoczylas, director of the Urban Innovation Center - Urban Lab, who, based on the Rzeszów example, showed how to create a space for citizens to engage in cooperation with city authorities. He emphasized that each city or commune has its own potential in this area, which should be addressed, and the key issue in creating space for residents is to talk with them and enable them to express their opinions and define their needs. City representatives were particularly interested in the inclusion of Urban Lab in Rzeszów in the structures of the City Hall and interdepartmental cooperation. Then, Tomasz Bońdos from the Bydgoszcz City Hall gave a presentation on a systemic approach to the optimization of energy production and consumption in the city, he talked about the problems and challenges in energy management and the robotization of invoices, which is Bydgoszcz's response to some of these problems. His speech aroused great interest among the audience. The third component of integrated urban planning, next to spatial planning and energy management - sustainable transport - was the topic of the speech by Bartosz Stachowiak from the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences of the UKSW, who presented the possibilities of using hydrogen in public and private transport.
Then Izabela Kuśnierz from the Association invited the participants to a table session, during which they could take advantage of the experiences of the invited guests. Grzegorz Gałek from PMG Sp. z o.o. continued on the topic of the last presentation, and together with the participants talked about whether electricity or hydrogen is the better way to sustainable transport in the city. With Romuald Meyer from Pomorska Grupa Konsultingowa S.A. the participants had the opportunity to talk about the activities undertaken for sustainable energy management on the example of Mińsk Mazowiecki, Czersk and Kamień Krajewski. Maciej Cygler from KOBiZE/CAKE talked with participants about the energy transformation of local governments, while presenting a handbook for local authorities prepared in October last year as part of the LIFE Climate CAKE PL project. At the table of Piotr Kolasa from the Polowiec i Wspólnicy sp.j. law firm, one could learn more about energy cooperatives, and especially about the legal conditions for their creation in Poland.