European research projects on energy transitions in coal mining and carbon-intensive regions gathered on Tuesday, 24 January 2023, in Brussels for a Horizon Cluster Workshop organized by the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA).
The objective of the event was to identify synergies and strengthen the cooperation between the various projects, avoid duplication of research studies and share learnings with EU policy makers. Ricardo García Mira (Coordinator) and Douglas Thompson represented the ENTRANCES project in the event.
During the workshop, Ricardo Garcia Mira introduced the objectives, methodology and approach of the ENTRANCES project, focusing on the theoretical and empirical understanding of cross-cutting issues related to SSH aspects of “Clean Energy Transition”, as well as the main findings of the case studies. Douglas Thompson introduced the dissemination plan of the project, including policy briefs, paper publishing, press releases, and upcoming events.
The event was deemed successful and fruitful by all participants. The workshop contributed to a significant exchange of knowledge and collaboration between research projects, which will ultimately benefit EU policy making and contribute to the goal of achieving a clean energy transition in coal mining and carbon-intensive regions.
A new edition of the Entrances Newsletter has been published. Beside the traditional Foreword by the Project Coordinator, Ricardo Garcia Mira, describing the current situation of the project, this edition also presents a short introduction and insight to the 13 Case Studies developed by Entrances – 7 focused on Coal Mining Regions and 6 on Carbon Intensive Regions. Additionally, this edition also includes a set of brief conclusions and comments on the 5 Entrances SSH dimensions of analysis (Socio-ecological; Socio-technical; Socio-economic; Socio-cultural; Socio-Psychological; and Socio-Political), based on the work already developed and, in particular, the joint work developed during the Co-Creation Session held in Rome, dedicated to “Co-creating knowledge on coal+ regions in transition: Towards an interdisciplinary understanding of territorial change in the context of the clean energy transition”– also detailed in the Newsletter.
On the margins of COP27 conference, which took place under the Presidency of Egypt in Sharm-el-Sheik from 7 to 18 November 2022, the European Union organised more than 120 Side Events on site at the European Pavillion and online.
The “Coal and Carbon Intensive Region in Transition(s) in Europe and Beyond” (CCIR) Side Event was jointly organized by the Horizon 2020 project ENTRANCES, along with its sister projects CINTRAN, TIPPING+ and TRACER and held virtually on 14 November 2022. The session was moderated by Diana Magalagiu, professor and researcher at Oxford University, Neoma Business School and the Global Climate Forum. ENTRANCES coordinator Ricardo Garcia Maria (Universidade de Coruña)participated in this Side Event along with Giovanni Caiati (Knowledge & Innovation) and Marcela Norena (Women Engage or a Common Future). The objective of this Side Event was to initiate a debate among key stakeholders, researchers, scientists and policymakers on just transition and decarbonization of CCIRs, while mitigating economic, environmental and societal risk and contributing to a sustainable development of the regions.
The Side Event allowed for a broad discussion on the processes of transition across Europe (and beyond), addressing their barriers, challenges, driver and emerging opportunities amid changing energy policies, geopolitical influence and environmental issues. Balbina Gluza-Czyczerska, a policy assistant at the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy of the European Commission (DG REGIO) and coordinator of the Just Transition Platform, emphasized the EC’s commitment to support a Just Transition for CCIRs and “leaving no one behind”, especially considering the increased calls for energy independency and need to speed up the process of clean energy transition.
ENTRANCES coordinator Ricardo Garcia Maria focused on the social aspect of transitions in CCIRs in his intervention at this Side Event, explaining to the audience how ENTRANCES seeked to develop a theoretically-based and empirically-fundamented understanding of cross-cutting issues associated with the processes of transition. This multidimensional approach encompasses, among other cross-cutting issues, the gender dimension and the comprehension of the region-specific energy-gender nexus.
The event ended with a Q&A session with questions from the audience, which included doubts about the meaning of just transition given the war in Ukraine, renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency measures.
Finally, the speakers exposed the key messages from their respective projects, focusing especially on stakeholder engagement and how innovation, knowledge integration and facilitation depends on cooperation between all stakeholders.
The full report and conclusions from this Side Event can be found on the ENTRANCES website. The report includes chapters dedicated to the following topics:
The EU commitment to the Just Transition
Going beyond carbon neutral through positive tipping point (J. David Tàbara, principal investigator of the TIPPING+ project)
The case of Indonesia and its energy transition (Takeshi Takama, CEO of su-re.co and formerly at the TIPPING+ project)
Implementing change and involving all stakeholders (Rita Mergner, coordinator of the TRACER project at WIP Renewable Energies)
“Justice” is elusive, but injustices are tangible (Lukas Hermwille, coordinator of the CINTRAN project)
Facilitating the transition in a co-creation context (Ricardo Garcia Mira, professor of Social Psychology at the University of A Coruña and coordinator of the ENTRANCES project)
You can also watch the full “Coal and Carbon Intensive Regions in Transition(s) in Europe and Beyond” Side Event on the EU Climate Action YouTube channel here.
In ENTRANCES, gender is seen as a cross-cutting issue and essential variable that contributes to a better understanding of the principal socio-economic, socio-technical, socio-ecological, socio-cultural, socio-political, and socio-psychological challenges that coal and carbon-intensive regions in a transition phase. The integration of gender into the research design and analysis aims, on the one hand, to identify gender inequalities and gaps that need to be addressed in the phase-out process, and on the other hand, to reflect on the gendered social and power structures created by the existing coal system and how they might operate to support or obstruct the transition.
Therefore, the overall objective of this report is to analyse the gender dimensions and their interaction with other social dimensions in the transition in coal and carbon intensive regions and to formulate policy recommendations for achieving transformative change and a gender just transition. This report takes up the general research questions of the project and aligns them with the issue of gender. In particular, the following questions are considered throughout the report:
1. Which gender-related challenges are coal and carbon-intensive regions in transition facing?
2. Are women and men developing different coping strategies? 3. What are the regional transitional trajectories regarding gender?
4. What kinds of gender strategies and policies are needed in order to achieve success in terms of re-territorialisation?
The Gender Analysis Report is available to download and read here.
The 13 case studies represent one of the most important milestones of the project and its overall objective of developing a theoretically-based and empirically-grounded understanding of cross-cutting issues related to SSH aspects (socio-economic; socio-technical; socio-ecological; socio-cultural; socio-political and socio-psychological; and gender related) of “Clean Energy Transition” in the selected 13 European coal mining and carbon-intensive regions.
The 13 case studies and are available to download and read. Please find free access to all case studies here.
The ENTRANCES project partners are delighted to see that the Upper Styria case study has recently been published in the Austrian newspaper “Der Standard”.
The article reflects how the shift away from CO2-intensive economies, such as the local steel industry in Upper Styria, is bringing about major changes for the region. The 13 case studies of the project are mentioned, along with the distinction between coal-intensive and carbon-intensive regions, and how the methodological approaches put in place in ENTRANCES aim to create comparable findings across all of the 13 case studies.
The article also addresses a number of challenges specific to the Upper Styria region, such as a decline in an already ageing population and an image problem of the industry that originated in the 1980s, which stands in contrast to the reality of a flourishing industrial sector with a growing demand for human resources.
Please find the full article and more information on the Upper Styria case study here
On 13 October 2021, Smart Citizens for Decarbonisation, an online webinar was successfully held. Aiming at reflecting on the social effects of decarbonisation policies, several interesting experiences from mature European carbon-intensive territories were shared in the event.
On 13 October 2021, Smart Citizens for Decarbonisation, an online webinar was successfully held. Aiming at reflecting on the social effects of decarbonisation policies, several interesting experiences from mature European carbon-intensive territories were shared in the event. Participants made presentations about the role of regional and local government in promoting inclusiveness and citizen’s engagement when combatting the undesired effects of decarbonisation.
Professor Garcia-Mira from University of A Coruña was the keynote speaker of the event. In his presentation, Professor Garcia-Mira showed us a conceptual approach to integrate the socio-economic-psychological change of the energy transition into the regional innovation planning process by introducing the concept of engaging citizens. He gave answers to several questions in his speech such as what engaging citizens are and what incentives the governments and society could provide to booster citizen engagement. A change in the governance of the system which requires informed and responsible citizens alongside laws that regulate citizens’ participation, are, from his view, what is needed in order to engage citizens. One specific project called ENTRANCES can be a perfect example of how to involve citizens. It is a project that requires a set of co-creation scenarios to achieve the transition of clean energy in the social aspects. The project has different objectives in many aspects of society hence, it requires a multidimensional and interdisciplinary perspective to resolve the problem. He elaborated on how they will bring together different members involved in the project across regions. In the end, he presented an interesting case about coal mining regions and carbon-intensive regions, illustrating how different countries, regions, industries and organizations can work together to cope with challenges.
Through this, people got to know more about the real experience of conducting projects. One story was presented by Jan Sienkiewicz who has been working for the Regional Development Agency in Bielsko-Biała for 17 years. In his sharing, he introduced his tasks and initiatives in relation to sustainable development and low emissions that have been carried out in the agency. Furthermore, he showed us how the city cooperates with different regions and agencies by joining the Covenant of Mayors. Several interesting environment-related projects that local governments and citizens are currently taking part of were presented as well by Jan Sienkiewicz.
What cannot be ignored when we analyse regional economy and innovation is the power of the youth. In this section, Mr Kostas Karamarkos, co-founder of Just Transition Institute Greece, made a presentation about views on decarbonization. The context is that by 2028, all ignite power plants will cease to operate in Greece resulting in the loss of many jobs in this industry as well as adverse impact on regional economy. He expanded this issue to the role that the youth may play. He said that despite the financial crisis and the fact that many young people are leaving their hometown, young people are still the main driver for innovation and thus should be the target of actions and funds. The society should invest on the youth via universities. He explained how Just Transition Funds can help and support the youth to overcome the structural changes that are happening now.
Another story shared to participants is about decarbonization and employment in which Ms Émeline Beaume encouraged the audience to live a green life and governments to offer citizens more carbonized services. She also introduced a training course that has been set up since last July named “Biogas Maintenance Technician,” which is about ecological transition aimed at giving people job opportunities. It is of great importance for everyone in their own territory as she emphasizes, to take actions about employment in the context of ecological transition. Ms Natasa Djordjevic, the Assistant Director of the Regional Agency for economic development of Sumadija in Serbia, also addressed and expanded the topics of skills and employment and talked about resolutions of her agency in dealing with the issue. The event ended with a question-and-answer portion with the panelists.
Coal regions in the Western Balkans, Ukraine and the EU are invited to join an exchange programme to accelerate just local energy transitions. The programme is an opportunity for regions to start direct, one-to-one dialogues, connect with different stakeholders, learn from each other, and transfer knowledge.
The call for applicants who wish to join the peer exchange programme was launched at the initiative’s annual meeting on 24 June 2021. Coal regions in the EU, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo[*], Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Ukraine are invited to participate in the exchange programme. EU regions that are former coal regions, or are frontrunners in relevant fields (e.g. renewable energy technology, smart specialisation) are also welcome to apply.
Participating regions will be paired based on their interests and expertise, and will select topics relevant to coal phase-out to be explored in-depth. Priority will be given to forming pairs made up of one coal regions from the Western Balkans or Ukraine and one coal region from the EU. However, this is flexible and needs-based.
All participating regions will benefit from funded study visits, knowledge exchange, and expert support. In addition to tailored expert support, regions will access advice from their peers through hands-on learning opportunities, and will gain access to tools and support to help them reflect on and evaluate their transitions so far, and map out their next steps.
Interested applicants are invited to apply by 15 September 2021. Information on eligibility and application process is available at the programme’s webpage.
The co-creation meeting promoted by ENTRANCES Horizon 2020 Project will take place next 10th of June from 11h00 to 15h30 (CET).
The main objective of this meeting is to trigger and help drive dialogue to ensure that the results of the ENTRANCES project support EU policies, produce policy recommendations to tackle the multiple challenges faced by communities and contribute to bridging the current knowledge gap for supporting the re-territorialisation of regions and territories that risk stay left behind in the transition towards clean energy.
It is divided into the morning session, where the recent impacts of the EU policies and the ENTRANCES project will be discussed; and the afternoon session, which will be focused on the exchange of experiences among European and International coal and carbon-intensive regions in transition and among European research projects focused on these issues.
Representatives of the European Commission, EU Coal Regions in Transitions Initiative, European and International coal and carbon-intensive regions, other related Horizon 2020 projects, and European researchers and academics will participate and share their ideas and thoughts.
The event also gathered several distinguished individuals including Dirk Beckers (Director of INEA), Aleksandra Tomczak (Member of Cabinet of the Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans at the European Commission), and Peter Berkowitz (Head of Unit, DG REGIO – Smart and Sustainable Growth). The concept of Just Transition regions and the Just Transition Mechanism were explained by the EC representatives including aspects of the Just Transition Fund implementation and the platform.
Following the know-how sharing and development sessions, the projects got the opportunity to present and showcase the key challenges undertaken by each in the context of Clean Energy Transition. Towards the end of the workshop, a dedicated session on coordinating dissemination actions between all four projects was held in which the projects jointly presented how they are cooperating on grounds of website management and updates, newsletter development, social media cross-dissemination, among others.
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