Last winter, in the face of the mounting energy crisis and in response to the European Commission’s call to action, the city of Riga committed to reducing energy consumption by 15%, in line with its Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan. The Latvian capital has also set an ambitious target of slashing its emissions by 70% (compared to 1990 levels) and becoming climate neutral in municipal infrastructure by 2030, as part of the EU Mission for Climate-Neutral Cities by 2030.
With the energy crisis and urgent need to save energy, Riga Energy Agency quickly realised that reducing energy consumption would also translate to significant cost reductions, opening a window to reinvest savings into building a more sustainable and climate-neutral future.
From emergency energy savings to long-term sustainable action
One of the main areas of action for saving energy in the city last winter was public lighting. By switching to LED lights, dimming public lighting and removing regulations mandating the illumination of façades, the city reduced lighting-related energy consumption by 16% in the winter of 2022. In addition to implementing energy efficiency measures, the city also focused on saving energy by limiting temperatures and reducing heating hours in public buildings, as well as regulating temperatures in residential buildings connected to the city-owned district heating network. Through these measures, the city saved 15 to 18% of the energy it consumes for heating. The city estimated that the energy saved by implementing these measures translated to cost reductions of approximately 4 million euros for the previous year.
Towards climate neutrality
Riga’s SECAP, developed in 2022, has become the guiding light for its journey to climate neutrality by 2030. Its objectives include the CCC (Climate City Contract) that Riga is currently developing within the framework of the EU’s Cities Mission. Using the re-allocated budget effectively will enable Riga to roll out the important projects laid out in these two key plans. Alongside the city’s resourceful approach, this programme plays an important role in uniting the municipality around a common climate neutrality target. Benefitting from widespread political support from the City Council, the programme has become a top priority. This has brought all hands on deck, fostering collaboration across the city’s departments on the various SECAP actions, which is essential for effective implementation.
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- Publication date
- 29 January 2024