Porto leads the European project to fight energy poverty

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Filipa Brito

AdEPorto, aka Porto Energy Agency, will lead a European project, financed under the Horizonte2020 programme, whose goal is to fight energy poverty. The initiative is called ‘Porto Energy ElevatoR’ (PEER) and it is aligned not only with the best European and national policies, but also with the goals and requirements set forth in the National plan for Energy and Climate 2030, the Roadmap for Carbon Neutrality 2050 or the Long Term Strategy for Building Renewal, which has been recently approved.

In a first phase, the PEER will focus on the building material of the municipalities within the AMP-ND, and will take action on the circa 3.000 dwellings that integrate their housing stock, thus promoting around 12 MW energy systems to harness energy, as stated in the press release. This will also be the time to test, for the first time in the region and in the country, funding schemes and innovative business models in the Housing sector, to ascertain fund availability and investment regarding building intervention.

“This project will enable AdEPorto to actively engage in the fight against energy poverty and also mitigate climate change”, as stated by the vice-Mayor of Porto City Hall and the also President of the AdEPorto, Filipe Araújo.

Project partners to the AdEPorto in this initiative are RdA Climate Solutions, S317 Consulting and TELLES Advogados. Together, they will develop technical, financial and legal tools to support the implementation of energy efficiency projects and the harness of renewable energies, in the Housing sector, individual dwellings, municipalities and overarching housing stock.

As the programme is ongoing, the goal is to disseminate and replicate the results in the nearby municipalities, within Porto Metropolitan Area, and at national level, provide the developed tools.

The project features the Porto Energy Hub, which is a physical site that provides an online portal to enable a fast track to the developed tools.

The low energy efficiency of the building stock is one of the main causes to energy poverty in Portugal, making it the fourth country in the European Union to be the most affected according to the European Energy Poverty Index of January 2019. Amid the ongoing pandemic, it is expected that the number of vulnerable households increases.

Porto is committed to mitigate climate change

Porto will subscribed to the Covenant of Mayors Pledge to Climate and Energy, launched by the European Union. On the city's own initiative, Porto raises the CO2 reduction target to 50 percent till 2030, for a more decarbonized city where citizens are granted access to a safe, sustainable and renewable energy.

In December 2016, the Municipality of Porto has concluded its Municipal Strategy of Climate Change adaptation (EMAAC), based on the National Plan for Climate Change (PNAC) and in the National Strategy for Climate Change adaptation (ENAAC). The array of strategic options encompasses concrete action, namely the renewal of the fossil fuel municipal fleet to electric cars.

Also, the municipality has implemented Nature Based Solutions all across the city, as the Urban Native Woodlands Programme, aka FUN Porto, or the Urban Vegetable Gardens in Porto, thus increasing the city's resilience to climate change and providing citizens with positive ecological benefits. In addition, public lighting is also in the municipality's agenda regarding energy efficiency, as the operation "Porto.Luz + Eficiente" has enabled the replacing of traditional street lamps (2.483 in several streets in Porto) with lamps using LED technology.