Urban-LEDS logos banner
17.02.2016

Warsaw’s leading sustainable energy policies are an inspiration for LED


The Polish capital of Warsaw, an Urban-LEDS European project city, became an official member of ICLEI in December 2015, signaling its ongoing commitment to developing a more sustainable future. The city is widely recognized for moving away from coal-based energy to a diverse mix of sustainable energy sources. Warsaw’s development on the renewable energy path will also accelerate with the adoption on 10 December 2015 of the “Low Carbon Economy Action Plan for Warsaw”. This new document aims to help implement Warsaw’s climate and energy package as defined in the Warsaw Sustainable Energy Action Plan, submitted under the Covenant of Mayors.

This package includes CO2 emission reductions of 20 percent by 2020, increasing the share of renewable energy sources to 20 percent by 2020 and improving energy efficiency in the city. The “Low Carbon Economy Action Plan for Warsaw” also addresses air quality improvements. The Action Plan identifies investments and actions needed to achieve these objectives. These investments will exceed €2 billion and will go towards developing a low-emission transportation system, modern energy infrastructure (including district heating and renewable energy), thermal retrofitting of public and private buildings and awareness-raising. 

Last year, Warsaw joined the UNEP-led District Energy in Cities initiative and SE4ALL Building Efficiency Accelerator, with ICLEI a founding partner of both these initiatives – our role is to support local governments in scaling up their local climate and energy action.

The city’s extensive district energy system (DES) provides heating for 70 percent of its 1.7 million inhabitants (and 78 percent of the city’s heating demand). Its streetlights  are powered by energy generated from treated sewage. More examples and the city’s integrated energy planning for buildings and DES, can be found in an Urban-LEDS article. Recent developments also include a newly adopted action plan and the launch of a biomass digester at the Siekierki combined heat and power generation (CHP) plant. Siekierki, operated by PGNiG Termika (a Polish energy producer), is Europe’s second largest and Poland’s largest cogeneration plant. This new biomass digester represented an investment of €28 million, provided as a grant from the Norwegian Financial Mechanism. It will combust 300,000 tons of biomass per year and reduce annual CO2 emission reductions by 227,000 tons.

All of these modern sustainable energy solutions make Warsaw a leading city for energy policy. This is why it was selected to be a European Urban-LEDS project city – to share experiences.  Recently the local government welcomed a delegation of city officials from Bogor and Balikpapan (Indonesia) as part of the Urban-LEDS staff exchange. During their visit, the Indonesian delegates learnt about Warsaw’s low-carbon public transport system. For more information, read our article on the staff exchange.

Photo credits © Maciej Margas