Final conference of the LIFE Elia-RTE project in Brussels
Hosted in Elia's headquarters in Brussels, 70 participants registered to the final conference of the LIFE Elia-RTE project on December 5th. Final results of the project were presented, and several speakers were invited to give their point of view on some aspects of the project.
Participants from various background
Participants came from different areas : Transmission System Operators (TSO) (Finland, Italy, Slovakia, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and Ireland), but also from Governmental bodies, consultancy offices and NGOs.
After an opening speech by Ilse Tant (Chief of Public Acceptance - Elia), the LIFE Elia-RTE team presented the project, the target and the results obtained. In total 500 ha of electrical corridors in forest have been restored for nature.
Then Johan Mortier (Environment officer - Elia), Jean-François Lesigne (Environment officer - RTE) and Agnès Labbaye (R&D, RTE) explained to the audience how the LIFE project evolved within the two companies : Elia in Belgium and RTE in France. Both companies are setting up a program for 2018 to keep on working on these alternative vegetation management methods and upscale what was done within the LIFE project. This point is somehow a success in terms of increasing the extent of actions for nature.
Tomasz Jerzyniak from the DG Energy gave an overview of the big challenges for the TSO in a fast-moving energy sector.
The LIFE team presented the tools designed specifically to work on the project (GIS, database, biological indicators), as well as the cost benefit analysis made with Elia and the communication actions.
Micheal O'Briain from the DG Environment showed the audience all the tools and policies of the EU to improve nature and protect biodiversity in Europe.
Stefanie Lindenberg and John Sinner from the European Investment Bank presented the Bank and a wide range of projects financed throughout the world. A focus was made on the Natural Capital Financing Facility, whose objective is to boost investment for biodiversity and nature-based adaptation to climate. This could clearly be a important tool for any TSO that would like to go further with a project of implementing nature actions on the network.
The LIFE Elia-RTE team presented the results of the European networking with 18 countries.
Eventually, a lively wrap-up of the day was led concluded the day and produced some relevant information that will be addressed to key actors.
All experts underlined the fact that the LIFE Elia-RTE project was an example of good practices in terms of nature conservation and energy challenges. That was inspiring to see how the LIFE project had positive feedbacks.
This project provided solutions at the crossroads of big challenges for society : nature conservation, energy and public involvement. The fact that these solutions are replicable in all Europe is contributing to strengthen its impact.
This final conference is indicating the end of the LIFE Elia-RTE project, but surely there are many new projects to be launched and many discussions that will deserve to be led in the following years. The project team will remain active in the sector.