The 5th and final stakeholder workshop of the RES-TMO project was held online on May 5, 2021 and was titled “Regional Energy Transformation through Increased Cross-Border Cooperation: Challenges and Opportunities”. It was organized by Dr. Marie Mangold of WP4 together with the project manager, with the support of TRION-climate.
In the introduction, Dr. Marie Mangold and Prof. Philippe Hamman presented the work package 4 (WP4), “Analysis of Socio-Cultural Framework Conditions and Integration of Stakeholder Perspectives”. They emphasized the numerous activities that took place over the course of the project including previous stakeholder workshops, five stakeholder meetings, and many stakeholder interviews and case studies from the three countries. Among the preliminary results were the attestations of the attendees of the usefulness of the events in terms of pedagogy. However, the events did not lead to cross- border cooperation initiatives due to the difficulty in aligning the regulatory framework of the three countries involved and funding limitations.
Three expert presentations were given by guest speakers. Ms. Vulla Parasote, the general director of TRION-Climate, gave the first expert presentation focusing on “Energy cross-border cooperation in the Upper Rhine Region: Best practice overview and perspectives for future projects”. Ms. Parasote started by recapping the long history and tradition of cross-border cooperation that exists in the region especially when it comes to hydropower projects. She presented different examples of successful regional cross-border cooperation energy projects, including hydro, geothermal, PV, biomass, and hydrogen production. She also gave an overview of the current state of EU regulation that might affect the funding of the projects and emphasized the need of specificity in defining future projects.
Mr. Harald Höflich from the Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Energy of Baden-Württemberg gave the second expert presentation titled “CALORIE Kehl–Strasbourg -Cross-border use of waste heat from a steelwork”. Mr. Höflich presented the cooperation project in the works between the city of Kehl in Germany and the city of Strasburg in France. The project entails the extraction and distribution of a large amount of waste heat from the steel factory in Kehl which will be fed into both Strasburg’s and Kehl’s district heating networks, that in turn supply heat to many households and factories. In addition to technical details and the schematic of the project, Mr. Höflich also talked about the environmental advantages of using industrial waste heat and the implementation and technical obstacles of such a massive project. He also gave a timeline of the project that included expected and completed milestones. When summarizing the project, Mr. Höflich listed some observations such as the large expenses and complexity of heat extraction projects especially in a cross-border context, the need for the engagement of all partners and promotion programs for consulting and project management, and the fact that establishing a cross-border heat alliance is challenging but worthwhile in the long run.
Finally, Ms. Coline Lemaignan from Alter Alsace Énergies gave the presentation titled “Citizen energy cooperatives: which opportunities for cross border development”. Ms. Lemaignan offered an insight into her experience with citizen energy cooperatives especially from the French point of view. She attested that while in Germany citizen cooperatives have long been established, they are relatively new in France. She talked about the importance of not only involving citizens in local energy projects but also making them stakeholders that directly invest and benefit from the economic enrichment of their region. She also mentioned that cross-border cooperation bottom-up projects could be more successful if one of the countries participating is chosen as a base and another possibility is the creation of a company that joins the involved parties.
The three presentations were followed by an interactive session where the workshop participants were divided into two groups with the aim of invoking a rich dialog between the members about the workshop topics. In the end, the findings that resulted from the two groups’ discussions were summarized and presented to all the participants by a designated speaker and the workshop was concluded.