A new Baltic Leadership Programme (BLP) is setting up a network of 24 energy experts from 7 countries in the Baltic Sea region to meet the growing demand of knowledge on energy efficiency. Madara Zvirgzdina, from the Ministry of Economics in Latvia, thinks it is necessary to work together across the borders to boost energy efficiency measures.

– Climate change is a global issue and that must always be considered. If we do not work together, I am afraid we are not going to reach our targets.

Energy efficiency is sometimes called “the first fuel”, meaning it is the lowest-cost energy option to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The question is: how?

The Baltic Leadership Programme wants to open new doors, not only between the countries in the region, but also between different sectors. Siim Meeliste, who works for AU Energiateenus which is a private energy firm in Estonia, says he is curious to learn how other companies reduce energy use.

– There are immense energy savings potentials in the private sector, but we do not want to re-invent the wheel. We want to learn from other companies and stakeholders in the region and hear their experiences, says Siim Meeliste.

That is also one of the fundamental ideas of this Baltic Leadership Programme – to cooperate across borders to tackle energy efficiency challenges in the Baltic Sea region.  The ambition is to establish a “transnational platform” on energy efficiency.

Marie Holmgren of the North Sweden Energy Agency, who is also representing the Energy Agencies of Sweden, suggests there exists a solid common understanding of the challenge among the participants.

– We share the same fear and the same passion for energy efficiency, we all want to save the planet and we know that we need to change, she says.

From her point of view, it is time to start focusing on the benefits of saving energy.

– There are multiple benefits that we rarely talk about – less pollution, less emissions, better indoor climate, jobs. That is one thing I want to talk more about with my colleagues in the programme.

Swedish Institute in the Baltic Sea region

Swedish Institute seeks to strengthen Sweden’s relations and develop cooperation with the countries around the Baltic Sea and the countries of the Eastern Partnership.

The Baltic Leadership Programmes (BLP) are tailor-made training programmes designed to promote the implementation of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) through establishing professional networks and strengthening capacities related to specific topics.

BLP on Energy Efficiency is commissioned by the Swedish Institute in close cooperation with the Latvian Ministry of Economics in its capacity as coordinator of policy area “Energy” of the EUSBSR and the Council of the Baltic Sea States Secretariat in its capacity as coordinator of horizontal action “Climate” of the EUSBSR.

Read more about the activities of the Swedish Institute in the region.

Read more about Baltic Leadership Programme on Energy Efficiency.