Lower Silesian participation in the international conference „Energy Autonomy for the House, District, Community and Region”

On 2 September 2011 the Lower Silesian EnercitEE regional management participated in an international conference „Energy Autonomy for the House, District, Community and Region” held in Wrocław, which was organized by the Free Entrepreneurship Association (Stowarzyszenie Wolna Przedsiębiorczość), a very active regional agent in the energy sector. Honorary patronage was held by prof. Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament, and Rafal Jurkowlaniec, Marshal of Lower Silesia Voivodeship.

Impression from the conference

Impression from the conference

The conference was aimed at presenting a selection of good practices from Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Austria, Germany and Japan as well as Poland in the area of building energy security and self-sufficiency at local and regional level. Speakers included inter alia Peter Vadasz, the mayor of Güssing, Austria (a completely self-sufficient energy municipality reselling the surplus energy produced), Werner Frohwitter of Feldheim, Germany (another self-sufficient municipality), Noriaki Yamashita of Expert Institute for a Sustainable Energy Policy in Tokyo (stressed the Japanese population’s discouragement with energy produced by nuclear power plants) and Gunnar Haglund, a Swedish embassy advisor (who discussed opportunities for Polish and Swedish local authorities).

Impression from the conference

During the conference building self-sufficiency was understood as an integrated effort to balance out the local energy requirements with energy produced locally. This local perspective involves a level of a single house, housing area, village, municipality or region. The cases presented sustainable solutions based both on designing local renewable energies mix and systematic activities that radically increase energy efficiency or decrease energy requirements.

Apart from the presentation of practical, international solutions serving the increase of energy self-sufficiency of communities and regions, a new model of cooperation was shown during the conference. This model has been recently adopted by 20 Lower Silesian communities, as a result of their involvement in a project financed from Norwegian grants. The new form of energy cooperation between the communities was called Autonomous Energy Region (AER). The AER is an idea of a different strategy for the regional energy development. A practical dimension of this strategy is the development of multiple joint projects contributing in the long run to achieving energy independence at the level of individual buildings, groups of buildings, housing areas, communities, districts and entire regions. It also means taking up actions that often go beyond the range of the individual community. The AER is thus a long-term concept of saving energy and making profit out of it based on collaborative efforts taken by homes owners, businesses, communities, municipalities, districts and last but not least regions as well. As a natural consequence, the AER requires coordination of activities and their organization and a flexible structure across communities and municipalities. As such, the AER is then not only a strategy leading to the energy self-sufficiency of communities and regions but also an organizational structure and relevant entity to support local governments in gradually taking up activities in the management of their decentralized energy economy.

The conference was concluded with a question & answer panel and the screening of “The Fourth Revolution”, a documentary presenting the vision of the global society, which lives in a world where the energy is produced 100% with renewable energies.

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