Europe's Future: Energy and Enviromental Policy

A major part of the programme “Europe for Citizens” of the Heinrich Böll Foundation in 2017 is an intensified engagement with energy policy in Europe.

The transition towards a low-carbon economy implies the almost complete decarbonization of Europe's power sector. The European Union has an obligation to contribute to a more social energy policy in times where many people already face the consequences of climate change. An ecological transformation is at far sight. Therefore it is crucial to establish a European energy union and deepen the concepts of sustainable European energy policies.


Work in Progress – Energy Transition: The ecological modernization of power, transportation and heating
International Conference
June 28, 2017 – Berlin, Germany

Germany must continue on the path of ecological modernization. This is crucial to promoting innovation in the field of renewable energies, energy efficiency, energy storage and digitization, and to ensuring that Germany meets its internationally agreed climate targets. A further element is the transportation revolution, with environmentally sound drive technology and mobility options that meet the needs of as many people as possible.

Realizing the transition to renewable energy throughout Europe is a special challenge. This will require coordination between ambitious national measures, the requirements of common markets, and restrained energy policy dynamism at the European level.

“A work in progress: the transition to renewable energy” will give policymakers and experts from the worlds of business, industry and environmental protection the opportunity to discuss the future and integration of the power, heating and transportation sectors. The conference sees itself as a platform for dialog and networking that overcomes sector and national boundaries. It is intended to inspire everyone who is working to ensure the success of the transition to renewable energy. The conference is also designed to offer insights to those who are still skeptical.

The central questions to be covered by the presentations and panels include:

• How much Europe does Germany’s energy revolution need?
• Which business models fit to the transition to renewable energy?
• How much support in terms of industrial and employment policy will the transition require?
• How can we prevent risky investments in the coal industry?
• How will the German automotive industry position itself in the global transportation revolution?
• How can a socially just and climate-friendly transition in heating be realized?
• What are the most urgent energy-policy tasks for the next legislative period?

Heinrich Böll Foundation in cooperation with the Renewable Energy Agency (AEE) and support from Greenpeace Energy eG and Clean Energy Sourcing/Innowatio GmbH and NATURSTROM AG.


UniverSSE 2017: 4th European Social & Solidarity Economy Congress

International conference
9-11 June 2017, Agricultural University of Athens, Greece

The 4th European Conference for Social Solidarity Economy was organized by a wide range of actors from Greece and Europe, in Athens. Delegates and members from initiatives and networks from 20 European countries came together. Also activists, members of national networks, cooperators and researchers participated in a favorable environment and a very interesting event. The conference offered a plattform for the exchange of ideas, practices and experience, where a common narrative and strategy for SSE at the Greek and European level could be developed.

The organizational team which took the initiative for the preparation of this international meeting consisted of Social Solidarity Economy entities and networks with the support of other organizations and foundations:

  • Dock ‘Social Solidarity Economy Zone’
  • Efimerida ton Syntakton – EfSyn (The Journalists’ Journal)
  • Hub (Komvos) for the Social Economy, Empowerment and Innovation
  • People’s University of Social Solidarity Economy
  • Nationwide Coordination of Solidarity Schools
  • - The Initiative of cooperation for Social Solidarity Economy
  • Coordination of KOINSEP in Athens
  • Festival for Solidarity and Cooperative Economy

Heinrich Böll Foundation Greece supported as a collaborating partner the overall congress and co-organized in particular 2 sessions:

  • Round-table: “Creating a favorable institutional framework for energy cooperatives: modern trends in Greece and Europe”
  • Panel: “Making laws work for the development of SSE: comparing experiences between Spain, France and Greece”


European Perspectives 2017 –

Blog and E-Book
all-year long – Berlin, Germany

Germany has drawn a lot of international attention for its aim to switch to a renewable energy economy and leave nuclear and fossil energy behind. A lot of the international reporting about the German Energy Transition, or Energiewende, has, however, been misleading – for instance, when it comes to the role of coal power, energy price trends, competitiveness and carbon emissions.

This website explains what the Energiewende is, how it works, and what challenges lay ahead. It is intended to provide facts and explain the politics and policies to an international audience. The website highlights the effects of the Energiewende on the German economy, environment and society and addresses the most important related questions. We also highlight that energy transitions can be structured very differently around the world depending on the energy mix and policy priorities of individual countries.

On our Energiewende Blog, a team of international energy experts write on how the German energy transition continues and how it relates to other countries. All the texts and graphs except for blog posts are under Creative Commons License (CC BY SA) with the aim to make this information available to the public.

Besides the blog posts within the project also the ebooks and graphs were translated into Polish and Czech language. The plan is, to establish blogs about the Energiewende also in this languages.


European Energy Atlas

all-year long – Berlin, Germany

The popular atlas publications of the Heinrich Böll Foundation are continued witht the European Energy Atlas. The publication with numerous graphs and country chapters will give an informative overview over the energy transitions in European countries.

The European Energy Atlas provides a professional compendium and motivates for solutions supporting the European energy union. It will published in April 2018 and introduced to the public in Brussels and Berlin.


„Good City for All“

Winter Seminar of the Green Academy, Dezember 6, 2017
all-year long – Zagreb and Plitvice, Croatia

Through seria of extensive lectures about various European cases of political work on socio-ecological transformation participants increased knowledge and gained valuable information about the successes and failures that can be useful for their future activist work in municipal platform. With around 10 guest lecturers from Bilbao, Bologna, Belgrade, Sarajevo, Brussels, Budapest and Barcelona transnational space for discussion was created to ensure broader interpretative and collaborative framework to address burning issues of participation, decision-making, campaigning and direct policy work.

Most of the speakers have in details presented how some of the transformative policy ideas were transported into reality, or how they failed to be realised due to unfavourable structural and political conditions in their cities. These content rich interventions supported by many practical suggestions generated from Q&A sessions and informal exchange throughout the program have increased capacity of involved movements to frame the main narrative of the municipal platform Zagreb je naš which was developed later by many of the participants.

Approximately 60 participants have participated in winter seminar focused on practical and more theoretical discussions about scope of municipalism and more broadly on different trajectories of urban socioecological transformation. Participant backgrounds represented a diverse spectrum young academia representatives, scholars, local councilors, researchers, activists, civil society representatives from additional 8 (eight) European countries (Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria (2), Serbia, Spain (2), Belgium, Italy, Hungary) with great percentage of female representatives.

In its summer edition in 2018, Green Academy will continue to work on municipalism and municipalist agenda thus creating new forms to strengthen political relevance and impact of the people who gravitate to support political demands of these platforms, particularly in Zagreb and Belgrade, but also in other countries with which collaboration is envisioned like in Austria, Spain or Germany.


Digitizing the EU Energy Sector: Common Challenges

Workshop and Publication/Factsheet
June - November 2017 – Prague, Czech Republic

At the time when almost every sector of economy is going digital, expectations are growing also in energy industry. As renewables and distributed power generation is making energy systems more and more complex, digitization comes as a solution that would ensure stability of a system and security of deliveries for all types of consumers. At the same time, new technologies are likely to change the energy market as we know it – suppliers are expected to turn into service providers, and (at least some) consumers are likely to turn into producers (prosumers). With more information from smart metering devices and interconnected household appliances, suppliers are expected to offer their customers better services and improved user experience.

While the picture looks bright, there are many unresolved issues that need to be tackled before the system gets fully digital within the EU. To name a few: Who will bear the costs of the implementation in the regulated energy industry? How will data protection be secured? How to protect the digitized infrastructure against cybercrime? How to deal with interoperability of different digital solutions?

This activity included a stakeholder workshop “Digitizing the Energy Sector: Common Challenges” and the publication of a fact sheet “Digitizing the energy sector” that was distributed at and via the EurActiv mailing list. The workshop in Prague focused on the progress of the implementation of digital solutions in the energy sector in the Czech Republic and Germany, revealing opportunities and common challenges. The briefing style document (25.000-30.000 characters) will offer an introduction in the theme. The structure will be as followed: a brief historical overview of the policy/issue, policy overview (why the theme is important, benefits, constraints), key issues and challenges explained, positions of major stakeholders in the Czech Republic. As the Factsheet serves also as a follow-up to the event, debated themes and stakeholder positions will be reflected in the document.