Covenant of Mayors
  Covenant Newsletter October 2011  
Sustainable energy planning: Friedrichshafen sets the example
{{{Interview with Lord Mayor Andreas Brand.}}} Lead partner of the EU-funded SURE project, Friedrichshafen assists cities from the ENPI countries in meeting their Covenant of Mayors commitments.

With a population of 59.000 inhabitants, Friedrichshafen is the second largest German city lying on the shores of Lake Constance. Holder of the European Energy Award ® , an instrument allowing cities to implement sustainable energy measures, the city is also the lead partner of a CUIDAD-funded project dubbed “SURE, Sustainable Urban Energy in the ENPI region – towards the Covenant of Mayors”. This capacity-building initiative seeks to put the expertise of experienced EU cities – namely Friedrichshafen and Murcia – at the service of local authorities from the ENPI countries, with the objective of helping them to develop Sustainable Energy Action Plans and organise public awareness activities.

It is along these lines that the city joined the Covenant of Mayors over a month ago and is already well on track to comply with its far-reaching objectives.

In September 2011, Friedrichshafen joined the ranks of Covenant of Mayors Signatories, at the occasion of a memorable signature ceremony which also saw the adhesion of Salé and Polotsk. What brought you to take the political decision to take part in this initiative?

From a very early stage we identified the need for energy efficiency and a transition to renewable energy sources and made this a key focus of our local actions. The city of Friedrichshafen and its public utility company have been using targeted energy-saving and climate protection measures in practice for 20 years now. Friedrichshafen is one of the first cities in Baden-Württemberg that can present a practical, specific energy and climate protection approach; it received the European Energy Award for the first time in 2008. Therefore, it was part of this approach to also commit to the "superordinate" targets of the European Energy and Climate Policy by joining the Covenant of Mayors.

At Lake Constance, we also notice the changes in climate warming due to heat waves and droughts, gales and thunderstorms causing considerable damage to agriculture - so we see how necessary it is to adapt to these changes and counteract further global warming by consistently pursuing strategies to avoid CO2 emissions.

In addition, we want to motivate other cities from neighbouring countries of the European Union to become part of the Covenant, especially upon considering that Polotsk (Belarus) and Salé (Morocco) are facing much greater challenges than we are. Advantages of the Covenant of Mayors are the close cooperation between the cities and the opportunity share experience, with the aim of finding citizen-friendly approaches.

In the framework of the CIUDAD-funded “SURE” project, Friedrichshafen assists other cities in developing sustainable energy policies. What do you think are the benefits of placing climate and energy considerations at the top of the urban planning agenda?

Today’s urban planning sets the course for the energy consumption in the next decades. The municipal area development scheme in Germany allows us to make specifications for energy supply in new construction areas and industrial parks as well as for the mobility of the future. Energy efficiency, avoiding CO2 emissions, and using renewable energies as main energy sources are our central principles.

Promoting renewable energies makes sense - both ecologically and economically. The cities become more independent from fossil fuels and less dependent on expensive energy imports. At the same time, we are creating the basis for increased energy efficiency in existing buildings, business, and traffic. The money saved this way can be invested in the region. In addition, the refurbishment of existing buildings and innovative solutions for new buildings will create jobs for trade and business in Friedrichshafen.

Moreover, we are making sure that we live up to the current demographic trends and create a city of short transport paths. With a state-of-the-art city bus system which is coordinated in a close network with rail, ship, and air traffic as well as a comprehensive cycling approach, we promote environmentally friendly mobility which avoids noise, emissions, and energy consumption.

Our citizens’ quality of life is improved by all these approaches.

What sources has Friedrichshafen identified to finance the development and implementation of its Sustainable Energy Action Plan?

First of all, this is done by investments which have been planned in the city’s budget to maintain or refurbish existing buildings and/or to develop new construction areas and the respectively required infrastructure. Our public utility company is also investing considerable sums in the modernization of the public power supply, local heat, renewable energies, and public transport. The federal state of Baden-Württemberg subsidizes municipalities with energy and climate protection programs, as does our Federal Government within the scope of the economy stimulation scheme.

Apart from that, we would also like to have support from the EU with specific financing mechanisms so that we can put the defined energy action plans into practice; actually, we think they are absolutely necessary in view of the future tasks to be fulfilled by the cities and municipalities - also as a consequence of EU legislation.

    >> Covenant Monthly Newsletter October 2011 <<
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  The sole responsibility for the content of this newsletter lies with the Covenant of Mayors Office. It does not necessary reflect the opinion of the European Union. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein. The Covenant of Mayors was set up with financial support of the European Commission and consists of five associations of European local authorities: Energy Cities, Climate Alliance, Eurocities, CEMR, Fedarene, and ICLEI Europe.

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