Smart Strategies for the Transition in Coal Intensive Regions

17 June 2019

The TRACER project was launched on 14-16 May 2019 in Finsterwalde (Germany), where the Kick-off meeting, stakeholder discussion as well as the first study tour took place. The EU-funded TRACER project aims to support nine coal-intensive regions, which are at different stages of their energy transition, to shape or fine-tune their Research and Innovation (R&I) strategies and exchange previous experiences in order to facilitate transition towards sustainable energy systems.

Coal is currently mined in 41 regions across 12 EU countries, making it the most abundant fossil fuel in the EU and a significant source of economic activity. Transition towards a low carbon economy implies significant technological, economic and social challenges, in particular for coal-intensive regions that have to adapt from fossil-based energy production to new clean alternative energy sources.

The TRACER project – throughout its 3-year duration – will facilitate the mobilisation of a wide range of stakeholders in nine European regions to discuss and agree on a shared vision and priorities for coal transition. TRACER draws on the European Union’s “Smart Specialisation Strategy” (S3) approach and Entrepreneurial Discovery Process (EDP) focused on the coal-intensive regions, while for the energy technologies the R&I priorities of the EU’s SET Plan will be taken into consideration.

The TRACER project is coordinated by WIP Renewable Energies and consists of 15 consortium members from eleven countries: Germany, Greece, UK, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria and Belgium. The corresponding “target regions” of the TRACER project are: Lusatia Region (Brandenburg DE40 and Dresden DED2), West Macedonia (EL53 - Greece), Wales (UKL1, UKL2), Southeast Region (BG34 - Bulgaria), Jiu Valley, West Region (RO42 - Romania), Kolubara region (Serbia), Donetsk region (Ukraine), Upper Silesia (PL22 - Poland), North West Bohemia (CZ04 - Czech Republic).

Already on 8-9 April 2019 the TRACER project was presented to a large number of stakeholders at the 4th Working Group Meeting of the “Platform for Coal Regions in Transition” in Brussels. It was agreed upon to establish close cooperation links and exploit synergies of activities implemented in the framework of the TRACER project and the “Platform for Coal Regions in Transition”.