Energiewende Twinning Towns – Local Knowledge Shared Across Europe

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Municipalities are a key pillar of the German energy transition, known as the Energiewende. With innovative and ambitious energy concepts, and together with local public utilities and citizens, cities and communities are putting the Energiewende into practice. Being the local planning authority in charge, they are well acquainted with the local conditions. Therefore, municipalities are a strong force behind the successful growth of renewable energy and energy efficiency, balancing the interests of citizens and local economy.

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Participants at the kick-off-event at the Federal Foreign Office in May 2019

Starting in 2017, the project “Energiewende twinning towns” supports the exchange of knowledge and experience between German municipalities and their European partner communities.

Planned or existing cooperations between cities or communities can gain new inputs and at the same time foster the spirit of European cooperation as well as sustainable energy supply.

The project is facilitated by the Renewable Energies Agency and Humboldt-Viadrina Governance Platform to ensure a systematic exhange of practical knowledge related to renewable energy technologies and political expertise across borders.

For more information on the five Energiewende TownTwinning-Pairs see:

Due to the corona crisis the Energiewende Twinning Towns also shared threir experiences online. Here you can find out more about the work of the communities on climate communication and energy transition in times of COVID-19.

A Project by:

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Supported by:

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Practice Partners:

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The Energiewende Twinning Town project is saying goodbye for the time being with a wrap-up video on the two-year cooperation.

zoom, March 25, 2021. The European energy transition has hardly made headlines since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, the transformation of energy systems in Europe remains one of the most important challenges and opportunities. The project Energiewende Twinning Towns, which was funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and carried out by the Agency for Renewable Energy in collaboration with the Humboldt-Viadrina Goverance Platform, demonstrates how the transformation can be advanced concretely at the municipal level. With a final digital conference, the project is saying goodbye for the time being to the city pairs from Germany, Ireland, Greece, the Netherlands and Poland.

Municipalities play a key role in the European energy transition: this is where a large part of European legislation is implemented, this is where renewable energy plants are built, and this is where direct contact with citizens takes place, without whose acceptance and participation the energy transition is not feasible.

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Over the last two years, the Energiewende Twinning Towns project has accompanied a total of ten European municipalities in five city pairs as they made progress towards the local energy transition and contributed to an exchange across national borders. The final conference on March 25, 2021, planned to take place in Berlin, had to be postponed repeatedly due to the COVID-19 pandemic,and was ultimately moved entirely to the digital space. In the meantime, a short film has been made about why municipalities and European cooperation are so important for the success of the energy transition. Many thanks to the representatives of the twin towns Alheim (DE)/ Dunleer (IRL), Braunsbedra (DE)/ Kozani (GR), Marburg (DE)/ Koscierzyna (PL), Pfaffenhofen (DE)/ Galway (IRL) and Steinhagen (DE)/ Woerden (NL), the German Foreign Office and Ellery Studio, who inspired this film and brought it to life. Phasing out coal, transforming the energy system, climate education for children and youth, citizen dialogues, energy cooperatives – all these and many more topics were discussed in the European exchange project. We hope that the film will inspire other partner cities to take joint initiatives for the energy transition, to jointly identify points of connection and synergy, and thus to contribute to joint learning about the energy transition as well as to European understanding at the same time.

The project “Energiewende Twinning Towns”, funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, has been running since 2018 in cooperation between the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA Governance Platform and the Agency for Renewable Energies. As practice partners, the Association of Municipal Enterprises (VKU) and the German Association of Towns and Municipalities (DGStB) have been supporting the project activities, which aim to strengthen the exchange of knowledge and technology between German and European municipalities through bilateral workshops and multilateral online meetings as well as the kick-off and final conference.

Kick-off Event: Strong Network for the Decentralized Energy Transition in Europe (May 28, 2019)

Berlin, May 29, 2019 – Cities, municipalities, districts and their municipal utilities are pioneers in climate protection, energy transition and energy efficiency measures. A jury has selected five European partnerships for “Energiewende PartnerStadt”. The kick-off meeting was held yesterday in Berlin. With this project, the Agency for Renewable Energies (AEE) and the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA Governance Platform (HVGP) are supporting municipal exchange with workshops, excursions and networking meetings.

The aim of the “Energiewende PartnerStadt” project is to exchange know-how and experience on local energy transition across national borders, to facilitate technology transfer in the field of renewable energies and to support cohesion in Europe. The project is funded by the German Foreign Office (AA). Yesterday, the five winning partnerships met in Berlin for the kick-off: Braunsbedra (Saxony-Anhalt) and Kozani (Greece), Marburg-Biedenkopf (Hesse) and Koscierzyna (Poland), Steinhagen (North Rhine-Westphalia) and Woerden (Netherlands), Pfaffenhofen (Bavaria) and Galway (Ireland), and Alheim (Hesse) and Dunleer (Ireland).

Over the next two years, the five Energiewende partner city pairs will network in workshops and events, learn from each other, and take field trips to successful practical examples. The project will both support model communities in their transformation process and deepen mutual understanding of economic, social and ecological energy interests, as well as develop ideas for the challenges of the coming years: examples include the transition from coal-fired power to renewable energies or the promotion of climate education or the cooperative participation of citizens.

„Das Netzwerk ist so wichtig, weil wir Kommunen brauchen, um die Energiewende umzusetzen und die Wertschöpfung vor Ort zu steigern“, sagt Dr. Robert Brandt, Geschäftsführer der AEE. Zur kommunalen Wertschöpfung der Erneuerbaren Energien gehören Steuereinnahmen, Pachteinnahmen, Einsparungen bei den Energiekosten und Arbeitsplätze.

Town twinning is important for cultural exchange and international understanding – so the project is also a commitment to Europe and the idea of open borders. The expert jury, consisting of HVGP, AEE, AA, the German Association of Towns and Municipalities and the Association of Municipal Enterprises, decided on the five cooperations based on submitted project ideas.

Regular updates on the project, portraits, events and workshops will be published on the AEE information platform www.unendlich-viel-energie.de.


Details on the Project Phase 2019/2020

Repräsentanten Gewinnerpaar Grevesmuehlen Laxa 2017 300x240 - Energiewende Twinning Towns – Local Knowledge Shared Across Europe<br> (2017-2021)The project is funded by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany. It aims at existing or planned cooperations between cities or communities that intend to deepen or initiate their cooperation on renewable energies. The core of the project are bilateral workshops in one of the twinning municipalities, which offer municipal authorities and local stakeholders such as public utilities the opportunity to exchange experience and transfer knowledge. In moderated workshops, you will be able to exchange practical know-how related to renewable energy technologies. Depending on your needs, you may also focus on the exchange of know-how on issues such as management, spatial planning, financing and the participation of citizens in energy transition processes.

The application deadline for the project phase 2019/2020 ended on March 15th 2019.

What is funded?

  • Kick-off event on 28 May 2019: representatives from the participating communities get to know each other and present their projects and ideas. The event will be held at the Federal Foreign Office and includes an excursion to a good-practice-project in Berlin.
  • Two moderated Online-Webinars: The first webinar aims to jointly determine the topics of the workshop. The second webinar will be used as a follow-up of the workshop.
  • One Workshop in one of the twinning towns is dedicated to initiate new projects. Solutions on how to tackle open questions and obstacles should be proposed. The twinning towns can set up individual timelines and initiative further steps.
  • Final event in the second half of 2020: The aim of the event is to ensure a transfer of knowledge between the communities. The twinning towns present their workshop results and the participating local representatives get the chance to strengthen their European network for a sustainable energy transition at the local level.

Further information: All project information is available in German and in English.


Agentur für Erneuerbare Energien /German Renewable Energies Agency

Invalidenstraße 91, 10115 Berlin Christina Hülsken Telefon:  +49 30 200 535 40 E-Mail: c.huelskenunendlich-viel-energie.de

HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA Governance Platform gGmbH

Pariser Platz 6, 10117 Berlin Katja Treichel Telefon:  +49 30 206 620140 E-Mail: ktreichelgovernance-platform.org

Pilot Phase 2017

Energiewende Twinning Towns 2017

Until May 24th 2017 European communities could apply for the pilot project „Energiewende twinning towns“. In the kick-off event in June 2017 five town pairs presented their cooperation and local projects related to the energy transition.

The German town Friedberg and their Portuguese twinning town Entroncamento as well as Grevesmühlen and their Swedish twinning town Laxa convinced the jury and further elaborated their bilateral cooperation in workshops on the energy transition.

In November 2017 bilateral workshops were carried out in Entroncamento and Laxa respectively. In these moderated workshops, the participants from both municipalities were able to exchange practical know-how of renewable energy projects in their towns and related issues such as management, spatial planning, financing and the participation of citizens in energy transition processes.

Further information on the workshops can be found in the final report of the project here (in German only).