Strengthening bilateral cooperation between EAS and the University of Zagreb on multilevel governance (MLG) energy planning to policy for development of smart regions and advanced integration of non‐conventional biomass sources.
Thanks to the Phoenix project, funded under HORIZON-2020 MSCA-RISE, I had the opportunity to work as an early stage researcher for Energy Agency Styria (EAS) in Graz, Austria, developing new insights into the work of the regional energy agency and its role of interface between regional administration, policy, science, economy and consumers in the energy sector.
The exchange of knowledge and ideas with my colleagues at EAS led us to define innovative research topics on the multilevel governance (MLG) energy planning and policy for development of smart regions and advanced integration of non‐conventional biomass sources. Moreover, we also focused on MLG, integration of energy and spatial planning, development and analysis of energy plans and strategies at the local, regional and national level. Together, we aim to analyse the current energy planning and policy at each level in MLG, from traditional fixed action space, to adopt it to new flexible action space. Therefore, we are going to compare programs and initiatives like Sustainable Energy (and Climate) Action Plans -SE(C)APs and Klima- und Energie-Modellregionen – KEMs and propose an efficient approach to future energy planning that will take into account advanced integration of non‐conventional biomass sources into smart energy systems of urban, suburban and rural areas of smart regions. As Phoenix secondee and member of the EAS team, I also fostered cooperation with a variety of stakeholders, both from the regional governance as well as national and international academic institutions.
In Austria I widened my professional network, strengthening collaboration between EAS and UNIZAG-FSB, my home institution, building a solid base for further business cooperation. The impact of our joint work will have strong benefits not only for the Phoenix partners, but for the wider research and business community.