Interview with City of Lecce: Inspiring other Municipalities in the Salento Area

Lecce is a historic Italian city with 95,200 inhabitants and the main city in the Salento area. A Covenant of Mayors signatory since 2014 and active in a number of EU-funded projects, including PLANHEAT, Lecce is deeply committed to decarbonising its energy system. PLANHEAT partner Euroheat & Power/ DHC+ Technology Platform had the opportunity to speak with a representative of the city of Lecce, Patrizia Guida who is the Municipal Councilor for Education, Europe and International Cooperation: 

 

Ms. Guida, the City of Lecce has joined the Covenant of Mayors and has the goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 20% until 2020. What are Lecce’s greatest potentials and priorities in decarbonising?

Lecce joined the Covenant of Mayors and developed the Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) in 2014. According to the SEAP, our city aims at decreasing the CO2 emissions from 2007 to 2020 by 20% working on

  • Energy retrofitting of public buildings;
  • Use of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind;
  • Door-to-door separated waste collection for the waste recycle;
  • Realization of green spaces in the urban and sub-urban areas;
  • Launch and promotion of the bike sharing service;
  • Implementation of pedestrian and bicycling paths;
  • Promotion and use of electrical vehicles;
  • Development of ICT tools as support of the City’s energy plan;
  • Citizens’ engagement initiatives, such as promotion of living labs and integrated projects for the regeneration of urban areas across seaside;
  • Participation at National and European tenders on energy efficiency topics.

As for the potentials, surely we count on the use of renewable energy sources. Indeed, photovoltaic plants have been installed on almost all the public buildings’ roofs. Likewise, solar and biomass from agriculture, we have plenty available, can be used for heating and cooling supply. Also the potential of the seawater for heating and cooling is very relevant, however not yet exploited.

 

What are the reasons why Lecce has decided to be a PLANHEAT project partner and be a validation city? How does the PLANHEAT project support you in reaching your CO2 reduction target?

Being part of the PLANHEAT Consortium is a great opportunity for Lecce to be involved within a European network of public and private partners to share experiences, projects and initiatives related to urban energy efficiency and sustainability. Being a validation City of PLANHEAT project allows us developing a smart and innovative strategy for mapping data on heating and cooling demand and supply. Furthermore, the energy simulation of the City can be a useful baseline to develop and compare different scenarios for energy saving and CO2 emissions reduction.

 

Lecce is also part of the Smart City project SmartEnCity. What is it about and how can it complement the PLANHEAT project scope?

Lecce is partner and follower City of SmartEnCity (SEC) project. The SmartEnCity’s main objective is to develop and demonstrate a highly adaptable and replicable systemic approach towards urban transformation into sustainable, smart and resource-efficient urban environments in Europe, through the planning and implementation of measures aimed at improving energy efficiency in the main consuming sectors in cities, increasing the supply of renewable energy.

Within the SEC project, one of the main deliveries of our Municipality will be an Integrated Energy Plan (IEP), according to the five SEC pillars (citizen engagement, building retrofitting, energy supply and consumption, mobility and ICT) and following the activities of the Lighthouse Cities, trying to collect information for a future replication of their experience and providing feedbacks for a real replicability on its own contest. Our IEP will be linked to the existing Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP). It will mainly deal with energy efficiency of buildings and ICT solutions, foreseeing the involvement of different stakeholders (local government, public and private entities, citizens, associations, etc.) and capitalizing the benefits of the ICT technologies.

Lecce is actively part of the SmartEnCity Network, which is a community of like-minded cities, where disseminating the project’s results and guiding the participants through a smart city-becoming process. Within the SEC Network activities, we organized and hosted the “Follower Cities Workshop” in February 2017, where Italian and Mediterranean cities participated and exchanged experiences about Smart City fields. This was an opportunity to disseminate the main outputs of the PLANHEAT project. Obviously we aim at establishing a useful link between PLANHEAT and SmartEnCity projects to provide tools and strategies for assessing energy sustainable plans for heating and cooling to accompany the replication of innovative solutions at city level.

 

How do you evaluate the potential of Lecce to inspire other cities and municipalities in the region, in Southern Italy and beyond?

Lecce is the main city of the Salento area, which is highly populated and includes 96 smaller Municipalities. Of course, working with the neighboring municipalities alone will give our city the opportunity to become an example to follow and we are working on involving other cities at national level. For this reason we join different National dissemination events to share the experience and knowledge acquired within the PLANHEAT and SmartEnCity projects, thus inspiring other cities and creating new partnerships.