The conference, organised by DG ENER and DG REGIO, brought together European decision-makers and representatives from coal, peat, lignite and oil shale regions (“coal+ regions”) as well as carbon-intensive regions to discuss making use of European tools to facilitate just transitions. European Commissioners and leaders from coal+ regions will address, among other things, implementation of just transition and the Just Transition Fund, current energy price spikes, and future-proof economies.
Below you can find a list of resources and outcomes from the event.
Opening the event, Commissioners Elisa Ferreira and Kadri Simson will address the implementation phase of the Just Transition Fund as well as the impact of high energy prices and the need to accelerate the transition to reduce Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels. Thereafter, they will engage in a panel discussion with various stakeholders and discuss how the EU policy framework and supporting mechanisms can help regions and citizens in the just transition, within the current energy crisis. They will also discuss how we can involve key stakeholders in the development of a vision for a green and futureproof economy, to ensure that the accelerated transition away from fossil fuels can be achieved without leaving anyone behind.
Involvement of citizens in just transition process is key. As Member States and regions move from the preparation to the implementation stage of the Just Transition Fund (JTF), the next immediate challenge is to increase stakeholder involvement and impact on the JTF implementation and its effective monitoring. During this interactive session, the participants will highlight the challenges faced by regions to involve different types of stakeholders, as also outlined in the Scoping Paper prepared by the Just Transition Platform (JTP) Working Group on Horizontal Stakeholder Strategy. They will also present solutions (e.g. existing good practices, tools and initiatives) to meaningfully engage different stakeholder groups.
This session will provide an update on relevant EU policy developments, the broader activities of the Coal Regions in Transition Initiative and various instruments funded by the European Commission designed to facilitate a just transition in coal, peat and oil shale regions across the EU. Featuring both facilitators and beneficiaries of the Technical Assistance for a Green Energy Transition programme (TARGET), the exchangeEU programme and the World Bank’s technical assistance programme for Polish coal regions, this session will explore the lessons learned and experiences made so far. It will also be an opportunity to learn more about the future activities of the initiative such as the newly launched calls under the START technical assistance and the exchange EU programmes.
While there is no ‘one size fits all’ for a just transition, carbon intensive sectors such as steel, cement and chemicals often face common challenges in terms of employment, skills or governance. In addition, sector coupling and industrial symbiosis are potential decarbonisation strategies for carbon intensive sectors. Due to these commonalities, the sharing of experiences and knowledge is crucial for the implementation of a just transition in carbon intensive regions. In this session, the technical, organisational and governance requirements for industrial symbiosis strategies between sectors will be discussed by experts in a panel discussion. This will also include best practice examples of cross-sector networking platforms. The aim is to explore the impact of cluster and industrial symbiosis strategies on regional development and a just transition.
Previous Just Transition Platform events have discussed a variety of clean energy technology options for coal regions, such as district heating, hydrogen, decarbonising energy-intensive industry, and repurposing of coal-fired power plants. Beyond these, further technological solutions are becoming more feasible, such as using geothermal heat from closed (underground) coal mines and installing large-scale heat pumps for district heating networks or industrial heat consumers. In this session, these and other newly clean energy emerging technologies will be presented to inspire stakeholders to take innovative and complementary approaches to make use of existing infrastructures.
Transitioning to a climate neutral economy will have considerable social and employment-related impacts, which will vary across regions and sectors. Now, that regions are entering into the implementation of the Just Transition Fund it will be essential that changes within the employment market are anticipated at the regional, company, local or sectoral level. To ensure a Just Transition that leaves no one behind, a particular focus must be put on ensuring job-to-job transitions for the current workforce through the reskilling and upskilling programmes and through providing for adequate education and training systems for future generations.
Social dialogue and collective bargaining systems play an important role when it comes to the anticipation of change linked to systematic and tailor-made skills planning on the ground, as demonstrated in various countries, sectors and companies. The session will look into how social dialogue can help JTF regions anticipate skills demands and transition opportunities for workers. It will showcase concrete cases of skills anticipation agreements with the objective of managing the transition process and mitigating negative impacts on the employment market.
The 6th Just Transition Platform (JTP) Conference takes place at a critical moment right ahead of the winter period, when rising energy prices are acutely felt by European households and businesses. At the same time, many Member States have their Just Transition Fund programmes and Territorial Just Transition Plans adopted, allowing them to unlock additional support to alleviate the impacts of the transition. To master the challenges ahead and seize the opportunities in the months and years to come, we will need a strong and proactive community that drives transition and thrives through it.
In this session, the audience will be given the time and space to collectively reflect upon what they have heard so far at the JTP Conference and how they aim to concretely translate it into their most imminent activities. The session will also allow reflections on expectations and concrete needs not only from policymakers, but also from each other to create momentum for change and to boost a strong and growing community.
To unlock and implement Just Transition Mechanism (JTM) resources, Member States are preparing Territorial Just Transition Plans (TJTPs) for the most negatively affected territories. As Member States and regions move into the implementation stage of Just Transition Fund programming, their focus shifts to the creation of a strong project pipeline that could be funded by the JTM or other funding sources. Key partners involved in the transition and preparation of TJTPs in selected EU regions will present planned projects of strategic importance, as foreseen in their TJTPs. In addition, examples of implemented or ongoing transition projects will be presented by their owners to inspire attendees from coal and carbon-intensive regions to develop similar ideas in their regions.
Energy poverty is a reality in the EU, where many households struggle to heat or cool their homes or to pay their energy bills on time. High energy prices of the past year have increasingly been affecting European households and businesses and have worsened the situation for the most vulnerable groups. This session will focus both on the problem of energy poverty and the solutions to it, focusing on energy efficiency measures, a community approach to energy production, and the role of prosumers. We will dive into recent EU policy responses to combat the surge of energy poverty, provide information to public authorities on how to tackle energy poverty, and present projects that demonstrate innovative solutions to tackle energy poverty in these times of crisis.
Over the last few months, the European Commission has adopted Just Transition Fund (JTF) programmes including the Territorial Just Transition Plans (TJTPs) in several Member States and regions, marking a shift from the preparation to the implementation stage of the JTF programming. The JTF grants are to be spent in line with the approved TJTPs. This will entail the development of calls for expression of interest, the selection of projects, and finally the execution of the projects. Designing clear and well-informed selection criteria will be a crucial step to ensure that the projects selected are impactful, and contribute to the objectives and priorities set out in the regions’ TJTPs.
This session will address these considerations, showcasing examples and good practices in the design of selection criteria. Participants and speakers will discuss ways to select the best and most relevant projects for their regions and ensure a transparent, efficient and inclusive selection process.
The European Commission launched the EU Mission on Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities to deliver the climate neutrality of 100 European cities by 2030. In light of this ambitious goal, practitioners from cities of various size and starting points will share concrete examples and next steps to inspire transition process in regions benefiting from the JTM. As local stakeholders and citizens are drivers of the climate transition, cities participating in the EU Mission will explore innovative governance methods to build inclusiveness, trust and legitimacy of the necessary climate actions at the local level. In this session, a number of cities from the Mission on Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities will present their place-based practices and measures to attain a just transition towards climate neutrality. The session will also investigate levers and challenges specific to coal and carbon-intensive regions. These relate to setting up the Climate City Contracts, such as the multi-level governance dialogue, multi-stakeholder partnership, and bottom-up and participatory approach.
The session will close with reflections on the outcomes and ways forward from the 6th Just Transition Platform Conference.
Interview with MEP Susana Solis Solís Perez
Interview with Iztok Mori - From coal to climate neutrality: just transition in Velenje (SI)