Author: Baiba Norberte, Vidzeme Planning Region

In the framework of the EU Sustainable Energy Week on 17 and 18 June Vidzeme Planning Region organised the experience exchange trip: “Energy management solutions in neighboring municipalities – Daugavpils city in Latvia and Visaginas municipality in Lithuania”. Vidzeme Planning Region invited public building managers, energy managers and other specialists on energy and heat supply issues to take part in the study visit.

The city of Daugavpils takes part in the EU Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy. Daugavpils has developed a Sustainable Energy Action Plan and Energy Management System according to the energy management standard ISO 50001. In addition, the city actively informs and involves its citizens: “Creating and implementing an energy management system is a message to the citizens that the municipality is concerned about their well-being and the environment. This is a positive example and also calls for others to make efficient use of energy as an integral part of everyday life,” says the municipality of Daugavpils.

Participants of the experience exchange trip visited several renovated public buildings, including Daugavpils fifth pre-school educational institution, where the building’s energy consumption was significantly reduced after renovation work. Heat supply in Daugavpils city is provided by the district heating company “Daugavpils siltumtīkli”. Although gas boilers are the main heat source in the city, the city currently works on the new project – 30 megawatts fully automated woodchip boiler house. In addition, the old four-pipe heating systems are being replaced in the city by two-pipe, pre-insulated tubular pipes to reduce heat losses.

The Visaginas municipality in Lithuania was the next stop of the trip. The municipality is special in that it has an Ignalina nuclear power plant (NPP) on its territory. Although the NPP has been closed since 2009, it plays an important role in implementing energy management measures in the municipality.

The Visaginas municipality developed a Sustainable Energy Vision and Action Plan within the project “Partnership for New Energy Leadership 2050”, which was also implemented by the Vidzeme Planning Region. Victoria Voroncova (Housing Energy Efficiency Agency (BETA) and a LowTEMP project partner) explained more about the renovation project in the city of Ignalina. Energy efficiency measures are carried out within the entire quarter, including building renovation, renovation of pipelines, heating units, radiators, as well as the reconstruction of the external networks of the quarter and even the improvement of the inner courtyards. The meeting with BETA was a great opportunity to facilitate a good cooperation between the LowTEMP project partners in the Baltic Sea Region countries.

The experience exchange trip was organised within the framework of the EU Sustainable Energy Week and the Interreg Baltic Sea Region projects LowTEMP, “Effective Financing Tools for implementing Energy Efficiency in Buildings” (EFFECT4buildings) implemented by Vidzeme Planning Region and  “Act Now: Action for Energy Efficiency in Baltic Cities” (Act Now) implemented by Gulbene municipality.

Photo credits: Vidzeme Planning Region June 2019