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Rethinking cross-border renewable energy between Bavaria and Austria

Marina Kuhn is the Head of Euregio via salina, responsible for cross-border cooperation across Germany and Austria in the Allgäu - Ausserfern - Vorarlberg area.

Carried by the vision “from border area to cross-border living space", the Euregio is committed to address the challenges faced by the people of their territory.

Therefore, when Marina and her team leant about the b-solutions initiative in a workshop organised last February by Interreg Bayern-Austria, they identified three problems affecting cross-border cooperation and applied to receive b-solutions’ support.

One of these border obstacles is related to cross-border renewable energy, a fundamental topic in the framework of the European Green deal.

Marina explains the problem and its consequences: “In Bavaria and Austria, there are different legal requirements for the construction of renewable energy plants for, for example, hydropower, photovoltaics or wind energy, and for the establishment of cross-border renewable energy communities or cooperatives. They are impediments to the development of the energy transition in the border region”.

b-solutions experts from the Austrian Institute for Regional Studies - ÖIR GmbH analysed the obstacle. In their reports with the title “Operation and distribution formats — Renewable energy plants”, the experts drew several long-term and short-term solutions to unlock the potential of energy communities and enable the cross-border sharing of energy. The long-term solution would be to change national legislations to include cross-border energy communities. In the short to medium term, the establishment of energy cooperative or the development of pilot projects in relation to energy production could be temporary solutions.

Marina shares how Euregio via salina’s experience in participating in b-solutions was like: “Our experience was very good. The experts made a great effort to focus the advice on our specific needs. b-solutions offered us the possibility to get a good overview on the topic, a basis on which the stakeholders can now build on.”

“It was also a great opportunity to bring people from both sides of the border facing the same challenges in contact and in dialogue. These personal contacts are very valuable for any future cross border projects. Therefore b-solutions was like a door-opener for us to bring stakeholders together for this specific topic”, she adds.

Looking at the practical results of b-solutions, Marina indicates: “the communities and mayors along the border got a tool-box and information sheet at hand with which they can develop cross border energy projects”.

Even if the task may not be easy, Marina concludes: “with b-solutions, we did the first step in what we believe is a promising field of cross border cooperation on the local level. We hope to be able to further support all communities along the border and to keep on developing projects and ideas in the area of cross border renewable energy.”


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