Covenant of Mayors obliges to show initiative

Solar energy and cycle paths help Polotsk implement ‘20-20-20’ strategy

Hot water heaters powered by solar panels, cycle paths and a modernised boiler house are to appear in Polotsk as part of its sustainable energy development strategy.

Polotsk is the first Belarusian participant of the Covenant of Mayors — a European campaign uniting cities eager to considerably reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. It has begun to elaborate a sustainable energy development plan, with its first draft developed jointly by Spanish Bionet and the National Academy of Sciences’ Energy Institute.

Having analysed current energy consumption, energy-saving and the results of an energy audit of ten facilities in Polotsk (carried out by the NAS’ Energy Institute) Spanish specialists from Bionet have offered a plan on how best to reduce CO2 emissions. Measures aim to reduce consumption and promote the use of renewable energy. In particular, energy-saving measures are planned for public and residential buildings, with a new system of urban lighting and transport and new ways of generating power for public utilities. Wider use of local fuels and renewable energy are being suggested.

The sustainable energy development plan stipulates major sites for the allocation of technical assistance funds. In particular, a boiler house is to be modernised in the city and, by 2020, five hot water heaters powered by solar energy will have been installed. Moreover, the walls and roofs of communal buildings are to be insulated, with LED lamps used for lighting one city street — as agreed by the state energy saving programme.

According to European experts, the expansion of dedicated cycle paths is another way to reduce CO2 emissions. To achieve this, a system of cycle paths is being developed in Polotsk, in line with the city plan.

Public awareness will be raised regarding ways to save energy and reduce CO2 emissions, with a draft project for sustainable energy development being submitted to the city council for discussion. If approved, it will next be submitted to the European Commission before final implementation.

The SURE: Sustainable Urban Energy in the Region of the European Neighbourhood Partnership Instrument — Towards the Covenant of Mayors EU project is part of an EU CIUDAD programme. The budget for the 30-month project is almost 790,000 Euros and aims to improve sustainable energy development in Polotsk and Sale (Morocco). Both have recently joined the Covenant of Mayors, undertaking obligations to implement the EU’s ‘20-20-20’ strategy. This targets CO2 emissions, aiming to reduce them by at least 20 percent while raising the share of alternative energy sources by 20 percent and enhancing energy efficiency by 20 percent — by 2020.

Freidrichshafen is the leading partner (from Germany), joined by Murcia (Spain), Sale (Morocco), Polotsk City Executive Committee (Belarus) and the Inter-Mediterranean Commission of the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (France).

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