Project summary

SUPPORTING THE CLEAN ENERGY TRANSITION OF COAL-INTENSIVE REGIONS

The low-carbon energy shift of EU economies will have a profound economic & social impact on regions extensively involved in coal value chains. It is however acknowledged that this transition needs to be fair; EC’s "Clean Energy For All Europeans" package was set in place to speed the clean energy transition and growth & job creation. To this end, DeCarb will support public authorities to initiate efforts, join forces and exchange experiences to: a) identify growth strategies to mitigate the impact of decarbonisatoin, b) make the most of EU funds & financing tools, and c) promote public dialogue on conflicting interests.

 

OBJECTIVE

DeCarb brings together 9 partners (9 countries), to exchange experiences & transfer knowledge on how to transition from the carbon-intensive era towards the clean energy future. It will support regions to secure sustainable development, economic & societal stability, and a role in the 2030 energy mix.

 

EXPECTED IMPACT

- Increased capacity of 200 staff of public administrations to effectively support new growth trajectories & energy security

- ~19 million euros unlocked to support projects on renewables, reskilling of the workforce, and post-mining land use

- Increased awareness & consensus building among the energy sector, the workforce, and citizens, to support measures for the clean energy transition (over 1000 individuals).

 

MAIN OUTPUTS & BENEFICIARIES

- 9 action plans to improve the addressed policy instruments, benefiting managing authorities & beneficiaries

- 2 interregional workshops, 3 site visits and 1 EU-wide policy learning event to promote capacity building among partners and stakeholders

- 16 policy briefs to transfer lessons learnt to EU public authorities

- 1 Training toolkit on the development of energy mix scenarios for regions undergoing decarbonisation

- 4 joint thematic studies and analyses reports on territorial needs and decarbonisation pathways

€1,807,739.00

from 1 Jun 2018
to 31 May 2023
Topic

Low-carbon economy

Partnership

Lead Partner
Partner

What policy instruments does the project address?

OBJECTIVES & RELEVANT MEASURES

The Operational Programme (OP) "Regions in Growth" 2014-2020 comprises 6 Thematic Objectives (TOs), aiming to realise at regional level the National Regional Development Strategy (NRDS) 2012-2022, covering all six NUTS 2 level areas in Bulgaria. The OP places strong emphasis on energy efficiency and environmental protection, putting in place an integrated approach for sustainable development (mostly urban) and increased cohesion. The shift towards a low-carbon economy is addressed by TO4.

 

To this end, DeCarb will address:

Thematic Objective 4: Supporting the shift towards a low-carbon economy in all sectors

Investment Priority 4c - Supporting energy efficiency, smart energy management and renewable energy use in public infrastructure, including in public buildings, and in the housing sector

 

REASONS FOR IMPROVEMENT

The OP pursues increased energy efficiency and share of renewables in the energy mix (NRDS sets the target at 16%), to support growth & development; it does not however address two crucial emerging issues:

- For at least half the country, coal/lignite activities are a very strong component of regional economies; the phasing out of coal (prescribed by the Clean Energy for All Europeans package) will have profound impact on development & cohesion progress

- Technical and operational expertise on renewables is still low, hampering the transition of the workforce towards the clean energy sector

Which partners are working on this?
  • Stara Zagora Regional Economic Development Agency

OBJECTIVES & RELEVANT MEASURES

The Regional Operational Programme (ROP) for Lodzkie (LR) includes 12 Thematic Objectives (TOs), comprising the regional strategy to implement the EU strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, and to achieve economic, social and territorial cohesion. TO4, namely “Supporting the shift towards a low-carbon economy in all sectors”, is focused on increasing the share of renewable energy sources in the fuel & energy balance of the region (shifting away from coal and fossil fuels), so as to: a) reduce emissions to the atmosphere, soil and water and the amount of pollutants and waste generated, and b) increase the energy security of the Lodzkie Voivodship.

 

In particular, DeCarb will address:

Thematic Objective 4: Supporting the shift towards a low-carbon economy in all sectors

Investment Priority 4a: Promoting the production and distribution of energy derived from renewable sources

 

REASONS FOR IMPROVEMENT

- The ROP needs to be adapted to the Clean Energy for All Europeans EC package, to update its environmental, energy production, and sustainable development targets & criteria; at the time being, the region falls behind in renewables share and reducing CO2 emissions.

- The ROP does not focus on the social impact of phasing out coal in terms of employment in regional value-chains; thus, the shift to a low-carbon economy needs to be strengthened with specific measures and processes.

Which partners are working on this?
  • Lodzkie Region

OBJECTIVES & RELEVANT MEASURES

The Environmental and Energy-Efficiency Operational Programme (KEHOP) 2014 - 2020 for Hungary comprises the national strategy to increase energy and resource efficiency, by directly strengthening the environmental dimension of sustainability, while contributing substantially to the promotion of economic growth. KEHOP foresees measures to support the transition to a low-carbon economy, under its Priority Axis (PA) 5, which focuses on renewable energy production and distribution.

 

In particular, DeCarb will address:

Priority Axis 5: Increasing energy efficiency, using renewable energy sources

Investment Priority 4 (a) i: Support for the production and distribution of energy from renewable sources

 

REASONS FOR IMPROVEMENT

KEHOP acknowledges the need to address the issue of Hungary’s energy vulnerability by decreasing dependency on fossil-fuels imports and increasing energy efficiency, and to further reduce CO2 emissions. The policy instrument can be improved in the following areas, to better achieve these targets:

- Better pursue the phasing out of lignite and brown coal power production, to increase energy efficiency and reduce climate change emissions

- Focus on the large-scale introduction of renewables rather than smaller initiatives

- Harmonise targets for renewables’ share in the energy mix with the Clean Energy for All Europeans package

Which partners are working on this?
  • ENEREA Eszak-Alfold Regional Energy Agency Nonprofit Ltd.

OBJECTIVES & RELEVANCE

The Regional Operational Programme (ROP) for Romania includes 9 Thematic Objectives (TOs), comprising the national strategy for the socio-economic development of all regions of Romania, particularly focusing on economic growth, employment, businesses, health, natural & cultural heritage, education, and tourism. The shift towards a Low-carbon economy is addressed by TO4, but specific provisions related to pollution and land restoration are included in TO6.

 

To this end, DeCarb will address:

Thematic Objective 4: Supporting the shift towards a low-carbon economy in all sectors

Thematic Objective 6: Preserving and Protecting the Environment and Promoting Resource Efficiency

Investment Priority 6e: Taking actions to improve [..] regeneration and decontamination of brownfield sites (including conversion areas), reduction of air pollution and promotion of noise-reduction measures.

 

REASONS FOR IMPROVEMENT

- TO4 does not currently deal with the energy production and grid infrastructures required to valorise renewables’ installations, and consequently phase out coal without disturbing energy stability and security; Romania is facing problems with the transmission and distribution of energy from renewables, thus impeding the clean energy transition.

- TO6 foresees land restoration, but there are not any concrete measures and criteria for the selection of projects for post-mining land uses, in spite of the intensity of coal-mining activity in the country.

Which partners are working on this?
  • South-West Oltenia Regional Development Agency

OBJECTIVES & RELEVANT MEASURES

The Brandenburg Energy Strategy 2030 defines the regional energy policy of the Brandenburg state during the transition to a low-carbon economy, to achieve energy security, environmental sustainability and climate protection, profitability, and a stable energy supply in the national market. Field of Action 3 addresses issues related to energy from renewables, and Field of Action 4 focuses on improving the CO2 emissions of conventional energy sources (predominantly coal).

 

To this end, DeCarb will address:

Field of Action 3 – Sustainable generation from renewable sources

Action areas E to G

Field of Action 4 – Efficient low-CO2 conventional generation

Action areas I to J

 

REASONS FOR IMPROVEMENT

The Brandenburg Energy Strategy is currently under evaluation to improve its provisions and further develop its scope and actions, on the basis of developments in the energy sector and the territorial situation since its adoption in 2012. The main areas for improvement, as identified by the Ministry, are the following:

- Increase the rate of the low-carbon economy shift with measures that provide new perspectives for the economic sustainability of the regional energy sector, thus building consensus with key economic actors

- Address employment and social cohesion issues with the design and implementation of alternative growth trajectories

- Exploit CO2 reduction technologies as a bridge towards renewables

Which partners are working on this?
  • Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, State of Brandenburg

OBJECTIVES & RELEVANT MEASURES

The National Operational Programme for the European Regional Development Fund, 2014–2020, Innovative and Sustainable Enterprise Growth, comprises 4 Priority Axes focused on ensuring Denmark’s productivity growth and competiveness in the long term. It places particular emphasis on the areas of energy technologies in the transition to a low-carbon economy, to ensure the development of renewable-energy capacity and development-and-demonstration projects. The issues tackled by DeCarb are relevant to Priority Axis 3.

 

In particular, DeCarb will address:

Priority axis 3: Energy-efficient and resource-efficient enterprises (Thematic Objective 4 – Investment priority 4f: Promoting research and innovation in, and adoption of, low-carbon technologies)

 

REASONS FOR IMPROVEMENT

Notwithstanding Denmark’s (and Nordjylland region’s) performance in the area of renewable energy and decarbonisation, there is still room for improvement in the implementation of the country’s energy efficient planning through the operational programme:

- The participation of the private sector in renewable-energy power generation projects is still below desired levels

- The actions foreseen in the policy instrument do not specifically reach the existing coal-based sector and workforce, to complete the low-carbon transition by converting coal-fired plants to biomass plants

Which partners are working on this?
  • House of Energy

OBJECTIVES & RELEVANT MEASURES

The Regional Operational Programme (ROP) for Western Macedonia includes 10 Thematic Objectives (TOs), comprising the regional strategy to develop a competitive economy that prioritises sustainable jobs, high environmental standards, and social cohesion. TO4, namely “Supporting the shift towards a low-carbon economy in all sectors”, focuses on promoting research and innovation on low-carbon technologies required to reduce CO2 in the overburdened region, in order to meet EU2020 targets.

 

To this end, DeCarb will address:

Thematic Objective 4: Supporting the shift towards a low-carbon economy in all sectors

Investment Priority 4f: Promoting research and innovation in, and adoption of, low-carbon technologies

 

REASONS FOR IMPROVEMENT

- The ROP does not link the low-carbon transition to workforce reskilling needs, nor to sustainable growth through a clean energy sector, in spite of its overall focus on employment and social cohesion. The impact on local and regional value-chains is not specifically addressed; this is also the case with the challenges associated to post-mining land restoration, following the phasing out of lignite mining.

- The ROP has been drafted before the Clean Energy for All Europeans EC package, and sets lower requirements for CO2 emissions and low-carbon technologies; in addition, it does not take into account the increased rate by which coal needs to be phased out, and the need to further promote renewables.

Which partners are working on this?
  • Regional Association of Local Governments of Western Macedonia

OBJECTIVES & RELEVANT MEASURES

The Operational Programme (OP) for the Implementation of the EU Cohesion Policy in the Period 2014-2020 defines the Slovenian national strategy for its contribution to the EU strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The OP places specific emphasis on boosting growth, reducing poverty & social exclusion, strengthening research and development, and promoting energy efficiency. The issues addressed by DeCarb are covered by Thematic Objective 4.

 

In particular, DeCarb will address:

Thematic Objective 4: Supporting the shift towards a low-carbon economy in all sectors

Investment Priority 4a - Promoting the production and distribution of energy derived from renewable sources

 

REASONS FOR IMPROVEMENT

The OP national 2020 target is to increase the share of renewables in gross final energy consumption to 25%. Despite the investments made thus far in the clean energy sector, the country is still dependent on imported energy, and in light of further phasing out coal & lignite, Slovenian regions are in further need of energy infrastructures. To better support this target, the ROP can be improved as follows:

- Improve efforts to increase the number of projects and investments on renewable sources power generation

- Employ measures to increase the technical capacities of the workforce to engage more extensively in the clean energy sector

Which partners are working on this?
  • Energy Agency of Savinjska, Saleska and Koroska Region

OBJECTIVES & RELEVANT MEASURES

The Extremadura ERDF 2014-20 OP (Operational Programme) includes 8 Thematic Objectives (TOs), comprising the regional strategy to support the economic & social progress of Extremadura, based on an analysis of the regional productive structure and business fabric in relation to ERDF intervention areas. The issues tackled by DeCarb are relevant to TO4 (energy efficiency and renewables), since the significance of the region in the energy mix of Spain is well acknowledged.

 

In particular, DeCarb will address:

Thematic Objective 4: Supporting the shift towards a low-carbon economy in all sectors

Investment Priority 4c - Supporting energy efficiency, smart energy management and renewable energy use in public infrastructure, including in public buildings, and in the housing sector

 

REASONS FOR IMPROVEMENT

The OP recognises regional achievements on renewables, and pursues the further decrease of fossil-fuel dependency. Nonetheless, it leaves out of the picture the main problem of the energy sector in the region: economic unsustainability and sharp drop of clean energy jobs due to continuously decreasing revenues; as a result, progress has halted. To this end, the OP can be improved to:

- Provide regulatory support for economic and investment models that can make renewable energy sustainable (from a business point of view)

- Stimulate the deployment of new technologies through clean energy projects, to bring down supply costs and create/maintain jobs

Which partners are working on this?
  • Extremadura Energy Agency