Guilherme Costa Oliveira
A year after its launch, the “Porto Climate Pact” initiative, which aims to spark action among citizens and organizations, already has more than 600 subscribers, mobilized for the mission of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.
In the past year and, leading by example, many projects and actions have been implemented in the Municipality of Porto in the most diverse areas – energy, water resources, waste, urban refurbishment, mobility – all towards the objective of decarbonization of the city.
More decentralized and clean energy
In the field of energy, it is worth highlighting the transition of all public lighting in the city to LED technology, which is much more efficient. At the moment, Porto already has more than 10 thousand Led lamps to reduce the energy consumption on public roads. Electric mobility is another focus, with electric vehicles in the municipal universe comprising 75% of the entire fleet. It should also be remembered that, since 2021, all electrical energy consumed by the Municipality has been proven to be produced from renewable sources.
At the same time, investment in the implementation of solar energy in Municipal buildings continues. There already are many public schools with solar panels installed, such as Escola Básica de Agra in Amial, an area where a community with energy sharing will be created, together with the residential buildings. The number of panels continues to increase daily, and the ambition is to use the roofs of more than 50 municipal boroughs to produce 6 MW of renewable energy, directly serving almost 30 thousand people.
Several municipal installations already follow this principle, as is the case with the Nova Sintra photovoltaic park, a unit that already assures the self-sustainability of Campus da Águas e Energia do Porto. This year, at ETAR do Freixo, 242 new panels were placed, with an installed power of 133 kWp, and an estimated annual production of 178 MWh, allowing a reduction in energy consumption by approximately 4%. A new photovoltaic production unit with 70 modules was also installed on the roof of Pavilhão da Água. A production of 48 MWh is expected, which will annually reduce its carbon footprint by 8.8 tons of CO2.
Finally, we highlight the Porto Energy Hub, installed in Gabinete do Munícipe do Porto, which aims to provide families and companies with necessary information to reduce costs, through energy efficiency measures and decentralized production of renewable energy. In a year, around 180 thousand euros of private investment have already been leveraged and close to a hundred technical monitoring actions have been carried out. In this particular area, the Municipality of Porto has created an incentive plan for the installation of photovoltaic panels in private buildings, which will cost around eight million euros by 2030, and will be reflected through a reduction in the value of IMI to be paid.
Circularity and decarbonization
In the field of circularity, the pioneering organic waste collection project, which is based on the recovery of compound returned to the soil to enrich it, already involves the participation of more than 34 thousand families, resulting in the collection of over 2500 tons of this waste, with the entire city coverage by the end of this year in mind.
For the first time, in partnership with Federação Académica do Porto, the Porto Climate Pact for Queima das Fitas was signed, which made it possible to reach an historic milestone, because of the partnership with Porto Ambiente, when 68% of the waste generated at that event was sent to recycling.
Since the beginning of September, the city has been entirely cleaned with water for reuse (ApR), produced at ETAR do Freixo. The cleaning of public spaces, particularly the washing of streets and disposal equipment, is carried out by promoting the reuse of water resources, decreasing the environmental, social, and economic impact of its operation in the city. The decarbonization of the fleet of equipment and vehicles for urban cleaning and waste collection in the city, is also ongoing, through an investment of around 10 million euros.
As part of the Asprela + Sustentável project, the ReBOOT was launched, an initiative to recover, repair and share computers with entities with social projects, showing the commitment to a city based on a circular, fair, and responsible economy. Also noteworthy is a the reference to the city’s sports infrastructures, the Piscina Municipal Eng.o Armando Pimentel that underwent structural works that improved the conditions of energy use, air conditioning and ventilation, improving the air quality indoors and the energy and thermic efficiency of the building.
The requalification and expansion of Escola Básica do Falcão, is also worth highlighting, in this past year, with the requalification integrating the implementation of green roofs, the creation of a space for collecting rainwater, to be used in the community garden located next to the school, and also a support structure for a green wall that works as a shadow system for the classrooms.
A greener, more connected, and soft modes friendly city
In the area of mobility, it must be mentioned the Terminal Intermodal de Campanhã which allowed the city’s connectivity to increase, surpassing the milestone of five million passengers in the first year of activity. There was also created the Rede 20, which promotes the sharing of public space and limits the maximum speed to 20 kilometres per hour, and the new terminals in Asprela and Batalha essential for reducing the number of buses entering the city centre.
As part of the decarbonization of mobility, the renewal of the Sociedade de Transportes Coletivos do Porto (STCP) fleet continues, which will include more 48 buses 100% emissions free . These buses will arrive in the city in the next months.
The beginning of the metroBus construction works, by Metro do Porto, also stands out in environmental terms, as, with a total investment of 66 million euros, it will contribute to the city’s decarbonization and encourage the use of public transports given the reliability, fastness, and comfort that this project will offer its users.
As for green spaces, works begun on Parque da Alameda de Cartes which will allow the creation, in 2024, of a green space that will have an area of around 40 thousand square meters and will promote the connection to strategic points of the territory, namely the boroughs of Falcão, Cerco, Lagarteiro, as well as Horta da Oliveira, Campo Municipal de Campanhã, Piscina Municipal de Cartes and Parque Oriental.
Also essential for decarbonization was the planting of more than a thousand native trees and bushes in new interventions in the Biospots network, at the junctions of Regado and Francos, and the launch of the Plano de Arborização da Cidade do Porto [Porto City Afforestation Plan], which establishes the foundations of the strategy for sustainable public afforestation.
Involvement of the Population and Partners
The involvement of the population and its commitment to these topics is notorious, especially considering that, throughout almost three months, the topic of carbon neutrality was in focus, in a Ciclo de Conversas which debated the themes of climate change and the challenge of decarbonization of the city and which brought together more than 500 participants and 40 speakers.
The commitment assumed has been clear in several areas of activity in the city, as in sport, culture, and academia. As an example, there are a couple of projects announced by subscribers to this Porto Climate Pact during the last year.
Futebol Clube do Porto announced its project to create two renewable energy communities, one of which is at Estádio do Dragão, that will include the provision of charging solutions for electric vehicles. Still in the energy field, the Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto received a 5 million euros funding from the Recovery and Resilience Plan which will allow to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 44,33%. Fundação de Serralves presented its strategy for Carbon Neutrality. Among the various presented measures, we stand out the increase of energy efficiency, decrease in corporate travels and reusage and reduction of materials needed for artistic exhibitions, working towards a reduction in emissions of around 30% in five years.
The desire expressed by the community to make a commitment to fight climate changes is clear and is reflected in the increasing number of subscribers to the Porto Climate Pact. A year after its launch, there are already around 400 individual subscribers and more than 200 institutional ones. Everyone is invited to subscribe this initiative, individually or institutionally, following the steps indicated on the Porto Climate Pact website.