Organization of projects

Efforts on energy and climate are placed within the department of technique and environment, and the two supporting staff members are employed in the Technical Services / Natural and green spaces as green guides and nature communicators. The political leadership consists of chairman of the technique and environment committee, Finn Stengel Petersen (S).

The ambitious Agenda 21 and climate plans are not readily visible in the other municipal work, judging by the municipality's website. The climate plan and Agenda 21 strategy is not included in the statement of municipal plans and policies.

Under Housing and Construction nothing is mentioned about environmental and energy considerations, although there is a guide for environmentally friendly buildings which is included as part of the climate plan. However, the municipality's plan for future housing construction includes a passage expressing that ecological construction would like to be seen promoted, but no direct demands on environment and energy are formulated.

This underlines how energy and climate change efforts is more developed as projects, in which cooperation is established with stakeholders who have interest and resources to implement them. The municipal employees are facilitators and initiators or supporters of good ideas and activities.

There are in the energy-city application plans for a stronger organization of the efforts on sustainability by establishing a project steering group with a leader and representatives from all municipal departments. By doing this it is the intension to improve coordination and rooting of the effort.

According to climate coordinator Line Thastum, activities are established by seizing opportunities and common interests as they appear and convert them into realizable activities conducted by involved actors with support from the municipality. How ideas arise may be fortuitous, but a distinguishing feature is that they are seized and immediately thought into local resources and potentials.

Hydrogen projects as an example

Hydrogen activities are an example of how local entrepreneurs seize ideas in the air and bring them in to progress. As the debate about hydrogen as an energy carrier and the promising opportunities in fuel cell technology came up in the 90s, the idea was seized by entrepreneurs in Herning. However, they did not advance with the idea initially.

 In 2002, industry representatives became interested in hydrogen, threw themselves into the subject and released a report “Regional Foresight” on the possibilities of hydrogen. In 2004, a research centre for hydrogen was established HIRC-Hydrogen Innovation and Research Centre an association with 5 employees.

The research centre is part of a vast network of hydrogen-interested actors, including major companies such as Vestas, Grundfos, IRD, R & D institutions like The Danish Technological Institute, energy companies, municipalities and environmental and energy organizations etc. The association has set up demonstration facilities and is making plans for hydrogen buses, hydrogen filling stations, small hydrogen cars, equipment for switching to wind turbines for purchasing surplus power and fuel cells as a source of energy in buildings. The first hydrogen-fuel plant is expected to be launched during 2009 and there are many more projects under way (read about the history on HIRC’s website).

The municipality has supported the ideas economically, with 2.61 million DKK for a demonstration plant at Fruehøjgårds dormitory building3), but it is local actors that carry the ideas forward and implement them.

By Inger Stauning, Roskilde Universitet 2009

This web-site is edited by Roskilde University in cooperation with Technical University of Denmark, Danish Building Research Institute, Technological Institute, PP-consult, Syd-tek and Bjørn Axelsen ApS. Coordinator: Inger Stauning, RUC, is (a) ruc .dk