Energy transition in EU regions and cities
During the EWRC 2019, thanks to smooth international cooperation, the partners from Portugal, Spain, Slovenia and Poland discussed their experiences, actions and phases of going through the process of changing to greener Europe.
RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES EXPLOITATION was presented as the main thought of understanding the energy transition plan in Alentejo Region. Portugal in recent decades has had a high energy dependence, which increased from 60% at the beginning of the 1960s to over 80% during the 1990s and the early years of the 21st century. However, the recent focus on renewable energy, mainly hydraulic and wind power generation, has enabled the country to slightly reduce the hydrocarbon imports. Portugal is nowadays considered one of the most dynamic European countries in terms of development of renewable energy. The ambitious Portugal plan assumes that by 2029 the mines will be closed and by 2030 all road mobility will be carbon free.
The energy transitions in Poland is strongly connected with social aspects, taking into account the history of Poland and coal mine tradition. Presented by Anna Dylag, the model of the social energy system is defined as the system in which people, institutions and companies produce energy for their needs. She explained: "Civic energy is based on three pillars: prosumerism, local energy communities and activating activities led by the commune. The pilot project is implemented in Wieruszów, Lodzkie Region. The important stage of the project is the creation of special centres of energy societies. Energy clusters are currently operating. The next stage is a complex civic-municipal energy in which various entities participate.
West Slovenia sees an opportunity for the European market in growing demand for rechargeable batteries at a rate of 32% per year. Slovenia in response to the EU Strategic Action Plan 2018 participates in various initiatives, e.g. Battery 2030+ (research supported by Horizon 2020, groundbreaking research aimed at creating batteries for the future, e.g. for use in space technologies, media, the Internet of Things) or in the energy technology plan created by the EC: SET-Plan. In addition, the initiative: batteries production value chain - International partnership for smart specialisation on advanced materials for batteries for electromobility and stationary energy storage (27 cells), including 27 partners in Slovenia.
Extramadura - Regional Electric vehicle strategy is crucial to decarbonise the economy. The strategy's goals are to create a charging infrastructure for such vehicles to encourage people to switch to electric vehicles. The main goal assumes 10% by 2030. The region is currently also subsidising EUR 3.5 million for regional funding to implement such activities. Another example is 170 electric vehicles on the Badajoz borders granted to local police. Extramadura also implements projects under the Interreg ES-PT programme, e.g. the URBASOL project, under which 13 charging points were created in public tourist accomodation in Extramadura and 25 in the cross-border area ES-PT.
Take away message
"The workshop presented different processes of building the sustainable and low-emission energy system. The EC proposals for the regions is the future Just Transition Fund for 2021-2027. EU funds are important to allow regions to connect and cooperate on specific solutions."
"We must act more ambitiously in the next period. And the changes must be faster" – let's make this quote from Pawel Olechnowicz the take–away message and the reason to go far in the direction of a greener Europe.
Anna Dylag from Lodzkie "Civic energy is based on three pillars: prosumerism, local energy communities and activating activities led by the commune. Recognising the great role of energy in contemporary life, participants should multiply their activities for renewable energy, energy efficiency and building an energy-conscious society".
Fátima Bacharel from Alentejo: "Climate change is the result of social inequalities, which is why we need to fight this phenomenon effectively".
Pawel Olechnowicz, expert from DG Regio: "Local and regional authorities should be involved in energy transition. It should happen as a bottom up approach, but of course national level should be involved and supported by the EU, to create a stable legal environment."