European Week of Regions and Cities
7-10 OCTOBER 2019 Brussels

No country is an island: cross-border strategies for a clean energy transition

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Tue 8, October 2019
09:15 - 10:45
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Neither climate nor energy recognises national borders. However, public policies are implemented within national frameworks that vary between countries. Cross-border territories, which are laboratories for European integration, are the places where these differences come up against one another, but also where new cooperation opportunities emerge. Some initiatives across EU terrestrial and maritime borders have shown it is possible to develop a shared sustainability strategy to deal with common challenges together, pool infrastructures and manage shared natural resources.

As a cross-cutting issue, the energy transition can be usefully addressed in cross-border contexts, by adopting the cross-border area as the level of action.
In fact, energy transition strategies do not only involve the production of energy, but also transport, territorial development, and the management of natural areas and hazards.

This workshop aims at further recognising the potential for cross-border cooperation in this unexplored field. Four case studies will illustrate some of the lessons they learned and how obstacles were overcome locally.

1. The marine renewable energy sector in the Euroregion Nouvelle-Aquitaine-Euskadi-Navarra represents an opportunity to investigate the conditions for a win-win strategy in the field of MREs. The NAEN Euroregion is directly involved in several projects (‘BlueSare’ and ‘Acoustic around ocean energies’). We will explore how this innovative approach may have an impact in this emerging sector at EU level.

2. The Strasbourg-Ortenau Eurodistrict represents a model for experimenting with different citizen engagement approaches regarding renewable energies. In partnership with the trinational network ‘TRION climate’, a forum on geothermal energy -open to both experts and citizens- was established. The Eurodistrict is also collecting all the most successful climate initiatives from local authorities of its network under a French-German booklet, which will be published in Sept 2019.

3. Only 80 km separate Tallinn from Helsinki in the Gulf of Finland. This cross-border passenger sea connection is already one of the most heavily trafficked in the world and both regions are looking for new solutions to reduce the environmental impact of maritime transport. The low-carbon PASSAGE project is one of the  answers. The Union of Harju County Municipalities (Estonia) is also involved in several projects combining both large infrastructure (FinEst link) and ‘softer’ actions (FinEst Smart Mobility).

4. The Haut-Rhin Département, at the border with Germany, is home to France's oldest nuclear power plant, Fessenheim, which is set to shutdown in 2020. Experiments in the field of renewable energy and new cross-border transport connections are already planned, as part of an ambitious local plan.

Leyre Azcona, Kaarel Kose, Lioba MARKL-HUMMEL, Georges WALTER
A greener Europe
Conseil départemental du Haut-Rhin, EGTC Eurodistrict Strasbourg-Ortenau, Euroregion Nouvelle-Aquitaine-Euskadi-Navarra, MOT (Mission Opérationnelle Transfrontalière)
Building SQUARE - Brussels Convention Centre, Room Silver hall.
Address: Mont des Arts, 1000 Brussels

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