The page uses cookies to offer you better content. By visiting this site, you consent to the use of cookies.

Information on energy efficiency and funding at the LALRG’s seminar to inspire the creation of innovations

On 19 September, at the international seminar "Funding and innovations for climate and energy activities - opportunities for everyone" held in Liepāja, representatives of Latvian municipalities learned about the current European Union project tenders in the field of climate and energy, were inspired by the activities implemented by other municipalities, as well as involved in the creation of innovative ideas themselves.

Opening the seminar, which the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments held in cooperation with the city of Liepāja and the “Covenant of Mayors” office, Mr Gints Kaminskis, the Chairman of the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments emphasized that the event’s aim is to jointly promote understanding of climate neutrality and related activities, so that municipalities can safely look to the future and develop steadily. “We know that the implementation is an expensive measure and requires additional funding, thus today we have also included information about the available European Union programs for the implementation of these goals”, stated Mr Kaminskis.

Likewise, Mr Gunārs Ansiņš, the Mayor of Liepāja City and the Ambassador of the “Covenant of Mayors” in Latvia, intrigued the audience with a question to which he has been looking for an answer for several years, namely: how green is green?! “Climate neutrality is like a long-term deposit in the bank, as every step that the city of Liepāja takes also saves resources, including the financial ones. I am sure, that we can start with the first step, and for me the first step has always been energy efficiency. Imagine how much we can save, for example, by insulating one building,” shared the Mayor of the Liepāja City.

Mr Andres Jaadla, the Councillor of Rakvere municipality and the Ambassador of the “Covenant of Mayors” in Estonia, has provided inspiring intervention so that Latvian municipalities are even more eager to implement energy efficiency activities. In his address to the representatives of local governments in Latvia, he revealed that even in such a small municipality of 15,000 inhabitants as Rakvere, it is possible to achieve a lot of changes. “We are a small town in the north of Estonia, 100 km from Russia, but we are a strong municipality that was one of the first ones to join the “Covenant of Mayors” back in 2009. Political discussions are very interesting, but the question is: where to find funding? In our city’s Sustainable Energy Action Plan we decided already in 2009 that we should start using organic raw materials instead of fossil fuel in the centralized heating system, renovate buildings, make water use in public buildings and private properties more efficient, as well as stop using fossil fuel for public transport. Over the course of 14 years, we have implemented 43 European Union program projects, including LIFE program, with this funding making up approximately the budget for three years of our municipality,” Mr Jaadla emphasized.

In order to choose the most suitable European Union program for the implementation of energy efficiency and climate activities, the representatives of Latvian municipalities learned at the seminar about the current calls for projects in such European Union programs as the European City Facility, Interreg IV Estonia-Latvia Programme 2021-2027 and the LIFE Clean Energy Transition sub-programme.

The second part of the seminar was a surprise for all the participants with its unusual scenario. It was leaded by Ms Jolanta Derkevica-Pilskunga, the docent of “Turība” University and Director of the doctoral study program “Communication Management”, who introduced the representatives of local governments with suggestions for creating innovations. She has also involved the participants in the interactive session and the creation process of innovations.

The European Union “Covenant of Mayors” was launched in 2008 by the European Commission to support cities and regions with delivering the European Union's (EU) 2020 climate and energy targets. It is now reinforcing the role by aligning its climate pledge to the EU's objective of reaching climate neutrality by 2050 counting more than 11,000 signatories. They receive technical support and financial guidance to design and implement energy and climate plans that contribute to keeping the global temperature rise below 1.5℃ - the highest ambition of the Paris climate agreement. In Latvia 22 municipalities have joined the “Covenant of Mayors”, and the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments has joined it as the supporter.