Voters' expectations towards new local governments: cheap energy and green changes

Voters' expectations towards new local governments: cheap energy and green changes

New local governments will have to accelerate planning and implementation of transformation in the energy and environmental protection sectors. In line with residents' expectations, it should include, among others: investments in local renewable energy sources or green transport.

Climate issues were very important in the election campaign. This was caused primarily by farmers' protests against the European Green Deal, but not only that. In Krakow and Warsaw, ecological non-governmental organizations organized their own debates of candidates for president or councilors, and other campaigns encouraging people to ask questions “about green” demands were also underway. – says Dr. Wojciech Szymalski, president of the Institute for Sustainable Development Foundation.

The need to implement EU climate goals and energy transformation will also affect local governments in Poland. The most difficult tasks related to this process include: electrifying transport, accelerating the pace of energy renovation of buildings, phasing out fossil fuels and increasing resilience to climate change. In addition to EU regulations, the pressure on local governments is additionally increased by the growing expectations of residents and market conditions.

I can say with full responsibility that climate issues are an important topic, although at the moment it is competing for attention with the military threat caused by Russia's behavior. And both matters are related. We had to give up cheap fossil fuels imported from Russia, which resulted in an increase in prices not only of energy, but of all products and undermined confidence in pro-climate activities, which aim to eliminate fossil fuels from use. This is an incorrect association, because thanks to renewable energy sources that replace fossil fuels, we have access to the cheapest energy on the European market. – emphasizes the president of the Institute for Sustainable Development Foundation.

The energy crisis that broke out after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine was and still is particularly severe for local government budgets. Today, purchasing imported energy raw materials to Poland costs twice as much as three years ago. Many local governments had to look for savings or cut investment expenditure in other areas.

Therefore, I think that the newly elected local government authorities will quickly start planning the energy transformation. Unfortunately, there have been no conditions for this so far – the energy crisis forced the implementation of ad hoc measures, and the behavior of the state authorities did not clearly show the direction in which the entire country should be heading and, what is more, it blocked many solutions that were available to local governments in the field of energy, e.g. investing in wind farms. Many local governments dreamed about energy transformation. After these elections, we will be able to start realizing these dreams – says Dr. Wojciech Szymalski.

In his opinion, now is the most favorable moment for such acceleration. This was due to many factors, including: financing development from European sources, renewing relations between local governments and the government after the parliamentary elections, social support and trust, and cooperation with business and organizations.

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