Energy planning in Zemgale

Green transport in Zemgale

A central theme for the INTENSSS-PA Regional Living Lab in Zemgale, is green transport. Latest initiatives includes testing driverless buses and electric cars.  

The Zemgale region is located in the central part of Latvia. The area is characterized by its high soil fertility and relatively unpolluted farmland as well as its woodland which covers about 40 % of the region.  Zemgale is crossed by two major Latvian rivers – Daugava and Lielupe.

Green transportation is key

Carrying out the regional development planning is the main function of the Zemgale Planning Region. Building on their experience in urban-rural interaction in planning and energy development, Zemgale Regional living lab (RLL) aims to focus on planning the use of renewable energy sources for sustainable green transport. This will be an integral part of the Zemgale Regional Energy Action Plan (2012 – 2020)

Zemgale is known as an innovative region that is highly active in many different areas, for example within tourism, entrepreneurship, spatial planning and energy. Since taking part in the INTENSSS PA project, the RLL has paid special attention to green transportation. Due to the collaborative approach of INTENSSS PA a range of different stakeholders work together across fields to develop green solutions for transportation. The main task of the RLL is to exchange necessary information and participate in a  co-planning process on elaboration of the green transport development action Plan.

Partners in the project  include the regional university, municipal companies (e.g. bus companies), NGOs, Ministry of Transport as well as the National Road Safety Department.

The newest initiative was commenced in the end of 2017, and here the RLL is working on the introdution of driverless buses in the city environment. This will include  two pilot projects in which the RLL in cooperation with various institutions will test driverless buses in relation to so-called “last mile” transportation – e.g. to reach city center from train station or connect different objects in the cities.

As part of the co-planning process the RLL Zemgale has also presented electric cars to provide citizens and other stakeholders with knowledge and experience about the every-day use of such cars. Initially, the VW e-Up! and the e-Golf has been presented and next the RLL is planning for a presentation of the Tesla Model S..

The collaboration within the RLL is an eye opener for many parties as they rarely meet each other in job related settings. Scientists were able to clarify results of their research, the Road Safety Department had the chance to present the planned charging station network and explain the main advantages compared to the Estonian version, and lastly representatives from municipalities stated that to boost this movement they have to be involved and that’s why for example Jelgava city has four e-cars used by police and utility services personnel

Aigars Ievins,  Public Relations Specialist, Zemgale Region 

Energy planning in the Regional Living Labs

The INTENSS-PA action has developed a network of seven Regional Living Labs (RLL), one in each of  the seven Regional areas participating in the project.

The RLLs are focused on improving and designing a shared and integrated sustainable energy planning concept and on applying it in order to develop seven sustainable energy plans, i.e. one for each Region. The overall approach involves learning sessions and experiential projects alongside intense networking.

Each RLL has worked on  a particular planning focus identifying their ambitions in relation to a long-term process of integrated  sustainable energy planning.

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