The two Romanian pilots – the Town of Sânnicolau Mare and the Municipality of Lugoj are part of the Timis County, which includes also other 21 SMCTs. Timis County, partner in the Plenty-Life consortium, is a NUTS3 region (RO424), forming together with other 3 counties “Regiunea Vest” – the NUTS2 region (RO42) located in the West part of Romania.
The activities of the project will be replicated in Timiș County in several other towns and communes. These will be involved as Follower Communities in an early phase of the project.
In Timis County, the local public authorities (LAs) are committed to implement actions and measures in the field of the energy, so the current number of signatories of the Covenant of Mayors Initiative (CoM) is 22 LAs: municipalities, towns and communes, determined to reduce energy-related CO2 emissions and mitigate climate change impact.
Planning for clean energy transition towards carbon neutrality in SMCTs requires applying a cross-sectoral approach, with integrated energy planning embedded in the urban planning process and tailored to local needs and community conditions.
FIRST ROMANIAN PILOT
Geographical and demographical context
Sânnicolau Mare is the western town of Romania and of Timiş County, being also the third largest city after Timişoara and Lugoj. It was documented in 1247, in the “Royal Privileged Diplomas”, but its existence dates back to ancient times. Sânnicolau Mare is a border town, 6 km from the border with the Republic of Hungary, on the irregular course of the Mureş River. Sănnicolau Mare has an area of 133.92 sq. km., which represents 1.55% of the area of Timis County. The built-up area is 12.1 sq. km..
With 10,672 inhabitants on 1 December 2021, according to the preliminary results of the 2022 census (source: https://www.recensamantromania.ro/rezultate-rpl-2021/rezultate-provizorii/), it is the sixth settlement in Timis County in terms of population.
The town is located in the lower Aranca plain and the Aranca Canal crosses the town, an old channel of the Mureş River which was navigable in ancient times.
It is bordered on the east side by the border of Saravale Commune at 7 km, on the south by the border of Tomnatic Commune at 12 km, on the southwest by the border of Nerău Village (Teremia Mare Commune) at 13 km away, on the west by 12 km the border of Dudestii Vechi Commune, and to the northwest, 6 km away, with the border of Cenad Commune.
In a straight line, the town is 5 km from the border with Hungary, 26 km from Serbia and 35 km from Triplex Confinium that marks the three-way border of the three states: Romania, Hungary and Serbia.
The Municipality of Sannicolau Mare has been a signatory of the Covenant of Mayors since 2014, and this commitment was reaffirmed on 28/09/2016 with the approval of the Sustainable Energy Action Plan for the Municipality of Sannicolau Mare – 2026-2020 by the decision of the Municipal Council, the SEAP also being approved by the CoM in 2017. According to the baseline emissions inventory (year 2008), the impact of local energy consumption is represented by a footprint of 3.52 tonnes of CO2 per capita. Although this indicator is significantly below national and European levels, there is a high potential for more ambitious local energy efficiency and decarbonisation.
The operational objective for environmental protection in the Town of Sannicolau Mare is to achieve high quality environmental factors, maintained by using energy efficiently, using alternative and renewable energy (green energy).
The main objective is to ensure the efficient use of natural resources, to improve access to environmental data and to optimise public services.
The measures to be implemented in order to achieve the target and to ensure the sustainability of green strategic development and adaptation to climate change are:
- Developing energy production capacity from renewable sources and using these sources at local level to ensure public sector consumption needs.
- Increase the network of rooftop photovoltaic systems to provide electricity to collective housing/ public institutions.
- Investing in buildings’ energy efficiency (EE) – EE of collective residential and public buildings.
- Extending the use of smart meters for monitoring the quality of environmental factors.
- Developing of a wide smart sensors network that monitor and transmit in real time data related to the quality of environmental factors.
- Developing ground-mounted photovoltaic systems as an alternative source of green electricity.
- Developing of the Smart Electricity Monitoring Systems.
- Implementing a smart public lighting system by creating an integrated database using the technology of cascading lighting points, respectively increasing the degree of automation through remote management systems.
SECOND ROMANIAN PILOT
Geographical and demographical context
Lugoj is the second largest and most important municipality in Timiș County, being part of the West Development Region and the Danube-Criș-Mureș-Tisa Euroregion.
The number of inhabitants is 44,911 inhabitants, data from the 2022 Census.
Located in the South-West part of Romania, in the historical Region of Banat, Lugoj consists of the component locality Lugoj (the residence) and the two villages belonging to it, respectively: Tapia and Măguri.
The Timiș River divides the city into two halves, the so-called “Romanian Lugoj” that spreads on the right bank and the “German Lugoj” on the left bank.
Lugoj covers an area of 98.03 kmsq, of which 20.35 kmsq in the build-up area and 7.68 kmsq outside the build-up area. It borders Boldur to the west, Darova to the southwest, Victor Vlad Delamarina to the south, Gavojdia to the southeast, Criciova and Bârna to the east and Coșteiu to the north-northwest.
At present, the main economic areas in Lugoj are represented by: manufacturing (57%), trade (23%), transport and storage (6%) and construction (5%). In the local economy, the largest contribution to turnover is made by the manufacturing industry, which generates more than 50% of turnover at municipal level and concentrates more than half of the local labor force. The best represented fields of activity locally are those of the manufacture of ceramic sanitary ware, the automotive industry and the manufacture of electrical equipment.
Lugoj has always been one of the musical centers of Banat. Lugoj is also called “City of Music”. Mozart, Haydn and Schubert’s masses and other sacred music works were performed here while they were still alive.
The first schools in Lugoj are mentioned in the 16th–17th centuries. In the 19th century, a rich didactic activity is already recorded, in the gymnasium and high school, where the teaching was done in Romanian. The first Romanian school in western Romania was built in Lugoj in 1770.
The municipality of Lugoj has a special tourist potential, representing a typical Banat town, with a special charm given by its location on the middle course of Timiș, in an area where the plain merges with the hilly area, but also by the built heritage of Lugoj – historical monuments, churches, houses and monumental buildings that constitute cultural heritage of great value and national importance.
The tourist potential of Lugoj is reflected in the particularly favorable conditions offered for the practice of a varied range of forms: cultural tourism, agreement and recreation, historical, ecumenical, business and transit, sports, etc.
- Reducing CO₂ emissions, by improving energy efficiency and by capitalizing on renewable energy sources;
- Investments to improve energy efficiency in buildings;
- Increasing community awareness of local energy issues and available energy efficiency solutions;
- The development of local regulations regarding the promotion of energy efficiency and the use of renewable resources;
- Improving the performance of the public lighting system;
- Carrying out periodical campaigns to inform the population;
- The introduction of provisions related to energy efficiency in the technical projects for new municipal buildings, so that they correspond to high standards of energy efficiency;
- The development of specific mechanisms to promote eco-efficient behavior, energy efficiency and the use of renewable resources at the community level.