Heavy-industry states and regions partner to shift global energy landscape

Reading time: 6 minutes
4 March 2016

LONDON: The highly industrialized German region of North Rhine-Westphalia has partnered with The Climate Group States & Regions Alliance to launch the Energy Transition Platform today, funded by Stiftung Mercator.

The Energy Transition Platform is an initiative designed to support state and regional governments in developing and implementing innovative energy policies.

With input from expert and specific stakeholder groups, the platform provides a mechanism for governments to explore energy transition models and initiatives, identify barriers and ways to unlock them, and facilitate adoption of low carbon energy pathways.

Shared practices across governments through institutions like the Energy Transition Platform build on a common understanding of the problem they aim to solve, and in turn, more effectively identify the best ways to do so.

“We need to build on the experience with our industry, just with less or no carbon. And I am firmly convinced that this will happen worldwide,” Minister Johannes Remmel, Minister for Climate Protection, Environment, Agriculture, Nature Conservation and Consumer Protection, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, said in a Climate TV interview.

“The crucial question is where and who is among the front runners. We want to be leading because we expect this to secure us a front place in global competition.”



After the historic Paris Agreement by 195 countries at the end of last year, state and regional governments are aiming to amplify their drive in finding innovative energy policies and implementing next generation solutions through a global network of collaboration.

The Energy Transition Platform focuses on regions sharing economic similarities, those with heavy-industry and a fossil fuel reliance but also with ambitious climate commitments and a drive to accelerate their own energy transition.

States and regions have long been setting forward-thinking climate and energy policies. In shaping the future policy landscape, they play a critical role in delivering the greenhouse gas emissions reduction needed to meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping global temperatures “well below” 2 degrees Celcius. Government heads of the States & Regions Alliance gathered in Paris to discuss formative ways for up-scaling climate action initiatives in sectors like renewables, energy efficiency, and transport.

The Energy Transition Platform is aimed at identifying and supporting those solutions and innovative legislative practices with incentive to drive growth and lower emissions. And this comes at a time of upswing for the global trend in clean energy. Growing investment in global clean energy last year reached six times the amount invested in 2004, while the cost of solar panels fell by 75% and that of batteries for electric vehicles by half since 2009.


It’s a promising sign to see one of the strongest economic regions in Europe in North Rhine-Westphalia – where a third of Germany’s primary energy and a third of national carbon emissions are produced – take a leading role in developing low carbon energy policy frameworks,” underlines Libby Ferguson, States & Regions Director at The Climate Group.

States and regions, especially those with the highest emissions reduction potential like North Rhine-Westphalia, are pivotal and uniquely placed to scale and drive global climate action.”

The Climate Group States & Regions Alliance continues to look at bringing together economically-strong states and regions who are leading on climate to share best-practices and find effective ways to accelerate the energy transition, implement climate-friendly practices, and grow their low carbon economy.

"State and regional governments play a crucial role for delivering ambitious reductions of greenhouse gas emissions - even more so within the new architecture of international cooperation stipulated in the Paris Agreement”, notes Dr Lars Grotewold, Director Centre for Climate Change at Stiftung Mercator.

“They are a decisive governance level for effective implementation of national policies and international guidelines, and vice versa they can drive the ambition on overarching governance levels. We believe the Energy Transition Platform will be an effective tool for mutual learning and delivering joint efforts for a climate-compatible future."

The Energy Transition Platform is a lead example of the States & Regions Policy Innovation Program, through which The Climate Group addresses the urgent questions and obstacles governments face in delivering ambitious climate targets.

“Now it’s a matter of defining the currency of the future with renewables,” adds Minister Remmel. “I think that this promises huge economic opportunities, widely known in North Rhine-Westphalia. We have many rural areas but also cities that emphasize climate action and recognize that this is good for their wallet as well as for ecological and economic development.”

The Energy Transition Platform connects highly industrialized, carbon intensive states and regions to accelerate the energy transition through enabling in-depth global peer learning on energy transition policies and overcoming barriers for adopting innovative energy models.

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