The transition to zero–carbon energy sources and technologies means new opportunities, but also brings many challenges with it. Ultimately, this process does not only affect regional, national, and European economic agents, but it impacts the whole economic fabric of Europe. This move is a complex one and must be managed and supported by well-grounded good practices, taking into account all factors relevant to carbon-based economies.
Next week two of this year’s most important events concerning decarbonisation of the European economies will take place. The first one will be held on the 29th of June: the presentation of the Just Transition Platform. In the form of an online conference, Commissioners Elisa Ferreira and Kadri Simons will explain in detail how they are going to assist and support regions, industries, workers, and citizens to overcome this process, attaining a fair and just transition that leaves no one behind. The second one will take place from the 1st of July until the 3rd, the Coal Regions in Transition Virtual Week, a series of Webinars aimed at regions dependent on carbon-intensive activities such as coal, peat and shale oil.
In January 2020, the Just Transition Mechanism was announced by the European Commission. Its purpose is to address the most vulnerable regions and societies in light of the upcoming changes in the relation between Europe and carbon industries. It will provide tailored financial and practical support to workers and societies with strong links to these activities to generate the necessary investments to undertake the greener transition established in the Commission’s Green Deal. The plan will focus on four different aspects:
On the other hand, the Coal Regions in Transition Virtual Week will take place during the subsequent days to give some insights about other aspects related to this transition. During the first day, the discussion will revolve around the effect on coal stakeholders of the new European policy context, the new EU budget for 2021-2027, and other funding and recovery plans such as the H2020 Life programme and the Innovation and Modernisation Fund. During the second day, the main topic addressed will be the clean energy potential of the regions in transition, or in other words, the potential of these regions to transform into green energy production hubs, thus taking advantage of their assets. Lastly, during the third day, some insights about the state of technical assistance and the delivery of toolkits will be given as well as a gathering of participants’ ideas and expectations for the future of the platform.
With the transition to a greener economy being a primary goal for the EU, EURADA is fully committed to it. Last May, the project ENTRANCES – ENergy TRANsitions from Coal and carbon: Effects on Societies – started up. This project is framed under the Horizon 2020 call Building a Low Carbon, Climate Resilient Future: Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy, especially under the topic Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) aspects of the Clean-Energy Transition (LC-SC3-CC-1-2018-2019-2020), and EURADA will participate with the engagement of a Board of Regional Stakeholders at European level and an international group of Peer Organisations from Outside Europe. The purpose of ENTRANCES is to research and analyse the challenges that the carbon-intensive and coal-mining regions are facing following a multi-contextual framework: 1) the de-carbonisation policies; 2) the ongoing processes of de-territorialisation; 3) the territorial dimension of clean energy transition. Overall, the social impact of the decarbonisation process on 13 European regions will be monitored through six different approaches: the socio-economic, socio-technical, socio-ecological, socio-cultural, socio-political and socio-psychological. Hence, the lesson taught by these regions will serve to attain fairness and sustainable transition in similar territories.
EURADA’s main role in the project is to use its broad network of experts to engage those regional practitioners working in carbon-intensive and coal-mining regions. On the one hand, a Board of Regional Stakeholders will be created, composed of over 50 regional practitioners from European regions facing the decarbonisation process. On the other hand, research on coal regions from outside Europe will be undertaken, with the ultimate purpose of setting up a group of Peer Organisations from Outside Europe to get to know the project and to contribute more points of views and experiences to the outcomes of ENTRANCES.
EURADA is relying on its network to better lead the project and to broaden its overall vision with valuable regional experiences that ENTRANCES will not cover with the 13 participating regions. The project will organise one methodological workshop, 13 regional co-creation meetings, and one EU policy co-creation meeting for participants to share good practices and experiences. EURADA’s Board of Regional Stakeholders, comprised of experts from carbon-intensive or coal-mining regions, will be invited to take part as speakers, to enrich the project’s vision.
EURADA will be glad to hear from those interested in taking part on the Board of Regional Stakeholders and sharing their experiences of undergoing decarbonisation from a social point of view with the ENTRANCES partnership.
To read about the Just Transition Platform and register to the Coal Regions in Transition virtual week, check this link.
To take part in the Board of Regional Stakeholders, you can contact our colleague Roser TORRES.
To read about the Final Report of the High-Level Panel of the European Decarbonisation Pathways Initiative, published in 2018, you can check this link.