45 projects with a total value of PLN 1 million were implemented in the first edition of the “Choczewo. Municipality Powered by Wind” program. The initiative created for the residents of the Choczewo municipality (Pomeranian voivodeship) is an idea of offshore wind farm investors implementing offshore investments in the Polish part of the Baltic Sea: Baltic Power (PKN ORLEN and Northland Power), PGE Baltica and Ørsted, as well as Ocean Winds. The goal of the initiative is to support ideas submitted by the local community of a municipality where the infrastructure necessary to bring power from offshore wind farms to land is being developed.
Residents are decisive
“Choczewo. Municipality Powered by Wind” has always been a program aimed at residents, planned to activate the local community and strengthen its social capital by subsidizing initiatives submitted and indicated as important by the residents themselves. It is a joint venture between investors who are making investments in offshore wind farms. The program is implemented by working directly with the community, from diagnosing the needs, describing them and looking for the best ways to implement them. Residents themselves identified initiatives that they thought should receive financial support and move from the concept stage to the implementation stage.
“Choczewo. Municipality Powered by Wind” is a valuable initiative. The program, through the involvement of various social groups and residents from different villages and hamlets, contributes to the activation of the municipal community. At the same time, it increases everyone’s awareness of wind energy – stresses Wiesław Gębka, Head of the Choczewo Municipality.
From idea to design
During the first stage of the Program’s development, the implementation team held nearly 100 meetings with residents of the municipality. These included one-on-one interviews, workshops and research walks, the main purpose of which was to diagnose the most important needs of the community, but also to inspire concern for the immediate environment. The result of the activities carried out with residents included selecting thematic areas under which investors of offshore wind farms supported specific projects.
– This is an initiative that responds to the real needs of residents. Projects funded under the Program meet the expectations of the local community, reported directly by our neighbors. A huge advantage of this initiative is the process of wide consultation – Krzysztof Łasiński, Chairman of the Choczewo Municipal Council
Many valuable initiatives
One of the projects that received funding was an initiative called From Grandma’s Plate. It planned the publication of a cookbook, containing recipes brought to Choczew with the settlements after the end of World War II. Residents who came to the area of today’s Choczewo municipality often brought with them very different cultural traditions. Therefore, the initiators of the project wanted to save the memory of culinary customs that shaped the identity of families in previous generations.
The program also allowed for the implementation of initiatives involving the promotion of sports and active lifestyles. The Choczewo municipality hosted a series of volleyball tournaments open to all residents: on the occasion of Independence Day, the Santa Claus Tournament, the New Year Tournament and the Valentine’s Day Tournament.
We proposed three initiatives: “We Live Green”, “We Are Fair-play” and “Green Wind”. Thanks to funding from the Program, we carried out projects aimed at raising environmental awareness of our school’s students, promoting physical activity and inspiring them to take greater care of the environment. We organized a series of workshops for students, including a trip to Warsaw’s Copernicus Science Center, where our students were able to learn more about the principles of sustainable development in practice – stresses Róża Majchrzak, director of the School and Kindergarten Complex in Ciekocin.
Among the projects was an initiative that focuses on the development of the municipality’s residents from the youngest to seniors, thereby promoting intergenerational integration. The Carpe Diem Semper Cultural and Social Association has implemented a project called Multigenerational Mobile University. The initiative included a series of educational and integration events. Among other things, Culinary Street Picnic or the Baltic Sea Nordic Walking March took place.
Funding for 45 projects
Support under the program has been received by, among others, ll the villages of the Choczewo Municipality, associations acting for the benefit of the residents of the municipality or individual organizational units of the community.
Preparations are currently underway to launch the second edition of “Choczewo. Municipality Powered by Wind”. It is preceded by a detailed evaluation of the Program’s implementation in 2022. Investors assure that, as was the case with the first edition of the Program, the opinion of residents will be most important in the final selection of projects for implementation.
Baltic Power is a project that from the beginning of its implementation has placed special emphasis on a policy of sustainable development. Along with environmental protection and corporate governance, social responsibility defines our company’s and its shareholders’ approach to making modern energy investments. The Baltic Power farm will eventually power more than 1.5 million households in Poland, with Choczewo being the place from where the power will go to the grid. We regard the understanding and support of residents as part of responsible, good-neighborly relations – stresses Jaroslaw Broda, Board Member of Baltic Power.
The program Municipality Powered by Wind is directly related to important offshore wind farm investments for the Polish energy sector. It is intended to draw the attention of local communities to the role of investments made in the Choczewo municipality in the process of effective energy transition of our country. It allows information about offshore wind farm projects to reach out to local leaders and informal groups, such as farmers’ clubs, volunteer fire departments and local rural communities.
More information about the project is available at: www.gmina-napedzana-wiatrem.pl
Source: Baltic Power