The Indian city of Coimbatore was the host of a two-day workshop on 12-13 December, launching a REEEP-funded ICLEI project on Local Renewables. The project is taking Coimbatore as both an example and a resource in energy efficiency and renewable energy for two other emerging market cities: Ekurhuleni in South Africa and the Yogyakarta municipality in Indonesia.
ICLEI is an international association of local governments committed to sustainable development, and the REEEP-funded project is developing model local renewable initiatives in the two cities, who benefit from the experience of Coimbatore; a prime example of South-South cooperation.
The project launch workshop was held at the Residency Hotel in Coimbatore with approximately 35 participants representing the two project cities, host city officials, Indian solar cities and local stakeholders in the field of energy efficiency, private sector representatives, the state electricity board, and research institutions from Coimbatore, as well as representatives from both ICLEI and REEEP.
The event opened with an inaugural session during which the project was introduced by Emani Kumar, Executive Director of ICLEI South Asia, followed by the traditional ‘lighting of the lamp’ ceremony to officially launch the workshop. The opening remarks were made by T.K. Ponnusamy, the local Municipal Commissioner, and other inaugural remarks included the Mayor of Coimbatore.
During the workshop, a consultant from Salzer Electronics Limited introduced participants to the innovative energy efficient LED street lights implemented in the city, and also had the chance to inspect the new lighting on site after a visit to the city corporation offices. This event was widely covered by the regional print media, in both local language (Tamil) and English newspapers.
The afternoon session of the workshop then convened with presentations by each of the Indian solar cities representatives about the various initiatives in their respective cities on renewable energy and energy efficiency, with a focus on the solar city master plans developed by the cities, and the implementation plans and strategies for them. After the conclusion of the first day, the project cities and ICLEI representatives then convened for a brief partner meeting to discuss the project timelines, roles of the partners and project activities.
The second day of the workshop consisted of site visits to various sites in and around Coimbatore where RE and EE initiatives were underway. The sites visited by the delegation included a wind-solar PV hybrid at the corporation bus terminal, the factory of the street lighting energy efficiency project consultant, two sites of the corporation where sewage treatment and composting was being handled on a public-private-partnership basis. Following the workshop, ICLEI South Asia also had a brief introductory and training session for Ekurhuleni and ICLEI Africa on using HEAT+, the emissions calculations software that will be used for preparing an emissions inventory for Ekurhuleni.
Overall, this workshop launches a project that builds on the fact that both Indonesia and South Africa are at a stage where national policies on climate change mitigation have been formulated, and there is scope for cities to begin taking concrete action.