Saaremaa, Estonia

Local energy ambassadors – Saaremaa
Saare County Government has formed an energy work group, which started its work at the beginning of 2008. At first the main objective was to be an active contributor in the development of the County’s energy strategy. The project TransPlan started at the same time and the energy work group became very quickly involved in it.
The work group is mainly composed of representatives of the municipalities, but it also includes representatives of Saare County’s largest heating company and representatives of the national energy company. This work group is the starting point of all decisions regarding Saaremaa’s contribution on how to disseminate and communicate the TransPlan project.
In Saaremaa we have developed for the moment general ideas on the activities and the specific communication plan that we will be putting together.  For example, we would like to give priority to school children.  We feel that that one important group that should be involved in the discussions of energy issues is school children aged less than 12 years old.  Another important group is high school graduates.  Energy issues should be widely publicised in local newspapers.  This way people would become more familiar with them and would hopefully adopt a more energy efficient life style for their every day energy needs.
Saare County Government has a good working relation with both of our newspapers and also with the local radio station.  (During the 3rd seminar for the elaboration of our energy plan we had a special section in one popular broadcast, which lasted about half an hour). The preliminary plan is to continue this cooperation and use it to broaden the local knowledge in energy issues.
Involving young people
During 2009 four seminars for energy ambassadors and the public were held. There was one meeting visit to mainland to Lihula grass biomass heating boiler; there was a thematic lecture held in Salme school (32 pupils) and one lecture in Salme kindergarten (26 children); a thematic hour in local radio; participation in climate exhibition in Kuressare with a Transplan section (an exhibition visited by ca 350 people).