Green recovery of Ukrainian communities: 10 mayors from different parts of Ukraine attended a study visit to Vienna

"Green" recovery of Ukrainian communities: 10 mayors from different parts of Ukraine paid an educational visit to Vienna

The study tour took place from 22 to 26 January and was organized by Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe

Ukrainian communities strive to develop even in times of war. The full-scale invasion has highlighted the vulnerability of the energy sector to rocket and drone attacks. Simultaneously, critical infrastructure such as hospitals, kindergartens, and schools must prioritize energy efficiency to ensure Ukrainians receive care, education, and necessary resources under any circumstances. "Green" technologies, including solar power plants, heat pumps, wind turbines, etc., emerge as the best solutions for Ukraine's reconstruction and energy security. This approach will enable Ukrainian communities to achieve energy independence while simultaneously reducing utility bills without causing harm to the environment.

Greenpeace is convinced that the successful example of Vienna, where green technologies have long been effectively utilized for the benefit of citizens, can inspire Ukrainian community leaders to implement renewable energy projects. Greenpeace held a competition among Ukrainian mayors and selected the 10 most motivated participants from more than 50 applications for the trip.

Participants of the educational trip at the Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe office

The educational trip to Vienna was attended by Yurii Bova, Mayor of Trostianets (Sumy region); Pavlo Kuzmenko, Mayor of Okhtyrka (Sumy region); Vitalii Maletskyi, Mayor of Kremenchuk (Poltava region); Oleksandr Kodola, Mayor of Nizhyn (Chernihiv region); Nila Ostrovska, Mayor of Krasyliv (Khmelnytskyi region); Volodymyr Shmatko, Mayor of Chortkiv (Ternopil region); Yaroslav Tsvirkun, Mayor of Pereshchepyno (Dnipropetrovsk region); Lesia Mikhno, Acting Mayor of Apostolove (Dnipropetrovsk region); Vasyl Antoniuk, Mayor of Dubno (Rivne region); and Oleh Serniak, Mayor of Pustomyty (Lviv region).

During the study tour, Ukrainian community leaders visited several green facilities in the city to learn and bring back the best technological practices. In particular, they explored the Simmering power plant, which operates Central Europe's most potent large heat pump and provides CO₂-free district heating to 25,000 households. They also visited the Bruck/Leitha wind power park and Solar park,  models of climate-friendly and agro-industry-friendly electricity generation from renewable sources such as wind and solar. Additionally, they toured a waste management plant and a biogas plant processing 22 thousand tons of kitchen and green waste annually, providing environmentally friendly "bio-natural gas" to 900 Viennese households.

"The technology is amazing! Everything is designed to minimize waste, ensuring that everything is incinerated for the benefit of the city's residents. The fact that Vienna has banned natural waste disposal since 2008, with no landfills here, is awe-inspiring. This experience is essential for the community as we aspire to adopt similar environmental values and opportunities. During the trip, I became even more convinced that we must strive for inclusion in the civilized world," says Nila Ostrovska, Mayor of Krasyliv, sharing her impressions of Vienna's green facilities.
The Simmering heat pump

In addition to studying the city's environmental solutions, the participants of the trip also met with representatives of the Vienna municipality, and learned about Viennese plans to green the city and about the "Out of Gas" plan of Vienna city, presented by Urban Innovation Vienna. Vienna aims to achieve zero gas and coal consumption by 2040 as part of the latter.

Andreas Helbl, Managing Partner of CES Clean Energy Solutions, presented the "Master Plan as a tool for modernizing Ukrainian communities" to Ukrainian mayors using the example of Trostianets, Sumy region. In collaboration with IC consulenten, they developed a project for the energy modernization of the Ukrainian city, which was temporarily occupied by the russian army and damaged during the attacks. They are currently actively seeking investors to implement the plan.

"Trostianets is a city of green energy! This is the strategy we have developed and meticulously calculated in the Trostianets Modernization Master Plan. Much has already been accomplished towards achieving zero gas consumption in all areas and implementing modern technologies to extract clean solar energy. However, there is still much work to be done. The knowledge gained in Austria will allow us to proceed to the next stage of converting the entire city to green energy and eliminating gas consumption by 100%," said Yurii Bova, the inspired Mayor of Trostianets.
Vienna city council

Local leaders also had the opportunity to exchange valuable contacts with representatives of the Vienna authorities, learn more about grant opportunities for the development of their communities, and convey the reality of the events in Ukraine and its needs. For this purpose, the trip participants visited the UN headquarters and the Energy Community in Austria, which manages the Ukraine Energy Support Fund, which has already accumulated 155 million euros to aid Ukraine. The Ukrainian delegation was warmly welcomed by the Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe office, where they learned more about Greenpeace projects in Ukraine and explored ways to establish meaningful cooperation with the organization to promote environmental initiatives in their cities.

"All these contacts and partnerships that we have gained while in Austria will truly assist us in our efforts to restore our communities and enhance the well-being of our residents. There should be many more projects like this, and I was personally very impressed with the work of Greenpeace, which plans to develop in Ukraine. We are eagerly anticipating more new projects to be implemented as part of the green recovery," said Yaroslav Tsvirkun, Mayor of Pereshchepyne, Dnipropetrovsk region.

At the end of the trip, Greenpeace and the study tour participants agreed to develop further partnerships between the organization and the communities. Specifically, in some communities, Greenpeace is seeking opportunities to implement new "green" reconstruction projects, and city leaders plan to participate in Greenpeace grant competitions.

Contacts

Lucia Sumegova - partnership coordinator - lucia.sumegova@greenpeace.org 

Polina Kolodiazhna - partnership coordinator - pkolodia@greenpeace.org 

Daryna Rogachuk- communication officer -
daryna.rogachuk@greenpeace.org
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