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Smart strategies for the transition in coal intensive regions

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - TRACER (Smart strategies for the transition in coal intensive regions)

Berichtszeitraum: 2020-10-01 bis 2022-09-30

The EU has set itself a long-term goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% compared to 1990 levels by 2050. In view of these objectives, the Member States are in a disadvantageous position due to the current state of the technologies used and the available local energy resources. These specificities must be taken into account when planning and implementing the national and/or regional energy strategies. The EU's decision to move to emission-free technology is not subject to discussion and it is therefore necessary, taking into account the difficulties of these regions, to anticipate and propose the energy policy that is in line with the tasks. These regions need an effective roadmap to make the necessary transition to a more diversified economic base and a more sustainable energy system, while safeguarding the social cohesion for communities and regions dependent on coal production.
The overall objective of the TRACER project (H2020; Contract No. 836819; is to support a number of coal-intensive regions around Europe to design (or re-design) their Research and Innovation (R&I) strategies in order to facilitate their transition towards a sustainable energy system. Nine (9) European regions are involved in this procedure, 6 of them in EU Members States (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Poland, Romania), and 3 in countries outside the EU (UK, Serbia, Ukraine). Policy makers in these regions – the so called ‘TRACER target regions’ - were assisted to develop, implement and review their R&I strategies by providing information, developing methodologies, expertise and advice. The main outcomes of the TRACER project, i.e. a set of blueprints and tools for Member States, Associated Countries and regions, assisted the target regions to identify short- and medium-term solutions to help their transition to a more future-proof business model. The TRACER project lead to new and deepened cooperation in R&I between coal intensive regions that will facilitate their transition to a more sustainable energy system.
In conclusion, the TRACER project was very successful as it opened the way for new cooperation opportunities in the target regions. In addition, the TRACER project elaborated a high number of reports and implemented many stakeholder mobilisation actions in 9 coal regions in transition. The TRACER project helped to support the overall just transition process in 9 coal regions in transition via the entrepreneurial discovery process (EDP). Developed Research and Innovation Strategies as well as Shared Visions of Transition were important achievements of the project.
The TRACER project was implemented from 1 April 2019 to 30 September 2022 (42 months). The following work has been performed and the following results have been achieved:

- Best practice factsheets on technologies, industrial roadmaps and transition strategies wereelaborated (12 factsheets)
- Best practice report on smart specialisation strategies and SET plan implementation actions was elaborated
- Best practice report on financing was elaborated
- Best practice report on labour markets, social issues and tourism was elaborated (report and 11 factsheets)
- Best practice report on environmental protection and post-mining land reclamation was elaborated
- Web-based platform for the presentation of best practice examples was created
- Report on outcomes and lessons learnt from the best practice examples was elaborated
- Report on the current role of coal mining and related policies in the TRACER target regions was elaborated
- Technical concepts for the transition of the energy system into a smart, sustainable and renewable energy system in the TRACER target regions wereelaborated
- Report on the environmental impacts and sustainable reclamation solutions in the TRACER target regions was elaborated
- Report on the social challenges and re-skilling needs of the workforce solutions in the TRACER target regions was elaborated
- Guideline on available European funds and programmes for low carbon energy projects in coal intensive regions was elaborated
- Plan for the entrepreneurial discovery process in the target regions was elaborated
- A set of dissemination materials was prepared in the early beginning of the project
- Successful cooperation with the EU Coal Regions in Transition Platform is ongoing
- Three study tours were implemented for project partners and stakeholders (Wales, UK; Lusatia, Germany; Jiu Valley, Romania). In total app. 100 participants attended two study tours
- Report on potential coal transition investment an R&I projects and their financing opportunities in the target regions
- Analytical report on the outcomes of the mobilisation process in each region, assessing the views of different stakeholders on the region’s current situation, potential and challenges, and possible future actions
- Report in each region, setting out a broad vision and future oriented priorities
- Projections for the transition to 2030 / 2050 in the target regions
- Research and Innovation strategies
- Report on the needs for workforce retraining
- Roadmaps for the target regions
- A set of blueprints on the options and actions required to meet the target regions’ energy demands
- A set of Decision Support tools as guideline for stakeholders and on post mining landscape management
- Many dissemination activities were made in order to raise awareness among the different stakeholders and to promote the project
The expected potential impact categories of the TRACER project are:
- Lead to new and deepened cooperation in R&I between coal intensive regions that will facilitate their transition to a more sustainable energy system
- Contribute to reach the targets set in the SET-Plan (short to medium term, until 2030)
- Stimulate investment in the low-carbon energy sector (short to medium term, until 2030)
- Boost innovation-driven growth and industrial competitiveness, create opportunities for employment (long term, until 2050)
- Meet the COP21 targets and safeguard environmental protection (long term, until 2050)
- The TRACER project has managed to raise very significant interest at EU level amongst key stakeholders. Whenever abstracts or requests were submitted to important conferences (e.g EUBCE, EU Coal Regions in Transition Initiative), they were accepted and presentations showed a high degree of participation and engagement.In addition, significant interest was raised on the regional and national level.
- The TRACER brand became recognised as a best practice itself, which is obviously very beneficial to partners from the consortium to present their services. It is expected that a number of new inititatives and actions will live beyond the project’s termination. The established collaboration between many project partners will lead to new projects and initiatives, all with the aim of implementing the ongoing transition process in a just way