During the global mobilization of cities “Rise for Climate” two more Ukrainian cities have officially announced their goal of moving towards 100% renewable energy sources by 2050. And 17 other cities have held street campaigns supporting clean energy.

On September 7, during the briefing at UNIAN, the leaders of Kamianets-Podilskyi, Chortkiv and Zhytomyr have publicly announced their intentions to gradually move their cities’ energy systems to renewable energy by 2050. It should be noted that Zhytomyr did it earlier. In June the city mayor of Zhytomyr publicly signed a memorandum with the international climate organization 350.org, thus confirming the local community’s plan to use only clean renewable energy.

His colleagues from Chortkiv and Kamianets-Podilskyi signed a similar document on the day of the cities’ global mobilization for climate protection. This approach presupposes reducing the energy consumption by the city, moving away from fossil fuels and gradual transition of the city’s energy balance to renewable energy sources (RES). The consumption of oil and gas causes excessive CO2 emissions to the atmosphere, thus aggravating the greenhouse effect and climate extremities.

“Zhytomyr has reduced its consumption of thermal energy by 30% in the last three years. As a result of signing the memorandum, we now have major international organizations and investors working in the city. We are already constructing a big biofuel power plant. Overall, 4 biomass power plants will generate thermal energy and electricity for the residents of the city. We are encouraging our people to insulate their apartments. Additionally, we have insulated 20 kindergartens. We have replaced street lighting to LED lighting, and we will become the first city in Europe to move to LED. We have started the construction of the first municipal solar power plant and the first in Ukraine municipally owned zero-waste house”, Serhiy Sukhomlyn, mayor of Zhytomyr spoke about their progress and first changes.

We should note that Zhytomyr’s city mayor will visit the Global Climate Action Summit in California on October 11-15. Serhiy Sukhomlyn will be the only city mayor from Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia region to declare the transition to 100% RES by 2050 on the global level and to develop the energy transition plan.  

After this ambitious commitment, city mayors should take several important steps:

  • Develop energy transition action plans for the city, involving experts and the public;
  • Adopt a climate strategy for the city;
  • Facilitate civil society development in the city that will be able to support and monitor the implementation of 100% RES targets.
  • Conduct an information campaign in Ukraine and abroad.

In addition to Zhytomyr, Kamianets-Podilsky (Khmelnytskyi Oblast) and Chortkiv (Ternopil Oblast) today (ed. September 7) have officially confirmed their intentions to move towards clean energy:

“The main direction in Chortkiv is reducing the consumption of energy. In one year we have cut energy consumption by 5%, and gas by 8%.  We are committing to create a 100% renewable energy environment in Chortkiv. We plan to build a solar power plant, with a capacity of 10,ooo MW/hour and construct a micro hydropower plant of a European level;” Volodymyr Shmatko, mayor of Chortkiv has stated.

“The signed memoranda are a first step towards building up the cities’ capacity to work on transition to clean and renewable energy and get rid of fossil fuel dependence. We are hoping that the cities will be active, will create energy transition plans, climate strategies, transparent public platform to enable the city residents to take part in decision making and implementation of the energy transition in the nearest future,” regional coordinator of international climate organization 350.org, Svitlana Romanko has stated.

What happened in Kyiv…

While Zhytomyr, Chortkiv and Kamianets-Podilskyi have ambitious plans, Kyiv’s climate strategy has still not been started. In order to motivate Kyiv to act more decisively in the energy sector, a hundred activists gathered near the city administration and reproduced two scenarios for the city’s future on a 6-metre canvas. The first one contained renewable energy, while the second one had disgraceful impacts of oil and gas consumption. The organizers have been joined by those city mayors, who have committed to move towards renewable energy.

The city leaders urged Kyiv and other cities to make urgent decisions to combat climate change and commit to 100% renewable energy sources by 2050. At the end of the performance, the activists together with the mayors handed an appeal from Kyiv residents to the Head of the environment and natural resources department addressed to the mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko. In this appeal, the residents demand urgent implementation of Kyiv’s climate strategy and transition to clean energy.

What scholars think about renewable energy?  

One year ago Heinrich Boell Foundation in Ukraine together with the NASU Institute for Economics and Forecasting published their research on how Ukraine can make an optimal transition of its energy sector to renewable energy sources by 2050. NASU modelled three possible scenarios in the energy sector. According to this study, Ukraine has all economic and technical capacity to move to 91-100% renewable energy sources consumption by 2050. This scenario is 5 percent more expensive for the country than the use of fossil fuels, but it is strategically more attractive, because fossil fuel is running out. Scientists claim that implementation of renewable energy will provide Ukrainians with hundreds of thousands of new jobs, will enhance the development of the technological market and strengthen energy security and independence.

The aim of the global initiative “Rise for Climate” on September 7-8 is to join every city’s and every country’s effort in combatting climate change. These days the mobilization covered five continents, more than 700 events have been held, 17 of them in Ukraine.

For updates and more information contact:

  • Iryna Sopilniak, 350.org communications manager (digital campaigner) in EECCA (Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia) iryna.sopilniak@350.org,  +380502478770
  • Yulia Petrova, Zhytomyr city council spokeswoman,  098 614 51 91