The Covenant of Mayors Newsletter.
Interview with Sten Nordin, Mayor of Stockholm, Sweden.
The Mayor of Stockholm aspires to reduce the city’s CO2 emissions by a staggering 45% by 2020, as indicated in the Sustainable Energy Action Plan submitted to the Covenant of Mayors Office. To reach this destination, the city is taking initiatives on a number of fronts, rethinking its own organisation and overall planning, with the engagement of businesses and citizens alike. In this exclusive interview with the Covenant of Mayors Office, the Mayor gives concrete examples of 2012 achievements, indications on how the city involves companies and residents through the « Climate Pact » and « Climate Smart Stockholmers » initiatives, and how Stockholm is steadily progressing towards its vision of a walkable, prosperous and fossil fuel-free city.
What were Stockholm’s most promising sustainable energy initiatives in 2012 ? How is the city progressing on the implementation of its Sustainable Energy Action Plan ?
Our action plan – which is part of Stockholm´s overall environmental programme – has a two-fold objective : improving the organisation of the city itself and impacting the society as a whole.
To lead by example, the city plans to reduce energy use in its own building stock by at least 10 percent during the programmed period. As far as transport is concerned, we already run the entire car fleet with clean vehicles. City planning counteracts urban sprawl with proximity to public transport and facilitates accessibility for buses, cyclists and pedestrians. The share of renewable fuels in the district heating is approximately 80 percent and constantly increasing.
Some examples of 2012 initiatives include :
The implementation of Sweden’s most comprehensive procurement of electric cars ;
A plan to build a new combined heat and power plant with bio fuels ;
The decision to collect 50 percent of food residues in household waste for biogas production ;
The on-going energy efficient refurbishment of the city’s own building stock ;
The imminent implementation of the largest solar electricity installation in Sweden ;
The ongoing construction of the Stockholm Royal Seaport, a new state of the art eco- district for 12, 000 new residents and 35, 000 work places ;
The decision – mentioned in the 2013 City Budget - to investigate opportunities for renewable energy production on the roofs of city-owned buildings ;
The intent – also foreseen in the 2013 budget – to explore opportunities for Stockholm to become a fossil fuel independent city administration in 2030.
How are companies and the private sector in general involved in Stockholm’s sustainable energy activities ?
Stockholm has a long tradition of close cooperation with the private sector for the development of its infrastructures and services to residents. One of the key partners is the energy company that is co-owned by the city, and an energy cooperation called Fortum. Fortum has a roadmap to deliver climate neutral district heating by 2030. Other noteworthy examples include : electric car procurement in cooperation with the energy company Vattenfall AB ; private entrepreneurs using biogas trucks for collection of household waste, and the recently-initiated co-operation between the city and private real estate owner organisations to reduce energy use in private buildings.
In 2007 the City of Stockholm started an alliance, the “Climate Pact”, between the city and Stockholm’s businesses. Companies that join the pact commit to the same objectives than the city has through its environmental programme. Today some 170 companies in Stockholm have joined the pact.
The City of Stockholm also reaches out to its residents through a communication project called "Climate Smart Stockholmers", The project communicates what the city is doing to reduce the GHG emissions and what citizens themselves can do to reduce their climate impact.
Holistic planning is a very important dimension of the Covenant of Mayors. Can you provide some examples of systemic changes applied in the city ?
The “Walkable City - Stockholm City Plan” is a comprehensive water and land use plan for the municipality of Stockholm, as well as a governing document to meet the City’s 2030 vision. The plan outlines the city’s development and growth opportunities on strategic nodes with the aim of minimizing individual transport needs through proximity to high class public transports. The new transport strategy seeks to improve accessibility and give priority to public transport users, cyclists and pedestrians. An important systemic change in the transport sector was the introduction of the congestion charging system that has reduced the number of cars entering the inner city by 20 per cent, a system that can be expanded to meet the needs of the ever- growing City of Stockholm.
New residential areas in the strategic nodes are built on former brown fields whenever possible, with local workplaces and well-developed services for residents. The areas are built to the highest possible energy standards, approximately half of the energy use allowed by national standards, to reduce the energy demand. The new neighborhoods have access to the district heating infrastructure and the effects of a changing climate are taken into account in the planning process.
The long-term goal for the City is to become fossil-fuel free or neutral by 2050. A roadmap for a fossil fuel free City is under development. The roadmap is concretised in the shorter term by the City’s Sustainable Energy Action Plan within the framework of the Covenant of Mayors.