Polish municipalities explore German know how in local climate action

On the occasion of the ICCA 2015, selected Polish representatives visited best practice examples of local climate action and sustainable urban planning in and around Hanover, Germany. This marked the launch of adelphi’s new Polish-German cooperation project on low-emission economy in cities.

The region of Hanover is one of Germany’s pioneers in climate action. Since Polish municipalities are increasingly looking for ways to transition to a low-emission economy at the local level, the International Conference on Climate Action (ICCA 2015) offered the occasion for a first exchange with German municipal representatives under adelphi's new project. On 30 September 2015, adelphi guided about 20 Polish representatives to visit four projects in and around Hanover and explore the variety of forms that ambitious, yet feasible climate action can take.

Study tour takes Polish representatives to four exemplary climate action projects

The study tour started with the presentation of the “Masterplan City and Region Hanover – 100% for Climate Protection”. Established in 2012 under the National Climate Initiative (NKI), the Masterplan comprises a comprehensive strategy on how to reduce the region’s greenhouse gases by 95 per cent and the energy consumption by half by 2050, based on 1990 levels. While federal support through the NKI played an important role in the establishment of this ambitious project, the presentation highlighted other factors of success that may be replicated in Poland. This includes, among others, the Masterplan’s participatory processes, funding guidelines to empower the region’s citizens and businesses to take local climate action forward, and the use of spatial planning as a tool for mainstreaming climate action.

The group also visited the Energy and Environment Center in Springe-Eldagsen (e.u.[z.]), which both provides trainings on energy efficient modernization and construction, and demonstrates on-site how this can be implemented – a topic of special interest for Polish municipalities, where many of such projects are implemented and/or planned at the moment.

Developing renewable energy sources and involving the local population can go hand-in-hand

In the model district of Hannover-Kronsberg, the Polish delegation explored how an ecological district could be built from scratch, using clever spatial planning and a rational use of resources. High energy efficiency proved to attract both investors and tenants, and innovative financial mechanisms were used to guarantee that a large share of apartments would be rented to low-income houses – making ecological living accessible to all.

Developing renewable energy sources and involving the local population can go hand-in-hand. This was demonstrated by the energy co-operative Lehrte-Sehnde. The cooperative owns and operates photovoltaic installations based on a full democratic principle: people, who live or work in Lehrte and Sehnde may become members of the cooperative, whereas each member has one voice, regardless of the share. Combined with the guidance provided by the local cooperative bank, this made the cooperative a successful project of 400 members and with close to 10.000 kWp PV installed capacity. The cooperative was the last stop of the delegation’s field trip.

Following this, the Polish delegation took part in a specialised workshop held on October 2 at the ICCA 2015. In this session, representatives from three European city partnerships (from Germany-France and Germany-Poland) shared their experiences and discussed the benefits, obstacles and factors of success of such cooperation in local climate action.

This delegation trip was the first of a series to take place under the Polish-German cooperation project on low-emission economy in cities. adelphi leads a Polish-German consortium to develop tailored advisory services as well as dialogue formats for municipal representatives that will lay the foundations for the establishment and further strategic development of these partnerships.

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This project is funded by the German Federal Environment Ministry’s Advisory Assistance Programme (AAP) for environmental protection in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia and other countries neighbouring the European Union. It is supervised by the German Federal Environment Ministry and by the German Federal Environment Agency. The responsibility for the content of the website lies with the editors.