At the end of November 2018, the European Commission adopted its 2050 vision for a climate-neutral Europe. In its bold long-term strategy, the EU executive body stressed the importance of local actions in reaching the ambitious goals set by the Paris Agreement.
Are European cities ready to take on this challenge? We interviewed representatives of Covenant signatory cities that have already developed their own long-term roadmaps. This week, the City of Frederikshavn tells us more about their 100% renewable energy goal.
Could you tell us about your city’s 2030 vision? How does being part of the Covenant of Mayors help you fulfil your ambitions?
In December 2014, Frederikshavn City Council unanimously adopted the municipality’s strategic plan for 100% renewable energy in 2030. This plan is a roadmap for implementing the municipality’s sustainable energy policy in its area and aims towards 100% renewable energy supply and optimum energy consumption by the end of 2030. Annual evaluation and reporting are planned, so that the City Council can keep track of the progress made.
Apart from the 100% renewable energy vision, the plan will help creating sustainable development, growth and new employment opportunities. With the municipality border as area of action, the organisation Energy City of Frederikshavn (set up by and reporting to the City Council) will make sure citizens, companies and educational institutions can work together to fulfil the plan. The involvement of all stakeholders in the community creates co-ownership of the strategic plan. All individuals in the municipality are committed to its sustainable vision and objectives.
The strategic plan follows the municipal action plan submitted as part of the EU Covenant of Mayors in December 2012. The Covenant action plan is also included in the strategy. We can say that being part of the EU Covenant of Mayors was a first step in developing our 2030 strategy.
Going 100% renewable is a bold objective. Which sectors are you focusing on at the moment to reach your targets? What challenges does it involve and how are you tackling them?
We identified several “areas of efforts”, mainly focusing on renewable energy production and use but also on the reduction of energy consumption in private housing and municipal buildings. Another priority is transport, we are working to improve our infrastructure to foster sustainable behaviours and make it greener.
We are aware we will need to deal with many challenges, for example the fact that our strategy relies mostly on wind energy for energy supply makes us more vulnerable. This is due to the fact that other energy resources such as biomass and solar energy are limited both in the municipality and in the country. But we are working on ensuring balance and interaction between different renewable sources and also on having the necessary energy storage technologies in place.
© image Tomasz Sienicki.