excavator, mine

Study on just transition

This study on energy transition in coal-mining regions shows that increasing renewable energy development in coal-mining regions can support local value creation, including increased jobs, and foster an economically sustainable transition away from coal. IFOK, the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW) and other research and consulting organizations* conducted this study on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

Replacing coal-fired power plants with large-scale solar and wind power

Experts from several research and consulting institutes recommend more intensively leveraging the potential of renewable energy in coal-mining regions. In particular, combined solar and wind hybrid plants present substantial opportunities. These solar-wind-hybrid plants could be developed step-by-step in the region and use existing grid capacity, while reducing coal-based power generation. Furthermore, the report recommends further developing plants with so-called power-to-X technology, that is, the conversion of electricity into gas or heat, specifically in open-cast coal-mining areas. “Such facilities will play an important role in the future energy system for storage or other uses of intermittent excess electricity from wind or photovoltaics,” says Martina Richwien of IFOK, who led the study.

Stronger focus on the potential of the coal-mining regions for structural change

“In the debate on structural change, the potential of the energy transition is still paid little attention,” says Bernd Hirschl from the Institute for Ecological Economic Research (IÖW). In this study, Mr. Hirschl calculated the extent to which jobs and local value creation could be generated from wind and solar energy. “The existing infrastructure and expertise in the regions present the opportunity to develop the coal mining regions into energy transition model regions – corresponding with their respective requirements. If local actors collaborate with the respective federal states and the federal government, this could result in significant local value creation and employment.”

Working together locally

“The development of this potential can only be achieved locally and together with the regional actors who live and work with the changes on the ground,” Martina Richwien emphasizes. “For example, the question of the availability of suitable land must be answered through local dialogue. Here, it is important to integrate further ideas on land use and find possible supporters in order to leverage the substantial employment potential, especially in the Lusatia region. ”
Experts who developed this study point out that for a successful transformation of Germany’s coal-mining regions, specific measures are required, in which federal, state and local governments work together. For example, special tenders would be required to ensure that installations are targeted in these regions. For these areas to profit economically, substantial engagement is required from municipalities, companies and local citizens.

Case study on Lusatia: several thousand jobs possible

The report calculated the specific regional economic potential of transforming the Lusatia coal-mining region towards an energy transition. With an ambitious expansion of wind energy and photovoltaics, for example, around one thousand full-time jobs could be created in this area alone. This estimate does not include any effects from producing solar panels themselves, which already employs more than one thousand people today. Moreover, additional jobs can be created from transition in the electricity, heating and transportation sectors – from biogas to solar thermal energy to power-to-gas, and in areas such as public transportation, car-sharing, e-mobility and autonomous driving.

The study can be downloaded here.

* IFOK and the Institute for Ecological Economy Research, short IÖW, together with: Deusche WindGuard GmbH, Solarpraxis Engineering GmbH and Prognos AG as well as Becker Büttner Held PartGmbB for legal aspects.


Plattform Industrie 4.0

Digitization creates opportunities and challenges for the industrial sector in Germany. Flexibility, individualization and efficiency are driving forces of German businesses that need to be considered in an increasingly digital world.

New forms of “digital economy and digital labour” offer great economic potential, but simultaneously demand innovative solutions to address implementation challenges.

The “Digitalplattform Industrie 4.0”, initiated by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), aims to enable a target-oriented dialogue concerning Industrie 4.0 among actors from the political, economic and scientific sectors as well as associations. Relevant topics will be identified, societal effects analysed and a necessary implementation framework will be created.
IFOK, together with VDI Technologiezentrum GmBH, oversees the secretariat of Platform Industrie 4.0 on behalf of the BMWi. In addition to the organization and implementation of thematic working groups, IFOK is responsible for communications and events as well as providing key points of contact.

Industrial Internet Consortium and Plattform Industrie 4.0 drive digital transformation forward

Industrial Internet Consortium and Plattform Industrie 4.0 drive digital transformation forward
Plattform Industrie 4.0 and the Industrial Internet Consortium promote the digital transformation together.

At the SAP Headquarters, in Walldorf / St. Leon-Rot, more than 300 experts came together for the second joint meeting of Plattform Industrie 4.0 and the Industrial Internet Consortium on 21st September 2016. The two initiatives pooled their expertise to accelerate the digitalization of industrial production. The two partners want to secure the compatibility of their respective reference architectures and facilitate companies’ access to test environments.

IFOK’s role: IFOK and the VDI Technolgiezentrum GmBH are charge of the secretariat of Plattform Industrie 4.0 on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
You can find more information here.

Mayors Adapt

The Mayors Adapt initiative was launched by the European Commission, building on the success of the Covenant of Mayors in climate change mitigation and aiming to meet the goals of the European adaptation strategy. This pan-European initiative supports cities in their climate adaptation activities, fosters knowledge-exchange between cities and offers cities a platform to present their activities.

Signatory cities of the Covenant of Mayors develop climate adaptation plans, or integrate these into existing policies and plans. The Mayors Adapt initiative supports their work with technical expertise and targeted tools, and progress is measured every two years. Communication on their engagement is also a key area of support from the initiative, where cities receive the opportunity to exchange ideas and network among each other, and are provided with a platform to present and gain media attention on their activities.

IFOK oversaw all communications activities of this pan-European project from early 2014 to the end of 2016. This include both the centralised communications and public relations activities (e.g. website development, EU-level public relations, social media communications), as well as support of cities in their decentralised communications work (development of guidebooks, provision of written materials, communications coaching, inquiry management, etc.).
IFOK also managed all events within the project, from event design to implementation and moderation. This included workshops with city represents from across Europe on the further development of the Mayors Adapt initiative to meet city needs; a high-level opening event in Brussels with EU Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, multiple mayors, stakeholders and the press as well as three pan-European conferences of signatory cities and mayors together with high-level representatives of European institutions.

Picture © Mayors Adapt