Students, young researchers and professionals, as well as representatives of the most energy efficient schools from the countries of Central Asia (CA) are visiting Latvia for a week-long study tour “Promotion of Energy Efficiency – Latvian Experience”. Total 12 participants from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan are taking part in the event at the invitation of the European Union (EU). They are the winners of the EU contests #Reels4SustainableEnergy and for the best Sustainable Energy Mural Design, as well as the representatives of the schools nominated as “The Most Energy Efficient School” among secondary schools of the CA capitals.
The study tour, organised by the EU-funded project “Sustainable Energy Connectivity in Central Asia (SECCA)” from 27 November to 1 December 2023, demonstrates Latvia’s successful examples of energy efficiency (EE) and energy saving practices implemented by the public and private sectors.
“Energy Efficiency First” is a guiding principle of the EU’s energy policy, which complements other EU objectives, particularly in the areas of sustainability, climate neutrality and green growth. This principle emphasises the need to reduce fossil fuel consumption, and that only the energy really needed should be produced. Reducing energy demand, in turn, can help control the level of investment needed for the transition towards renewables.
Latvia, the EU member state, has shown a steady progress towards its national energy and climate targets. According to the Latvian Official Statistics (2023), compared to 2021, gross consumption of natural gas reduced by 28.2 % in 2022. Along with the declining use of natural gas, country’s CO2 intensity dropped by 40 % over the last decade, and the proportion of renewables in gross energy consumption has reached 43.3 %. Latvia has the third highest share of renewables in the final energy consumption in the EU.
SECCA Key Expert Ms Ilze Purina addressed the participants: “This European Union study tour is your deserved award, and I am happy to welcome you in Latvia! It is encouraging to see that more and more young people are engaging in environmental and climate action. Our primary objective in organising this study tour is to support the youth and people who educate the youth in gaining new knowledge and skills for a green energy transition. I hope this experience will inspire your work and research further, and will thus contribute to the sustainable future of your respective countries”.
In the course of the study tour, the participants meet experts and professionals of the Latvian Ministry of Economy, Riga Energy Agency, Riga Technical University, University of Children and Youth, University for Future Engineers, Getlini solid waste landfill, Ogre Library, Ogre State Gymnasium, Electrum Energy Efficiency Centre, Cleantech Latvia, Dzintaru Concert Hall. The host organisations present their experience in EE promotion implemented through various activities, including renovation of buildings, sustainable construction, effective use of resources, interaction with the public, student education and involvement in innovation processes, and support for start-ups. ///SECCA, 29 November 2023