After such a long lockdown filled with numerous restrictions and online work – the first event could finally be organised, where the representatives of local governments from all over Poland had a chance to meet in person.

On 30th June – 1st July 2020 in Serock near Warsaw, a seminar entitled ‘Energetic transformation of cities and municipalities – mitigation and adaptation to climate change’ took place. During the seminar, issues related to low-emission transformation in cities in the context of the EU’s goal of climate neutrality and issues concerning the financing of the local activities for climate change mitigation and adaptation were discussed. Participants had a chance not only to listen to the presentations and to participate in a discussion panel, but also to take advantage of consultations and exchange of experiences in small groups during an interactive session of good  practices.

During the opening of the seminar on 30th June 2020, the participants were welcomed by Artur Borkowski, the mayor of Town and  Municipality of Serock, – Leszek Drogosz, the president of the Board of The Association of Municipalities Polish Network ‘Energie Cités’ and director of the Infrastructure Office in the City Hall of Warsaw –, and Anna Jaskuła, the director of the Association of Municipalities Polish Network ‘Energie Cités’ office.

An introduction of the session entitled ‘Cities and municipalities as leaders of the activities  towards climate protection’ was the presentation held by Kristina Dely, the representative of the European network of cities, Energy Cities, who took up the matter of the energetic transformation of the cities and their development towards climate neutrality due to the need of economic recovery and the necessary changes in existing activities in the field of production and energy consumption. Afterwards Patrycja Płonka, who represented our Association, presented the concept of the European Green Deal, which is going to become a central element of the recovery strategy after the COVID-19 crisis, and also its impact on the activities at the local level. After that, Piotr Czarnocki, the representative of the Ministry of Climate, talked about supporting the low-emission transformation in cities and the financing programme ‘City with climate’.

After this introduction, time has come for the panel discussion about energetic transformation of the cities in the perspective of climate neutrality in which Piotr Czarnocki, the representative of the Ministry of Climate, Marcin Jamiołkowski, the representative of the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management, Adam Ruśniak, the deputy mayor of Bielsko-Biała, Przemysław Major, the mayor of Cieszyn, Romuald Meyer, the representative of Pomeranian Consulting Group (Polish: Pomorska Grupa Konsultingowa S.A.) and Wojciech Szymalski, the delegate of the Institute for Sustainable Development, participated. The discussion was moderated by Leszek Drogosz, the director of the Infrastructure Office in the City Hall of Warsaw and the president of the Board of our Association.

During the discussion panel, participants had the opportunity to collaboratively consider current problems that municipalities and cities are facing nowadays, such as energetic transformation in Poland and its implementation during the COVID-19 crisis, benefits and challenges encountered by local governments during the pandemic – which actions have proved themselves and should be continued, and which have failed, ways of consolidation of positive occurrences, which  appeared during the pandemic, ideas for effective shaping of narrative and policy concerning energetic transformation and climate neutrality in Poland or Central and Eastern Europe.

In the next part of the meeting, Anna Jaskuła – the director of our Association’s office, talked about how the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy supports the local governments in the process of low-emission transformation, and then Szymon Firląg from the Warsaw University and Technology presented the solutions in accordance with the EU Directive from 19th May 2010, assuming that till 2020 all new buildings must have nearly zero energy consumption factor. Marcin Ścigan from Energy Forum, however, shared his knowledge about the estimated local potential of renewable energy sources, having regard to the particular potential of roofs.

The participants, prepared with the previous performances, could finally move on to good practices session moderated by Iwona Korohoda, the representative of our Association. During the session, the gathered guests were divided into four tables led by experts in the fields concerned. The range of  issues mentioned during the session was very wide: from the energy balance in Pałecznica municipality which affects the reduction of fixed costs and CO2 emission, the calculator of renewable energy sources value that was created under the RURES project (it is an online tool presenting advantages and legitimacy of using various forms of renewable energy sources), the HotMaps online tool used for analyzing the potential and planning the development of heating and cooling networks in a given area, the system for modelling and optimizing  heating resources in Warszawa Thermos, or the green roof development strategy created in 8 Polish cities as part of the GRAD project (including discussion of other activities in retention area and nature-based solutions). People participating in a table session had a unique opportunity to consult and exchange their experiences with the speakers and other participants.

At the end of the first day of the seminar, the representatives of municipalities and cities belonging to our Association and others that were interested, received the invitation to participate in the General Meeting of Association Members.

The second day of the seminar started with the speech made by Marcin Jamiłkowski, the delegate of the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management, who presented new programmes supporting the development of renewable energy sources use and adaptation available for local governments and informed about the extension of existing projects due to the present pandemic. Patrycja Płonka, the representative of our Association, introduced the operation and method of application for European City Facility (ECF), the latest support instrument for cities. –Then Robert Kałuża, the Counsellor of the Minister of the PPP Department of the Ministry of Funds and Regional Policy, presented the way of financing the buildings modernization projects and also public lighting with the use of alternative way of financing – with the help of public-private partnership. Afterwards Tomasz Korczyński, lawyer, Managing Counsel, co-head of the PPP practice from Dentons office, in reference to the previous presentation, presented the practical aspects of implementing PPP projects in the energy efficiency sector. Next, Tomasz Mania from the University of Technology and Life Sciences in Bydgoszcz talked about energy and costs of exploitation as a fundamental problem of Polish cities and municipalities, and Marcin Korolec from the Foundation for the Promotion of Electric Vehicles discussed the perspectives of electro mobility development in Poland. Romuald Meyer from the Pomeranian Consulting Group discussed the traffic management system and solutions that proved themselves in this matter in Bydgoszcz. Rafał Bajczuk from the Foundation for the Promotion of Electric Vehicles moved smoothly to the next topic, which was  clean transport areas in the cities on the example of the German and London model, also describing the model that is being developed in Poland. Later, Maciej Mycielski from Mycielski Architecture & Urbanism (MAU) presented local examples related to mobility and sustainable urban planning. At the end, Piotr Sołtysek representing the City Hall in Bielsko-Biała presented the matter of bicycles in public space using the example of his own city, discussing not only the way in which Bielsko-Biała designed the bicycle rental system, but also the conclusions and results of the first edition of the project, which was currently extended.