Between April 17 and April 23, 2016 a group of 20 local government leaders from Ukrainian towns and municipalities visited Slovakia. The overall goal of their visit was to gain an overview of EU legislation and programs, national legislation and Slovak policies to improve energy efficiency at the municipal level, including best practices and lessons learned from projects successfully implemented at the municipal level in Slovakia.
The working program was launched on April 18, 2016 in the town of Prešov with an official welcome address by the mayor, Andrea Turčanová. This was followed by a discussion devoted largely to energy efficiency measures in Prešov.
The expert session began with a presentation by Alexander Tokarčík from the Prešov Region Energy Cluster on how the cluster functions, the advantages and disadvantages of clusters and how it might be possible to establish clusters in Ukraine. Karel Hirman, head of the ELENA implementation unit in Prešov Self-Governing Region presented the project results and discussed various aspects of urban energy efficiency with Ukrainian representatives.
After the presentation the group continued on to the town of Veľký Šariš, where they were welcomed by the mayor, František Bartko. Following a discussion there was a presentation on a project to completely replace the town’s public lighting system (attended by OSVO comp, a.s., the company which implemented the project).
On the second day, the Ukrainian delegates were taken on a field trip to the towns of Nová Dubnica, Dubnica nad Váhom and Trenčín. Termonova, a.s., Datatherm, s.r.o. and Biopalivo, a.s. gave presentations on biomass projects, followed by visits to the Biomass Power Plant, the Biomass Heating Plant and the company that produces and supplies wood chips for energy use.
The subject of the third day of the program was the insulation of buildings in Bratislava. The first item on the agenda was a series of presentations at the Building Testing and Research Institute on the theoretical aspects of insulation, followed by a visit to the construction site in Bratislava-Petržalka and to a pilot project to fully renovate an apartment building in the Bratislava district of Devínska Nová Ves.
On the fourth day the theoretical part of the program was concluded at the Slovak Innovation and Energy Agency. Presentations were given by experts from various departments, and the Ukrainian group gained knowledge on SIEA, competencies, projects (public lighting, modernization of buildings and heat distribution). In the afternoon, Ukrainian local government leaders met Slovak company representatives who had attended the event in the Ukrainian city of Lviv and presented their solutions. In the evening, we organized a meeting with representatives of the Association of Slovak Towns (Milan Galanda and Natalia Shovkoplias) and Bratislava City Energy Manager Miroslav Muška.
On Friday the Ukrainians visited the town of Komárno where Heloro and ComTherm presented their municipal energy sector solutions (a gas powered heating plant).
Over the week, the Ukrainian delegates gained both theoretical and practical knowledge of the municipal legislation/measures and solutions Slovakia has adopted in relation to energy efficiency. They discussed programs implemented by the European Association of Energy Cities, the Covenant of Mayors initiative, action plans for sustainable energy in towns and municipalities, innovative financing schemes implemented in Slovak cities and regions, the latest approaches to improving the energy efficiency of buildings (passive heating, passive lighting, passive cooling, etc.) and regional and municipal energy management systems.