Seixal - Raising public awareness of reduced energy consumption
Assessment of the territories’ climate action
Association Climate Chance (Climate Chance)
Since 2015, the Climate Chance Association has been involved in the mobilization in the fight against climate change. It is the only international association that proposes to bring together on an equal footing all the non-State actors recognized by the UN. In order to strengthen their action and to give credibility to the climate stabilization scenarios, the Climate Chance Association launched in 2018 a Global Observatory of Non-State Climate Action, which aims to explain the evolution of greenhouse gas emissions, by crossing national public policies, with sectoral dynamics, private actors’ strategies, local public policies, and actions undertaken by the actors of the territory. In order to analyse the coherence of local public policies, Climat Chance proposes an assessment of « territorial mobilisations » through selected examples of cities and regions. Here, the city of Seixal in Portugal.
The Portuguese municipality of Seixal, south of Lisbon, joined the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy in 2011, one year after adopting its Renewable Energy Action Plan (REAP). The latter is the result of a collaboration between the Seixal Municipal Energy Agency (AMESEIXAL), the environmental division of the city council, with the participation of different stakeholders. It proposes three main categories - Infrastructure, Transport, Citizen Awareness - to achieve a 20% reduction in GHG emissions by 2020 compared to 2007 (441 kt CO2eq), as set by the Covenant of Mayors. By 2013 the municipality of Seixal, having reduced its emissions by almost 50%, has exceeded its 2020 targets. The decrease in emissions between 2007 and 2015 comes mainly from tertiary and residential housing (-63%) and transport (-27%). Most of these emissions come from electricity ; improving its production and consumption is Seixal’s main lever of action.
THE ESSENTIAL DEVELOPMENT OF RENEWABLE ENERGIES IN SEIXAL’S ENERGY MIX
The application of Seixal’s climate policy since 2007 has mainly enabled a rebalancing of the city’s energy mix in favour of renewable energies. In 2013, 36% of the city’s final energy consumption consisted of electricity, of which 58.3% came from renewable sources (Seixal Board of Directors 2017). Since 2007, five large renewable energy production plants have been established in the territory. With an annual production of 44 GWh, they supply electricity to 25% of the population of Seixal, whose average consumption is 1,080 kWh/year/inhabitant. As the region enjoys a high level of sunshine, with 3,000 hours of sunshine per year, three photovoltaic parks with 9,600 solar panels have been installed. A waste-to-energy plant, which has been undergoing tests since 2014, was also recently started up and should increase biogas production (Seixal 2017 Environmental Charter).
LOWERING THE FOOTPRINT THROUGH CITIZEN AWARENESS
Among the 41 measures provided for in the ESAP, about ten take the form of awareness-raising actions on energy sobriety (CM Seixal). Since 2012, and until 2020, the municipality has been organizing several awareness campaigns aimed at the city’s residents and businesses, which in 2007 accounted for 43.5% of total GHG emissions. To raise awareness among its retailers, the city offers them a free analysis of the annual evolution of their consumption and ways to reduce it. A similar programme, Project EcoFamily, is also set up with around 15 volunteer families per year. In addition, the annual Renewable Energy Exhibition is organized every year, which allows residents to discover possible alternatives in terms of heating and electricity, such as the installation of photovoltaic panels or heat recovery systems. Between 2007 and 2015, GHG emissions from the tertiary sector and from homes were reduced by 52kT CO2 eq and 68kT CO2 eq respectively.