“Energy Efficiency at the Local Level”
Ralf Dahrendorf Round Table in Ukraine at the fringes of the
10th Network Forum for Free Local Politicians
Energy efficiency and energy independence is a main goal and a major task for Ukraine in order to keep and sustain its own (energy) independency.
Before the start of the war in Eastern Ukraine, various trade conflicts (“energy and milk wars”) between Ukraine and Russia took place. Since the Ukrainian energy sector depended mostly on Russian gas, energy supply was one of the main tools for pressuring the Ukrainian government. The behaviour of the Kremlin recalled often-used lines in Soviet movies: Question: “What if they do not accept our proposition?” Answer: “If they do not accept our proposition – we will turn off the gas!”
What has changed since those times? How do Ukrainian municipalities deal with the new reality of increased energy prices? How do municipalities from different EU countries solve the problems of energy dependency?
In order to find answers to these complex questions, Ukrainian and EU experts debated in Lviv City Hall open to the public. The Round table was organised by Friedrich Naumann Foundation’s Kyiv Office and its Ukrainian partner Center for Civic Initiatives with the support of the European Liberal Forum.
Volodymyr Omelchenko, Razumkov Centre, informed the audience that Ukraine has become the world leader in reducing its energy supply, having cut its energy consumption up to 20% over the last two years. However, while the significant increase of energy costs is indeed a factor here, this does not mean that Ukraine started saving energy. The main reason is the massive reduction of industrial production.
Knud Andersen, former ALDE-CoR Member and President of the Region of Bornholm, Denmark, as well as Environment, Climate Change and Energy Policy expert, recalled Bornholm’s start 30 years ago using more wind and renewables – and how it lead to today’s vision of becoming a society that is a hundred percent independent of fossil energy by 2025.
Andriy Kyrchiv, representing the Association “Energy Efficient Cities of Ukraine”, pointed out that 70% of the energy used world-wide is due to cities’ consumptions. In his view, city administrations must take energy efficiency into their own hands. The Association, founded by the four cities Lviv, Berdyansk, Kamyanets-Podilsky and Slavutych, works since 2007 and now has more than 70 participating cities from all over Ukraine. In 2009, the Association proposed to 10 Ukrainian cities to join the so-called „mayors’ agreement“ initiated by the European Commission. And while then only 300 cities from the EU and 10 cities from Ukraine signed, today there are more than 7000 cities from EU states and 120 from Ukraine united – in Kyrchiv’s view a promising sign how cities all over Europe become more responsible regarding energy efficiency.
Gregor Perič, Vice-mayor of the coastal municipality of Izola from Slovenia, focused on accounting and accountability. He reflected on how the energy management system of collecting and analysing used energy (“Integrated Energy Usage Monitoring System”) works in his city and has influenced energy savings of its citizens.
Iryna Kylinych, head of the Economic Development Department of Lviv City Council, focused on problems and achievements in Lviv like a special stimulation program for directors of public schools: If a school saves energy, the difference of the costs between the past and present year will be given to the school to be used at its own disposal for the coming year.
Victor Andrusiv, former deputy head of the Donetsk regional administration and moderator of the debate, summed up the first three steps for more energy efficiency of a city management:
- Establishing an Energy Board and office in the city administration (i.e. determine a person who is responsible).
- Accounting of all energy used.
- Taking up international opportunities for modernisation and development.
You can watch the video of all of the event :