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Riga Conference November 2014




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Celsius Smart Cities Workshop- 16th September 2015

This interactive workshop will bring together excellence from several advanced European Smart Cities projects that will put forward their expertise and their project results on integrated planning, energy efficiency and district energy solutions, among others.

MSc Global Sustainable Cities Brochure

The Institute for Future Cities (IFC) has published a new brochure for the MSc Global Sustainable Cities.

The conference began with introductions by Richard Bellingham, Director of the Institute for Future Cities at University of Strathclyde and STEP UP project coordinator; and Georg Houben, the European Commission contact point for the Smart Cities & Communities Market Place. This was then followed by presentations on the enhanced SEAPs developed by the four STEP UP cities.

Enhancing SEAPs and Developing Innovative Projects: Learning, Key Actions and Projects in Gothenburg, Riga, Glasgow and Ghent

The four STEP UP cities presented their work on sustainable city planning from their Enhanced SEAPs; a new version of their Climate Plans and Sustainable Energy Action Plans, based upon the integrated STEP UP approach.


Climate Program/SEAP Gothenburg - How Gothenburg has tackled the task of

energy action plan/SEAP

Mathilda Edlund, City of Gothenburg, Environment Department

“The Gothenburg Sustainable Energy Action Plan work started with our politicians having a joint vision on Gothenburg’s part saving the world”. 

The Gothenburg local environmental target aim is set for 2050, when the city will have a sustainable and equitable level of gas emissions. The target is set to CO2-emissions of two tonnes per person and year. To be able to deal with and implement this ambitious target, the city needed to make a plan and decided to make it a strategic document.

Challenges and possibilities

The major challenges for the city of Gothenburg include emissions from large industry, heavy traffic due to the urban sprawl of the city, the challenges of dealing with a large city organisation and other partners, and finally the difficulties of working across different sectors.

Despite this, the city also has great possibilities: responsibilities for city planning and education, the large catalog of housing that the city owns and partial ownership of the Gothenburg Energy Company, that runs a well-functioning district heating system and waste plant. The City also owns its own port and has large collaborative networks on both national and international level, as well as good experience working across sectors.

Matilda Edlund put the Gothenburg Climate Program in perspective, showing how it builds on many different strategic plans, such as the Swedish national environment goals, and the City of Gothenburg development plan and traffic strategy.

From Vision to Action

The City of Gothenburg decided at an early stage that it would be good to involve stakeholders, businesses and NGOs amongst other partners to participate in the work. With a long way to go to reach the lower emission levels of 2 tonnes per person, the city realized that the 2050-target could never be fulfilled without the stakeholders’ involvement.

The Gothenburg Climate Program consists of 24 strategies divided into five areas:

  • The climate smart citizen
  • Resource efficient planning
  • Efficient energy use and conversion to renewables
  • Reduced climate stress from travel and transport
  • Climate conscious consumption

When Mathilda Edlund reflects on the enhanced SEAP and the work within the STEP UP-project, she says that it has helped to make the Climate Program of Gothenburg more robust and more amenable to dealing with local and global changes.

“STEP UP and the enhanced SEAP has given us more resources to engage with stakeholders. We have also been able to make an updated energy balance, more defined objectives, and not the least a scenario-based analysis that will really help us in the future”, says Mathilda Edlund.

Learning points

Although Mathilda Edlund says that they consider the Covenant of Mayors and the SEAPs not to be very flexible, she says it has been very valuable in helping them to engage with stakeholders. She also mentions that it has been a challenge to get the right commitment from the right person in the right department at the city, and also to find the right levels of the objectives in the Program. One major learning point is the positive effects of a good relationship with the politicians.

“It has been very fortunate for us and for the future of the Program, to have very well aware politicians, who have followed the progress closely”, says Mathilda Edlund.


A new Action Plan development for Smart City Riga

Dr.sc.ing. Maija Rubīna (Director of Riga Energy Agency)

The aim of the presentation ‘New Action Plan development for Smart City Riga’ was to introduce the local strategy document ‘Riga City - Sustainable Energy Action Plan for 2010-2020’ which has been approved by Riga City Council. The aim of the speech was to open a discussion about the needs of citizens in different countries and look at the perspectives of Latvian cities.

Riga City can reach the smart city status when investments in social, traditional (transport), and more modern (information and communication technologies) infrastructure provide sustainable development of the economy, as well as; higher quality of living through the involvement of different groups in processes and appropriate governance of resources.

Latvia is the most remarkable country of the Baltic region, because its capital Riga was the first in the region to develop a Sustainable Energy Action Plan for Smart cities. The National Energy Efficiency Action Plan is approved to ensure the implementation of requirements of EU Directive 2006/32/EC on energy end-use efficiency and energy services in Latvia. To ensure the resilience of Latvia's energy sector and its integration into the regional and EU energy markets, Latvia requires a long-term development vision. Therefore the Action Plan and Energy plans which are being developed by local governments are supported by new national strategy documents. Action plans are obligatory for 18 cities in Latvia which have signed the Covenant of Mayors commitment to reducing carbon emissions (these are: Riga, Jelgava, Jekabpils, Liepaja, Jurmala, Balvi, Ikskile, Karsava, Kegums, Livani, Lielvarde, Ludza, Ogre, Salaspils, Saldus, Tukums, Valka and Vilani).

Best practice cases were presented in the field of transport, and energy efficiency in private and public sectors. Riga’s new SEAP has a special focus on the development of public transport and innovation in the sector of building and in particular, the renovation of apartment buildings.

Riga has embraced the European Commission’s initiative – the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities, which aims to bring the city closer to achieving the status of a smart city through integration of information and communication technologies (ICT) with energy and transportation. The presentation gave an overview of the policy document closely developed with the STEP UP project partners, a circle of stakeholders and different sources of finance.

More information is available here (in Latvian)


Ghent’s Climate Plan

Indra van Sande – Environmental Service – City of Ghent

The Ghent Climate plan or SEAP will be approved in January 2015. The SEAP from 2008 has been improved upon through the STEP UP Project. It has been built through bottom-up stakeholder engagement with underlying aims to encourage empowerment through communities, stakeholders and the city. Due to the involvement and accountability of each Deputy Mayor in the Climate Plan, the City Council has played a strong part in supporting it. The City of Ghent aims to reach climate neutrality by 2050 and to reduce CO2 emission by 20% by 2019 (with a starting baseline from 2007). In 2011, a 9.5% CO2 emission reduction had already been achieved. The new SEAP is aiming for another 10.5% CO2 reduction by 2019. Although the SEAP has a strong emphasis on the targets of CO2 neutrality and energy, it also stresses the importance of cross-sector links and developments within water, air, raw materials, health, jobs, resilient economy and more.

An important part of the approach to energy efficiency needs to be directed at the residential sector. To encourage more retrofitting of residential properties and a standard of no more than 70 of kWh/m² yearly per residence; the following strategy has been implemented in the enhanced SEAP:

  • Encouraging uptake for retrofitting of properties (with campaigns, web tools like a decision tree)
  • Streamlining the ease at which this can be achieved (by offering free building advice, energy scans)
  • To offer financial support and incentives to undertake retrofitting of properties (with cheap loans, subsidies).

Ghent has encouraged new approaches to energy efficiency in the residential sector through initiatives like the “unburdening” project. Citizens can get free and practical help to implement a retrofit measure like insulating their roofs or improving their heating system. The City of Ghent provides a contractor and helps households with the practical difficulties presented by retrofitting measures. Since Ghent has many private rented houses owned by elderly people, this service is particularly aimed at assisting this demographic bracket with the retrofit of their properties.

There are also experiments that aim to trigger bottom-up cooperation in various districts of Ghent, with support from social housing companies to speed up retrofit programmes, and with compulsory NZEB standards in new city development projects. For these new developments a locally designed sustainability dashboard is used. It is based on BREEAM and LEED standards and guidelines. It sets targets for several themes (open space, green, water and energy) and monitors them in every project. 

There are also new developments that are showing innovation in this way. The urban development project on the Old Docks has seen plans for a completely new neighbourhood to be built to regenerated the are that use to consist of old shipyards, and will provide energy from waste water and kitchen waste.

If the City of Ghent wants to be taken seriously for its climate targets, the City itself must lead by example. For the city’s own buildings and its services’ transport fleet, the target is 3% CO2 reduction per year. The Water Company and the Ghent Social Welfare Company have also committed to reach these targets.

Ghent has many small non-ETS companies with lower than average energy use. Stakeholders indicated that subsidies aren’t a good lever for encouraging action in this case but that targeted guidance and advice is necessary to encourage energy to be embedded into company policy. The SME guidance project that Ghent has developed received a Climate Star Award in October 2014. Together with stakeholders an example is being set; through initiatives like the Waalse Krook which was a neglected old circus that has been transformed into a CO2 neutral digital centre.

Business parks are encouraged to use the measuring tool for sustainability as well, with the objective of obtaining BREAAM certificates.

The Port of Ghent has committed to the city’s targets and uses its role as a port manager to encourage wind energy, B2B heat exchange, bio-energy and shore power, amongst others. A biomass power plant with a capacity of 75 MW is also expected to be developed. Indeed, Ghent has encouraged renewable energy projects in the harbour area but there have also been projects in the city area in wind energy, district heating, solar energy and heat pumps. These projects have been mobilised through subsidies, legislation, district heating strategy, investments and ICT tools.

For transport the most important aim is a strong modal shift with targets to reach up until 2030. The most important measure in the SEAP is to encourage a doubling of the pedestrian and car free area.

As initiator of Thursday Veggieday, Ghent is aiming to stress shorter food chain supply, limitation of food waste and energy from food waste. To help bring this about an investment of more than 100 M € by the City of Ghent has been made and a commitment to more than 10.5% of CO2 reduction between 2011 and 2019.


Glasgow’s Enhanced SEAP Part 1

Glasgow’s Enhanced SEAP Part 2

Gavin Slater, Glasgow City Council, and Dominic Sims, Scottish Power Energy Networks

Glasgow’s journey to producing an enhanced SEAP began with the Sustainable Glasgow report, the city’s original SEAP, launched in 2010. Since then, STEP UP has been the vehicle within the city for improving and building on this plan, with the new Energy and Carbon Masterplan currently being approved and finalised before submission to the Covenant of Mayors. This presentation explores the challenges for Glasgow, the actions being adopted in the city and discusses the integrated energy planning approach followed.

The key challenge facing Glasgow is the same as many other cities across Europe; of moving from old modes of technology, energy and transport systems to meet the needs of a growing population, whilst also tackling climate change, increasing energy efficiency and energy security, thriving economically and improving quality of life for Glasgow’s citizens.

Glasgow’s Energy and Carbon Masterplan – the name of its enhanced SEAP – has retained its original SEAP target of 30% carbon emissions reduction by 2020, to be achieved through 33 actions across different sectors, such as establishing an ESCo and district heating schemes, phasing out electric heating, and implementing behavioural change programmes.

Other projects in the city contributing to building a smarter, more sustainable city include the Future Cities Demonstrator. As Glasgow has a large number of hard-to-treat tenement flats, sensors are being installed in tertiary buildings through this project to better understand heat consumption in these buildings.

Renewable energy is another area where the city is expanding its efforts. Glasgow currently has one 3MW wind turbine and is now identifying further potential sites, whilst also mapping suitable sites for solar PV which both have a strong likelihood of obtaining planning approval and offer a good connection to the grid. A micro-hydro pilot scheme is also starting in the city and options for heat pumps are being explored.

The second part of the presentation focused on the integrated energy planning process adopted in Glasgow, which developed out of a close working relationship between Glasgow City Council and Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN). Sharing data between the Local Authority and SPEN has allowed SPEN to map the city with multiple different data inputs, showing where new developments are planned and where new demand will be created over coming years.

This integrated energy planning approach has allowed Glasgow to obtain a better view of what the city may look like in the future and comparing SPEN’s investments plans with the city’s strategic objectives allows for planning to enable more efficient distribution in the future.

The presentation concluded by examining the next steps for Glasgow, from planning for the Glasgow’s Green Year 2015 -with each month focusing on a different aspect of sustainability; to the development of a resilience strategy for the city; to the establishment of a City Energy team within the Council. The City Energy Team will ensure that the expertise and experience developed through STEP UP is retain, ensure the visions, targets and actions set out in the Energy and Carbon Masterplan are carried out and maintain and expand upon the strong partnerships that have greatly benefited Glasgow’s sustainable city planning thus far.

To see the second half of the workshop (Financing SEAP actions) click here


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