From Sustainable Energy Strategies to Action Plans – Local conference in Debrecen

Published by Lilla Csanaky on 25/03/2014

Bottom-up initiatives have enormous power: it is important that municipalities focus on what kind of energy sources they have instead of repeating the same old excuses such as “it is not possible” or “we are too small”. This was the conclusion of the workshop held in Debrecen, at the 18th of March, which was organized by Energiaklub in cooperation with the Northern Great Plain Regional Energy Agency (ENEREA). The event was supported by the Ministry of Rural Development.

During the 2014-2020 programming period, Sustainable Energy Action Plans will form the basis of local energy investments. The execution of sustainable energy management needs strategic planning from the decision-makers of the municipalities. A well elaborated Action Plan can result in better access to the EU’s funding sources. General practice is that Hungarian municipalities invest in energy developments according to tenders instead of looking for possibilities to finance the investments they really need. If they have a well-structured strategy – based on calculations – the municipality can wait for the tenders with concrete investment ideas.

At the event, participants got acquainted with the initiative of the Covenant of Mayors, where signatories undertake to elaborate their Sustainable Energy Action Plans within one year of the adhesion and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20% carbon dioxide till 2020. In Hungaryonly a few municipalities posses an action plan. Felsőtárkány undertook a significant commitment, they set a target of 100% CO2 reduction: beside energy efficiency investments, they will produce heat and electricity by RES. From the Northern Great Plain Region, the mayor of Martfű presented their ambitious Action Plan, with a goal of 73% CO2 reduction as a target.

Energiaklub presented the methodology and the main steps of SEAP elaboration and the practical knowledge related to the joint SEAP of 16 municipalities from the Mecsek-Völgység-Hegyhát Association. The representative of ENEREA introduced the regional energy strategy and the Újszentmargita micro-region development plan, where a briquette plant processing local agricultural by-products is planned.

Beside the ambitious development plans, the success story of Told was presented. Among the inhabitants of this small village extreme poverty is very common and getting enough biomass for heating in the winter time is a real problem. „Igazgyöngy Alapítvány” has been performed hard work to provide energy sources for households with the involvement of unemployed inhabitants. They use local by-product, a self created machine and their own power to create bio-briquette for heating.

By the end of the interactive session about the visions of municipalities related energy self-sufficiency, participants got quite optimistic. The seemingly resource poor municipalities can also find solutions suitable to their local conditions. Representatives of municipalities who do not have an action plan decided to start to collect data on the energy consumption of their village which is a great starting point towards a good action plan.