Wrap-up of 2nd EUSALP Energy Conference, 02.10.2018
The 2nd EUSALP Energy Conference "Energy Transition in the Alps" took place on 2 October 2018 in Innsbruck. The conference was organized by the Energy Agency Südtirol-KlimaHaus, leader EUSALP Action Group 9, in cooperation with the Tyrolean EUSALP Presidency. The event brought together politicians, representatives of local, regional and national administrations as well as stakeholders, experts and civil society from the EUSALP regions and states to discuss current challenges of the energy transition in the Alps and possible solutions.
By 2030, EU member states are required to meet 50% of their electricity needs with renewable energy sources; by 2050, Europe's electricity production needs to be carbon-free. To reach these goals, a wide range of policy measures need to be brought on the way and they need to deliver. At the same time, the competences in energy policies are distributed among the EU, states and regions and local levels of the EU member states calling for greater coordination efforts between these governance levels. Transforming the energy system towards a more sustainable low-carbon sector is also a technical challenge: In addition to the "traditional" hydropower energy source in the Alpine region, electricity is increasingly produced by small and decentralized systems such as photovoltaic (PV) and wind power plants. Due to variations in weather and time of day, the power supply from renewables increases the volatility of the energy system. In order to curb these fluctuations and guarantee security of supply, the need for storage capacity will grow as renewables expand. Recent trends, such as the growth of the electro-mobility sector, the phasing out of nuclear energy and the reduction of coal-fired power generation point to a further push in the demand for electricity from renewable sources. The future energy system shall also meet ecological and landscape protection standards and needs to be responsive to social acceptance patterns.
Plenary session in brief
In short: The successful management of the energy transition is undoubtedly a cross-sectoral project that needs the participation and coordination of various actors and the implementation of measures in line with social, ecological and economic needs. The 2nd EUSALP Energy Conference served as platform to exchange about policy strategies, to foster cooperation in the Alpine region, to present good practices and to discuss further fields of actions in the energy transition. Josef Geisler, Deputy Governor of Tyrol and Energy Council Tyrol opened the conference and underlined the importance of the energy sector for the sustainable development of the entire Alpine region. Lukas Wernert, Political Assistant Directorate-General for Energy of the European Commission, gave an overview of the EU framework for the energy transition by 2050. Martina Schuster, Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism Austria, presented action fields of the Austrian Climate and Energy Strategy # mission2030 and Rudolf Escheu, Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs gave insights into the Bavarian energy policy. Deputy Secretary-General of the Alpine Convention, Marianna Elmi, explained the added value of the Alpine Convention for sustainable energy policies. The scientists Christoph Kost (ISE Fraunhofer), Wolfram Sparber (EURAC Research) and Marko Hočevar (University of Ljubljana) presented simulation models and studies that revealed further need for action in order to achieve the ambitious energy transition goals and presented possible fields of action. Case study presentations gave insights into how Alpine regions translate the energy transition into practice. Peter Obricht, Department of Environmental and Energy Economics Lower Austria, discussed the wind potentials and their limits in the Alpine region using the example of his federal state. Josh Roberts, REScoop, presented the role of energy cooperatives in the energy transition and Thomas Gasser, TIWAG, presented the hydropower potential in Tyrol. Till Saliari, Vorarlberger Kraftwerke AG, showcased the effects of growing electro mobility on the electricity grid in the region of Vorarlberg and Jean-Sebastien Bisch, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region, gave an insight into the regional strategy for the development of hydrogen mobility.
No energy transition without dialogue
During the conference, the EUSALP LIVE POLL “Energy transition now” was conducted. The poll gathered the conference participants’ opinions regarding the state of the energy transition in the Alps. The results of the poll are accessible in the document section below ("EUSALP LIVE POLL") The poll was conducted by Energiewende Oberland and gives insights into policy areas and issues that are perceived as having uncapped potentials, therefore representing action corridors for the energy transition.
The implementation of the European Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP) requires broadening the involvement to actors that support decision-making process. Alpine Space projects are one source of how energy policies can be implemented in innovative ways through enhanced collaboration and knowledge transfer in the Alps. Alpine Space projects showcased their work in a poster exhibition and three breakout sessions were designed for and by Alpine Space projects during the 2nd EUSALP Energy Conference. In breakout session 1 “ASP projects develop recommendations for the energy transition”, project representatives developed a set of common policy recommendations for the energy transition based on their project outputs. The recommendations were presented by Desiree Bua, from CSI Piemonte and Martina Sambale from eza! during the plenary session of the conference. Breakout session 2 "A look into the future: Establishing the EUSALP Energy Observatory" was organized by Patrick Biard, Auvergne Rhone Alpes Energy and Environment. In this session, Biard, EUSALP Action Group 9 member, presented the concept for an Alpine-wide energy data observatory that has the aim to support decision-makers to formulate, implement and verify the effectiveness of energy policies and measures in place. In breakout session 3 "Supporting the implementation of local sustainable energy action plans", Silvio De Nigris, Office for Energy Saving and Renewable Energy Piemont Region, presented the outputs of the Alpine Space project PEACE_Alps. The presentation was given using the online tool delivered to collect project approach, all success stories implemented and policy recommendations drafted to highlight the importance of centralized solutions for supporting the Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans of Local Authorities.
The final outcome documentation of the conference will be available shortly.