Nearly 50 people gathered at first meeting of the Local Experience Exchange Group (EEG), which took place in Krakow on 30 March and 1 April 2016. It was focused on the diagnosis of the situation of Polish local governments in terms of energy efficiency and the use of RES and the possibility of transferring tested Norwegian solutions to Poland.
The debate was attended by representatives of Polish cities and municipalities who have been addressing energy and climate protection for a long time and can make a significant contribution to the analysis of current and development of new pro-energy solutions. Norwegian experiences and good practices were presented by Ms Gunnbjørg NÅVIK from the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities.
The meeting was opened by Andrzej Porawski, Director of the Association of Polish Cities (ZMP) office and Zbigniew Michniowski, President of the Board of Association of Municipalities Polish Network "Energie Cités", who welcomed the guests. They also noted the potential benefits of exchange of experience, knowledge and good practices with the Norwegian partners, who have the opinion of leaders in the implementation of the sustainable development concept. Then Tomasz Potkański, Deputy Director of the ZMP office, discussed the main objectives of the project. "Polish-Norwegian cooperation platform for climate and energy conservation", under which EEG was established. Next presentations were an introduction to further discussions and familiarized participants with the main objectives and elements of the prepared diagnosis, as well as with Norwegian legislation and experience in the area of climate protection and energy management.
The participants discussed, among others, the following topics:
- influence of European and national legislation on the energy situation of Polish cities and municipalities;
- most important economic and social aspects related to the energy planning and energy management on the local level (including the associated opportunities and threats);
- current state of energy planning and energy management in Polish cities and municipalities;
- EE and RES development potential in the municipal sector;
- municipalities' most important challenges and needs regarding energy planning and management.
Representatives of participating municipalities also shared the information about their previous and planned sustainable energy initiatives.
The meeting and accompanying debates proved that Polish local self-governments have will to act and undertake many efforts to reduce energy consumption, improve air quality and diversify energy sources used. On their way towards sustainable development, however, they meet many challenges, including legal, economic and social ones. One of the ways to overcome these challenges is ensuring efficient dialogue and exchange of experience with other municipalities, both from Norway and from Poland, that already developed some useful solutions and good practices.
Establishing a regular dialogue will also help to prepare a catalogue of the needs of Polish self-government, which will be widely disseminated among national authorities, NGOs, funding institutions and other potential partners.