Two successful workshops on cross-border cooperation for provinces and municipalities along the German-Dutch border

Last week, we held the second cross-border cooperation workshop for provinces and municipalities along the Dutch-German border. Together witt the first workshop on 15 April, it was a successful exchange within the Task Force Wärmewende/Warmtetransitie project on the bottlenecks and chances of cross-border heat projects.

First Workshop: Bottlenecks and solutions in cross-border heat issues (15.04.2021)

The first workshop aimed to discuss the common goal of the heat transition with its different implementation strategies in Germany and the Netherlands. Therefore Sibren Boer (Communications Specialist at InEnergie) and Nils Dering (Department climate protection and climate change at LANUV) gave an overview about the Dutch and German heat transition. Sven Kersten (Head of Market Initiatives at Energieagentur.NRW) and Albin Hunia (INTERREG adviseur at RVO) concluded the workshop with a presentation of existing funding in NRW, the Netherlands and the European INTERREG programmes.

In between the participants were invited to breakout sessions to a cross-border exchange of information and experience to discuss for example the following questions: What obstacles stand in the way of the heat transition? Which measures have what effect and may be transferable from the neighbouring country?

For this purpose, in the first round, a German and a Dutch group were started and after a short introduction circle, each group collected and discussed the difficulties in their own country regarding the heat transition and then prioritised them.

Results of the first breakout round

In the German breakout session, the following 3 difficulties were considered the most important:

  1. Conventional energy is too cheap
  2. There is a lack of know-how and personnel in the crafts sector in general, and in some cases there are too many concerns about new technologies
  3. At the regulatory level, there is a lack of framework conditions that would push forward the heat transition

In the Dutch breakout session, the following 3 difficulties were the most important:

  1. Lack of support for homeowners (to switch to sustainable heat supply as well as implementation of heat insulation), lack of clarity and funding, and a need for new forms of participation
  2. There is a lack of support for the national course of the heat transition
  3. Uncertainty (legislation, long-term, affordability of investments)

After the presentation of these results, two mixed groups were started for the second breakout round, in which the topics defined as the most important difficulty on the German and on the Dutch side were discussed together cross-border, to see whether approaches to solving them might already exist in the neighbouring country or whether joint proposals for solutions could be developed.

Results of the second breakout round

  1. lack of support (NL)
    • Financial incentives must be created
    • These must be made clearer and accompanied by advisory structures.
    • Advisory structures need to be improved.
    • More and clearer information is needed on the need for a heat transition due to climate change.
  2. Conventional energy supply is too cheap (DE)
    • Respectively renewable energies are too expensive. Same problem on the Dutch side
    • The purely market-based mechanisms in heat supply prevent a change
    • Possible solutions are: Citizen energy cooperatives, Danish system, regional value chains, decoupling of fuel costs

Second Workshop: Chances of cross-border cooperation in the heat transition (12.05.2021)

Within the second workshop over the chances of cross-border cooperation the three presentations on specific projects by Frank de Bruijn (Projectadvisor at Stichting MOED), Franca Diechtl (Team Leader, International Cooperation at dena) and Franz-Josef Türck (Managing Director of GREEN Solar Herzogenrath GmbH) showed that it is possible to realise cross-border energy projects. Especially in areas where supply and demand of, for example, heat can be matched.

In addition to existing challenges (such as financing, technical aspects, and legal matters) cross-border cooperation involves challenges such as language barriers and national legislation.

By looking for points of contact along the border, it becomes clear whether projects are feasible; this can be done, for example, by consulting the different (heat)maps [e.g., the Wärmekataster NRW, the Dutch Warmteatlas or the Task Force Heat Navigator for the Dutch-German project region] that are currently accessible to everyone.

Breakout session

During the breakout session we discussed one of the bottlenecks of the (cross border) heat transition, which is the lack of knowledge. It was suggested to set up a platform for energy brokers to exchange knowledge and experience.

Furthermore, we discussed the cross-border cooperation in Groningen and Niedersachsen.

Next steps to find potential projects in this area are:

  • Make an overview of potential resources/ consumers (on a local level).
  • Which minimal conditions are necessary to make a project reliable?
  • Which instruments could be used?

We ended the breakout session with a discussion about the heat map. A heat map is very useful in order to find potential projects. However, the question remains: How can we make the data (used in the map) more reliable?

What’s next?

Every participant and reader is welcome to think along with us about possible projects in your region.
Do you see any points of contact? Do not hesitate to approach the other side of the border, because we share the same goals in the field of energy saving and sustainable generation of future-proof energy.

And don’t forget our heat vouchers, which will help you make your project concrete and feasible. You can find more information on There will also be a new INTERREG VI programme that will make it possible to further shape cross-border cooperation.

Feel free to contact us via info|at|waerme-wende·eu or info|at|warmte-transitie·eu with your idea for a cross-border project, a request for a heat voucher or any other questions you may have regarding the heat transition.

We would like to thank again all those present for their participation!