The kick-off meeting from the Horizon 2020 project SDHp2m took place on 22nd and 23rd February in Erfurt, Germany. It was hosted by the Thuringian Ministry for Environment, Energy and Nature Conservation, also partner in the project.
SDHp2m stands for Solar District Heating (SDH) and actions from policy to market. The project aims at developing, improving and implementing advanced policies and support measures for SDH, leading to a significant market rollout during its three year duration. The participation of the regulating regional authorities as project partners in the three focus regions Thuringia (DE), Styria (AT) and Auvergne Rhône-Alpes (FR) ensures a strong implementation capacity and the development of these regions as role model for others. In six follower regions in Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Poland and Sweden the regulating authorities are engaged through letters of commitment. Denmark, first SDH market in Europe is involved for organizing know-how transfer and coaching between partners. The participation of the European and German district heating associations as partners also ensures the continuation of a good cooperation with DH operators at European level. ‘The policy and support instruments of the SDHp2m project, will be available as blueprint for developing solar district heating in other European regions’ says Thomas Pauschinger, project coordinator from the Steinbeis Research Institute Solites.
In each region, a stakeholder advisory group will be created, gathering market and policy actors to identify the actions to be taken to enable a market roll-out of SDH, plan and implement them at regional level. The planning of activities by local actors at regional level will ensure the development and implementation of ideas adapted to the local framework. On the other hand, thanks to the international level of the project, know-how and experience from frontrunner regions are available and will be used.
This first meeting marked the starting point of an intense cooperation between the EU regions involved and already within these two days, the exchange was fruitful. Surely every region can learn from the differences in policies and frameworks in the others, but also some common triggers and challenges, such as weak regulations, availability of land areas and financing have been identified, giving them common working themes for the next three years.
It appeared clearly in previous SDH projects that it is really important for stakeholders to learn about already realized activities in the field and to have peer-to-peer contacts before making decisions. This European project creates the framework for such opportunities as excursions to experienced countries, international coaching activities and events are planned all along the project duration. ‘It will be important to show to the policy makers and market actors of our region that other EU regions are implementing SDH for fulfilling their climate protection commitments.’ said Dr. Martin Gude, head of the energy and climate department of the Thuringian Ministry for Environment, Energy and Nature Conservation.
Already on 21st and 22nd September 2016, the project partners invite to the 4th International Solar District Heating Conference in Billund, Denmark. You can find more information on solar district heating activities, the SDHp2m project and the Conference on www.solar-district-heating.eu.