The Hungarian coordination hosted the 9th Steering Group Meeting of the Energy Priority Area in Budapest, on 4th December 2014, with a record number of members being present, from 13 countries and regions.
In his opening speech, the Hungarian National Coordinator, Ministerial Commissioner István Joó emphasized, that the Strategy is no magical remedy that offers solution to all challenges of the region, however, if we set up realistic expectations as in the case of Priority Area 2, it could offer great potential to turn regional challenges into regional opportunities. Mr Mihajlo Junger, Chargé d'Affaires, Embassy of Ukraine in Hungary expressed his view that the EU Strategy for the Danube Region is a serious and influential body of maintaining stability and security in Europe. At the same time, the countries of the Danube Region are among the key EU member states that have strategic importance for Ukraine on cooperation in the diversification and convergence of energy markets. The new Executive National Coordinator from the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic, Eliška Gerthnerová was introduced to the Steering Group members, who welcomed the participants.
The Chief Advisor to the Hungarian Priority Area Coordinator, Szilárd Árvay outlined the results, achievements and developments happened since the last SG Meeting in July 2014. Vladimír Bláha, the Czech Priority Area Coordinator summarized the activities of the Czech coordination. Marco Onida, team leader and Ann-Jasmin Krabatsch from the European Commission (DG Regional and Urban Policy) evaluated the activities of the priority area, then Ádám Szolyák from the European Commission (DG for Energy) presented the latest developments and current state of play in the North-South Interconnections (NSI) East.
After that, Szilárd Árvay summarized the results of the START project fund pre-selection. The progress made with the Danube Region Biomass Action Plan (Norbert Kohlheb from SZIE) and the Danube Region Geothermal Concept (László Orosz from MFGI) were presented, as well as the results of the ‘Contribution of gas reverses flows to the security of supplies in the Danube Region’ (Vladimír Bláha) and the ‘Danube Region Energy Markets Transparency Analysis’ (Pál Ságvári, ME) were introduced in detail.
In the afternoon session Tobias Eisele representing Baden-Württemberg presented the Serbian-Baden-Württemberg partnership on bioenergy, the ‘Learning Energy Efficiency Networks (LEEN) in the Balkan Region’ project and the idea of a Hydro-energy Cluster. This was followed by a presentation on Guiding Principles of Sustainable Hydropower Development in the Danube Basin from ICPDR (Raimund Mair). The participants also received information on the recent developments of the Danube Transnational Programme from Mr Imre Csalagovits and on the energy related calls of the HORIZON2020 from Ms Zsuzsa Mokry.
Posted by Kinga Máté, Tuesday, 18th November 2014 @ 10:51am
The Energy Priority Area and Szent István University co-organized a one-day workshop on 13th November 2014 in Budapest. Nearly 30 institutions from 7 Danube region countries were represented.
The aim of the event was to discuss the DANUBIOM biomass project concept that targets the improvement of sustainable bioenergy use with multinational co-operation in the Danube Region. The finalized project will be submitted for funding in the 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework.
The aim of the macro-regional project is to define criteria of an environmentally sustainable and energy efficient bioenergy utilization in the Danube Region and rank most common technologies according to their sustainability performance, assist the development of a sustainable bioenergy infrastructure with a well-functioning bioenergy market and propose necessary harmonization of policies. In order to achieve these complex goals, the project envisages, inter alia, establishing a bioenergy statistical database, creating a sustainability assessment tool characterizing sustainable value chains and also providing up-to-date planning practices.
Following the opening speeches by the National Coordinators and Priority Area Coordinators from the Czech Republic and Hungary, detailed information was provided to the participants about the Danube Region Biomass Action Plan, the DANUBIOM project concept and its financing possibilities, such as the newly established Danube Transnational Programme and other repayable and non-repayable sources. Following this, the participants shortly presented themselves. In the afternoon session the participants received information about the Environmental Technology Network Danube Region and the Regional Sustainable Energy Policy Project, then they discussed the project concept and their possible role in the future project consortium. Based on these inputs, the concept will be further developed and sent to the participants for consideration by the beginning of next year.
Click here for the introduction of the participants and please find the agenda & presentations below:
Posted by Kinga Máté, Tuesday, 21st October 2014 @ 11:17am
The Energy Priority Area of the EU Danube Region Strategy together with Szent István University is about to launch the DANUBIOM biomass project, based on the results of the Danube Region Biomass Action Plan. More info about the action plan can be found at: http://www.danubebiomass.eu/
In a one-day workshop at 13 November 2014 in Budapest, hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, the participants will finalize the project concept and establish the project consortium. The primary mission of the DANUBIOM consortium will be to improve sustainable bioenergy use with multinational co-operation in the Danube Region. The project consortium will apply for financing in 2015 from the newly established Danube Transnational Programme or other EU funds to execute the project itself.
Please find the concept and the workshop agenda below:
Posted by Kinga Máté, Monday, 13th October 2014 @ 9:59am
Please be kindly informed that the Czech Republic and Hungary are about to organise the 9th Steering Group Meeting of Priority Area 2 (Sustainable Energy). The event will take place in Budapest at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on 4 December 2014 from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm.
The Czech coordination hosted the 8th Steering Group Meeting of the Energy Priority Area in Prague, on 9th July 2014. The ongoing concepts of the PA2 were presented by the experts as well as some new project proposals were accepted by the SG for future development. In order to enhance the cooperation to improve energy security in the region, a Joint Declaration has been accepted by the SG.
In his opening speech, State Secretary Tomáš Prouza emphasized, that energy is a top priority in the light of the current political developments. Energy security has utmost importance, especially for this region.
As a significant result, a Joint Declaration was accepted in the Meeting by the Steering Group to enhance cooperation in order to improve the energy security and energy infrastructure of the region, as well as to reach a well-functioning energy market with the integration of the non-EU Member States of the Danube Region Strategy. This achievement is the first milestone for an enhanced future cooperation between the Danube Region countries.
The new Czech priority area coordinator, Mr Vladimír Bláha was also introduced to the SG Members, and he summarized the activities of the PA2 during the Annual Forum of the EUSDR. The Hungarian Priority Area Coordinator, Ambassador Anita Orbán outlined the results, achievements and developments happened since the last SG Meeting in December 2013. The newly appointed Hungarian National Coordinator, Mr István Joó emphasized the importance of embedding the priorities of the PA2 into the National Operational Programmes of the countries. In his opening speech the NCP stressed that the work of the PA2 is more important than ever, taking into consideration the recent developments at the EU’s eastern border. Mr Joó gave a summary on the conclusions of the foreign ministerial meeting that was held in the margin of the Annul Forum of the EUSDR in Vienna aiming to improve the governance of the Strategy.
The progress made with the Danube Region Biomass Action Plan, the Danube Region Smart Grid Concept and the Danube Region Geothermal Concept was presented, as well as the latest publications, the Renewable Electricity Market Monitoring in the Countries of the Danube Region and The Potential Use of the Flexibility Mechanism of the RES Directive in the Danube Region were introduced in detailed.
Several new project proposals were introduced and also accepted. The REMIT proposal aims to analyse the effects and implementation of the Regulation on the Energy Market Integrity and Transparency in the Danube Region Countries. The Czech project, RESTEP is for the optimisation of the renewable energy investment planning in the region. Two other proposals were aiming to assess the contribution of gas reverse flows to the security of supplies and to analyse the potential for integration of the gas markets in the Danube Region respectively.
Please find the accepted Declaration and the presentations below:
The 2014 FIFA World Cup starts today with the participation of 3 Danube Region countries, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Germany. We wish good luck and many goals to all the teams, and great fun for the fans.
To the invitation of the Central European Initiative, Szilárd Árvay, advisor, presented the activities of Priority Area 2 at the Danube-INCO.Net (an FP7 Coordination and Support Action) Task Coordination Meeting in Trieste on 29 May. The presentation was focused on the major renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives of the Priority Area: the Danube Region Biomass Action Plan, the Danube Region Geothermal Concept and the Danube Region Energy Efficiency Concept.
The Priority Area 2 and the Embassy of Hungary in Stockholm organised a seminar entitled ’The Baltic Sea Region Strategy and the Danube Region Strategy via the lens of Energy Cooperation’ under the Visegrad Group Presidency of Hungary, that took place in Stockholm, 2nd April 2014. The aim of the event was to facilitate a cooperation of the two macro-regional strategies and to provide an opportunity to exchange experiences of the implementation. The seminar, which was executed in cooperation with the European Commission Representation in Sweden, was one of its kind in initiating a dialogue of the macro-regional strategies. The speakers, both from the EUSBSR and the EUSDR and the European Commission as well, introduced the work and main achievements of the respected Priority Areas. The PA2 of the EUSDR was represented by the Priority Area Coordinator, Ambassador Anita Orbán, who presented the latest results, policy concepts and value added of the PA2.
Please find the presentations of the speakers below:
The Priority Area 2 and the Regional Centre for Energy Policy Research (REKK) were invited to Brussels by the European Commission to give a guest presentation about the newly published Danube Region Smart Grid Assessment Report. The Smart Grids Task Force Steering Committee meeting took place at the 2nd of April and was co-chaired by Mr Klaus-Dieter Borchardt (DG ENER) and Mr Paul Timmers (DG CNECT). Szilárd Árvay from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Hungary gave a short overview about the Strategy and the activities of PA2 first, then Zsuzsa Pató, a senior researcher from REKK presented the main findings of the Report. The presentation generated several questions from the audience resulting in a fruitful discussion.
In a meeting with Dr. Anita Orban, Hungary’s Ambassador-at-Large for Energy Security, Speaker Boehner continued to push for expanding U.S. natural gas exports as a tool to weaken Vladimir Putin’s energy stranglehold on Europe.
“We’ve got real friends over in Eastern and Central Europe that need our help,” Boehner said prior to the meeting, held in his ceremonial office. “The best way we can help them is to help supply their energy needs, so they’re not as dependent on the Russians.”
Dr. Orban noted that Hungary was one of four central European nations that recently sent a letter to the Speaker last month urging action on this front. “Speaker Boehner responded to our call immediately,” Orban said, adding, “The voice of the United States Congress is widely heard in Central and Eastern Europe.”
Earlier in the afternoon, Dr. Orban testified at a House Energy & Commerce subcommittee hearing. Here is a key excerpt from her testimony:
“By liberalizing LNG exports, by eliminating the legal and administrative obstacles to the free trading of this vital, domestically produced commodity, the United States would provide fast and long-lasting protection for its allies against the most important dangers of natural gas dependency. Moreover, it would also enable them to act more freely in assisting Ukraine in case of an energy crisis developed there. … It is important to note that this is an elegant, yet very effective tool, which is relatively cheap to use. It incurs no threat of loss of life, not even a disruption of economic activities: it is only a removal of a self-imposed barrier.”
Szilárd Árvay, advisor presented the activities of the Priority Area and the Danube Region Biomass Action Plan on a conference in Timisoara on 19 March. The ‘Perspectives of the Use of Regional Bioenergy Potentials’ conference was organised by the State Government of Baden-Württemberg, supported by Priority Area 8 and the 4motors network, composed of Baden-Württemberg, Catalunya, Lombardy and Rhône-Alpes. After a short overview of the Danube Region Strategy, the participants received information about the currently published studies of Priority Area 2, then the conclusions and main findings of the Biomass Action Plan were summarized.
István Joó, chief advisor and Szilárd Árvay, advisor travelled to Brussels on 6th March to inform the European Commission and other stakeholders about the achievements of the Priority Area. They met with Paula Abreu Marques, Head of Renewables and CCS policy Unit (DG ENERGY), Jan Panek, Head of Internal Market III: Retail markets; coal & oil Unit (DG ENERGY) and other representatives from DG Energy, DG Regio, the Joint Research Center, the European Parliament and the European Geothermal Energy Council. They distributed the publications of the Priority Area: the Danube Region Gas Market Model, the Natural Gas Storage Market Analysis, the Smart Grid Assessment Report and the Danube Region Biomass Action Plan. They also gave an overview on the Danube Region Geothermal Concept, the Potential Use of the Flexibility Mechanisms of the RES Directive and the Renewable Electricity Market Monitoring.
A Seminar under the title ‘On the experiences of the implementation of the EU Baltic Sea and the Danube Region Strategies – Sharing best Practices’ is going to take place in Stockholm, 2nd April 2014. The event is organised by the PA2 in cooperation with the Embassy of Hungary in Stockholm and the European Commission Representation in Sweden.