As the only city from the Czech Republic, Kladno succeeded in applying for a one-year grant from the European City Facility (EUCF), which will mean a contribution of 60,000 euros. The largest city in Central Bohemia will use it to prepare investment projects for the so-called smart, nature-friendly energy, which has become one of its priorities in the last two years. The grant agreement will be signed by the city in the next few days.
The EUCF is already the second project from the European Commission's major research and innovation support programme HORIZON 2020, the support of which Kladno has managed to gain on its way to sustainable energy. The city also became part of the five-year prestigious international SPARCS project in 2019, bringing together 31 partner organizations from seven European cities. Like SPARCS, the EUCF focuses on the future economically sustainable development of European cities, which will be both nature and human friendly. In addition to Kladno, 25 European cities from, for example, Poland, Croatia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Lithuania or Slovenia received a new grant.
„The EUCF is designed to provide technical support for the preparation of investment projects. The funding from the grant will serve us to acquire studies, analyses and other supporting materials for the development of efficient energy and water management. Thanks to them, we can work together to prepare concrete investments with experts in relevant fields without imposing a burden on the city budget. Of course, it is important to repair roads and pavements, invest in schools, etc., and while it may seem that the development of sustainable energy and climate protection are some way off, it is now clear that they are already unavoidable issues at the municipal and urban level,“ stated the Development Councillor of Kladno and added: „In the EUCF, even with regard to the objectives of the SPARCS project, there will be an investment plan, a kind of simplified feasibility study for selected investment projects. These will follow up, for example, energy savings, the use of renewable energy, heating or suitable adaptation measures to climate change. From this overview, the city will then be able to gradually select the investments it will make in the coming years.“
An essential condition for receiving a EUCF grant was the existence of an energy strategy, which Kladno fulfilled by the Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP). The city completed it in May this year also through participation in the SPARCS project.
„In SECAP, among other measures, we commit ourselves to reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 2019 and to increase the city's resilience to the effects of climate change. This also corresponds with the SPARCS objectives, so we will actually be able to raise funds for the preparation of investment projects, which correspond not only with the city's overall energy vision, but also with commitments under the international project,“ said David Škorňa, the city SPARCS a EUCF coordinator.
For example, Kladno will need a detailed study for the intended installation of photovoltaic systems on the city buildings. „Electricity generation would be a very interesting economic opportunity for the city in the future, not only to cover consumption in urban buildings but also for the possibility of selling to the distribution network. Due to increasing electricity prices, other cities in the Czech Republic are considering these interesting strategies. Of course, this requires a number of analyses and reflections,“ remark Ondřej Rys.