Introducing policies supporting investments to raising the share of energy from renewable sources and improving energy efficiency is mandatory for low-carbon economy transition. Regions have their role to play in this transition. In the Päijät-Häme region, two Interreg Europe funded projects, SME POWER – SMEs Powering a Low Carbon Future and RESINDUSTRY – Policies for Renewable Energy Sources in Industry, are jointly helping, together with local stakeholders, to develop related regional policies focusing on industry and SMEs.
The Finnish partners of SME POWER, led by Heinola City, and RESINDUSTRY, led by LAB University of Applied Sciences, organized the 3rd Regional Energy Stakeholder Group web-meeting on 14th October 2020. The virtual session gathered altogether 15 stakeholders and was filled with important information and insights from projects activities.
News from the Regional Council
First, Juha Hertsi, Development Director of the Regional Council of Päijät-Häme outlined the latest development of national and EU recovery funding efforts addressing COVID-19 crisis. The Finnish recovery package coordinated by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment for the years 2020-2021 will count 160 million EUR that will be directed, among others, to employment and aid for enterprises. What it means for businesses and other stakeholders in practice is still evolving.
On the EU level, the major recovery plan and instrument, Next Generation EU, is expected to provide a total contribution of 3.2 billion EUR for Finland. Support for green transition (i.e. eco-efficiency, bio- and circular economy) and promotion of sustainable growth with investments on RDI – as well as the strengthening of sustainable infrastructure and digitalization – will be among main action lines in distributing the funds.
The Climate Roadmap of Päijät-Häme was approved on 12 October 2020, informed Maarit Virtanen, Climate Specialist from the Regional Council of Päijät-Häme. The region is committed to ambitious goals on mitigating climate change by reaching carbon neutrality by 2030, which requires significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions at all sectors. That is indeed directly connected with both projects’ goals, leading into close cooperation with the Council on this topic. The work on the regional climate road map is a part of the Canemure project funded by the EU Life Program.
Study Results and Good Practices
Related to the Climate Roadmap, the RESINDUSTRY project presented the outcomes of the recent study on biogas potential in the region, proving that huge potential for decreasing emissions and increasing cost-effectiveness exists in Päijät-Häme.
By exchanging experience and sharing good practices, regions can learn from each other. Therefore, both RESINDUSTRY and SME POWER introduced good practices from other European partner regions. From the presented examples, the stakeholder group will select those, which could be transferred and adopted in Päijät-Häme. More detailed work with the stakeholders on analysis and distribution of good practices will continue in the future events of both projects.
The presentation of good practices related to carbon neutrality, energy efficiency and renewable energy complemented the earlier presented green recovery efforts and climate actions on the EU, national and regional levels.
Jaana Myllyluoma who acts as a Senior Adviser in FCG Finnish Consulting Group and coordinates the SME POWER activities on behalf of Heinola City.
Katerina Medkova who works as an RDI specialist at LAB University of Applied Sciences and Project & Communication Manager in the RESINDUSTRY project.
Link 1. Interreg Europe. 2020b. Project Summary. SME POWER. [Cited 15 Oct 2020]. Available at: https://www.interregeurope.eu/smepower/
Link 2. Interreg Europe. 2020a. Project Summary. RESINDUSTRY. [Cited 15 Oct 2020]. Available at: https://www.interregeurope.eu/resindustry/
Link 3. European Council. 2020. A recovery plan for Europe. [Cited 16 Oct 2020]. Available at: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/policies/eu-recovery-plan/
Link 4. European Commission. 2020. The pillars of Next Generation EU*. [Cited 16 Oct 2020]. Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/info/live-work-travel-eu/health/coronavirus-response/recovery-plan-europe/pillars-next-generation-eu_en
Link 5. Päijät-Hämeen Liitto. 2020. Hiilineutraali Päijät-Häme 2030 Ilmastotiekartta. [Cited 16 Oct 2020]. Available at: https://paijat-hame.fi/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Paijat-Hameen-ilmastotiekartta.pdf
Picture 1. Homegrounds.co. 2020. White and Black Number 8. Pexels. [Cited 16 Oct 2020]. Available at: https://www.pexels.com/photo/white-and-black-number-8-5200281/
Picture 2. Myllyluoma, J. 2020. Printscreen of the Regional Energy Stakeholder Group participants.