A full day for sustainable energy: to speed the deployment of sustainable energy policies! Sharing knowledge, experience, success and failures, this is why members get together at AER meetings. Why? Because this is a proven method to deploy solutions which work.
Know your Enemy!
The AER working group on energy carried out a stakeholders analysis exercise in the morning. This exercise allows to identify the different stakeholders which will be involved in a particular challenge and list their interests. Although interests more than often compete, allowing these different interests to be expressed instead of ignoring them in order to “simplify the problem” is key. It helps indeed to identify the forces in favour and the forces against and, in fine, propose solutions.
Ragnar Nordgreen, County Councilor in Oppland (NO) and member of the working group from Oppland (NO) explained “the work achieved here has real impact: it allows us to progress, both back in the region and at European level. Typically this exercise enabled targeted experience sharing today but is also a very concrete tool we bring home”.
In the afternoon participants were invited to join an Energy Battle at the House of Dutch Provinces. The event sought to answer the following question: are the regions which deploy top energy strategies in terms of energy transition frontrunners because they are supported by the European Union or because they were strong enough to develop solutions despite potential burden from the EU?
The highlight of the event was a serious game revealing the diverging interests and need for compromise and negociation in the deployment of any energy strategy. The serious-but-very-enjoyable game had been developped by EnTranCe, a hub for applied sciences for businesses and innovation in Gelderland (NL) and was an efficient way to discuss the main competing priorities in terms of energy strategies:
-profit: money, money, money
-people: citizens, voters, urban or rural populations etc
-planet: the one we live on, some call her Mother Earth
-balance: sustained provision of energy
-production: more is more
Rob van Eijkeren, Head of Office House of the Dutch Provinces who moderated the event said Energy is a priority on which we all need and can do better, “this is why we organised this event, some of us have focused more on energy efficiency, while others are doing great on renewables, if we want the energy transition to happen now we have to invest in mutual learning across Europe.”
On the same day, AER published its report entitled “Energy security from a regional perspective” lead by Kenneth Backgård (Norrbotten-SE) which was handed to EU Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete responsible for climate action and energy. The content and structure of the report were discussed within the working group and especially counted with the inputs of Gelderland (NL), Oppland (NO), Languedoc-Roussillon (FR), and Hampshire (UK).
As the report states, successful efforts to improve energy security require effective multilevel governance. Dialog and transparency in policy development and infrastructure plans are key factors for achieving this.