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    Success of the first edition of the programme to support local initiatives ‘Choczewo: Commune Driven by the Wind’

    45 projects with a total value of PLN 1 million were implemented in the first edition of the ‘Choczewo: Commune Driven by the Wind’. The initiative created for the residents of the Choczewo commune (Pomeranian Voivodeship) is the idea of investors of offshore wind farms: Baltic Power (PKN ORLEN and Northland Power), PGE Baltica and Ørsted, and Ocean Winds implementing offshore investments in the Polish part of the Baltic Sea. The aim of the initiative is to support ideas put forward by the local community of the municipality where the infrastructure necessary to bring power from offshore wind farms to land is being developed.

    Residents decide

    ‘Choczewo: Commune Driven by the Wind’ is a programme aimed directly at the residents and planned to activate the local community and strengthen its social capital, by subsidising initiatives submitted and indicated as important by the residents themselves. It is a joint venture of investors who are investing in offshore wind farms. The programme is based on close cooperation with the local community – from diagnosing needs, describing them and searching for the best solutions together. Initiatives identified by residents themselves should be supported financially and moved from the concept stage to the implementation stage.

    “ ‘Choczewo: Commune Driven by the Wind’ is a valuable initiative. The programme, thanks to the involvement of various social groups and residents from different villages and smallest subdivisions, contributes to the activation of the commune community. At the same time, it increases everyone’s awareness of wind energy,” emphasises Wiesław Gębka, Head of Choczewo.

    From concept stage to the implementation stage

    From idea to project: During the first stage of the programme’s development, the implementation team held nearly 100 meetings with the community’s residents. These included individual interviews, workshops as well as research walks, the main aim of which was to diagnose the most important needs of the community, but also to inspire them to care about their immediate surroundings. The result of the activities carried out with the inhabitants was, among other things, the selection of thematic areas from which the projects supported by the investors of offshore wind farms were to come.

    This initiative met with a positive response and recognition from the local community, which appreciated the extensive consultation process. Krzysztof Łasiński, Chairman of the Choczewo Commune Council, emphasised that the projects financed under the Programme correspond to the real needs of residents reported directly by their neighbourhood.

    The Programme ‘Choczewo: Commune Driven by the Wind’ covered many valuable initiatives, such as the publication of the cookbook ‘From grandma’s plate’, promotion of sport and active lifestyles, raising environmental awareness among school pupils or supporting the development of the commune’s residents through projects integrating different generations. Support under the programme was received by all the villages, associations and organisational units of Choczewo. Preparations are currently underway for the start of the second edition of the programme, where once again the residents’ vote will be decisive in selecting projects for implementation.

    The Baltic Power project, associated with offshore wind farms, is a key part of the Programme focusing on sustainable development and social responsibility. It aims to power more than 1.5 million households in Poland, and Choczewo has been selected as the site from where the energy will be fed into the grid. Baltic Power’s management emphasises the importance of understanding and supporting the community’s residents as an essential element of responsible, good neighbourly relations.

    The programme ‘Choczewo: Commune Driven by the Wind’ aims to draw the attention of residents to the role of the onshore part of the project in the country’s energy transition. It is directly connected with important investments in the offshore wind farm sector for the Polish energy sector. It is intended to draw the attention of the commune’s residents to the role of the onshore part of the project in the process of effective energy transformation of our country.

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