On 27-28 September 2012, the ENERGYREGION project hosted an international conference entitled: “Local communities and municipalities as a driver for energy transformation in Central Europe”. The conference took place in Niestetal, near Kassel, Germany, at headquarters of SMA Solar Technology AG which is the global market leader for solar inverters required for operating photovoltaic plants. The conference was an excellent opportunity for sharing the experience of communal agents and players from European countries on concrete projects in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency. 80 people from Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia attended the event and gained a transnational insight into the situation of local communities and public utility companies. Special attention was paid to the role of citizens and local cooperatives in the development and promotion of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency.
In particular the presentations on different energy projects realized locally, like the local heat cooperative in Cölbe, Germany and the passive house school in Stoszowice, Poland but also energy initiatives of Alheim and Ottersberg, were appreciated. In addition, the competence center Hessen Rohstoffe (HeRo) (link: http://www.hero-hessen.de/wai1/showcontent.asp?ThemaID=622 ) and the Jugendwerkstatt Felsberg (link: http://www.jugendwerkstatt-felsberg.de/energiebildung/ ) presented the educational possibilities in the youth and adult sector on renewable resources and energy. Pictures from the wind art ‘moved wind’ (link: http://bewegter-wind.de/ ) and the KlimaX , an exhibition of cartoons on climate change, (link: http://www.caricatura.de/171.html?&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D= 168&cHash=503097ebe735649b
) gave the event the cultural framework.

During the conference three field excursions took place: 

  • local heating network in Schönstadt where the 8-MW-CHP plant, fueled by scrap of the local sawmill, is managed by the cooperative of citizens, exclusively founded for this purpose
  • Fraunhofer IWES test centre for smart grids and e-mobility which develops new supply and operation procedures for smart low and medium voltage grids. Not only inductive charging of e-cars and their supply with renewable energy are investigated there but also renewable energy storage and hybrid systems.
  • public utility company in Wolfhagen which sets trends in the participation of its citizens in energy projects and was distinguished for its „energenial“ concept at the national contest “energy efficient city”. The excursion included LED Showroom for street illumination, photovoltaic fields and wood gas power plant.
The excursions were an excellent opportunity to see sustainable energy highlights of the area of Kassel and served well as a summary of the conference. The presentations of the conference can be found here and the detailed programme here.
The ENERGYREGION project will host the next transnational conference in the Czech Republic in June 2013. Topics will concern energy efficient construction and modern technological solutions for generating energy and their application in residential and commercial buildings.

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