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The challenge: The call to fulfil national and international climate and energy goals becomes increasingly urgent. For taking steps towards the energy transition on a regional scale, planning and management authorities in communities and regions are important players. To perform this task, they need profound energy concepts. Preparing and handling of such highly complex concepts that integrate demand and production of power, heat, and mobility is beyond the possibilities of communal and regional administration, where a number of routine tasks need to be accomplished. As a result, currently only a few flagship projects with special framework conditions (high budget, funding, active stakeholders on-site) are realized. However, widespread activity is an indispensable precondition for a sustainable energy transition. This is why efficient support of regional energy planning and implementation is urgently needed. The digitization as planned in this project is deemed an essential contribution towards this endeavour. The objective: Our goal is to develop a digital toolbox for planning the local energy transition from start to finish including all relevant dimensions: From identifying the optimal site for power generation plants and sounding out the energetic potential up to the analysis of attainable reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the maximization of added value – technologically, energetically, ecologically, climatologically, economically and organizationally (including all relevant stakeholders). We build upon our own and therefor manageable resources: We combine two already existing tools, update them by improving the inclusion of climate parameters and optimize them for integrated use: The energy transition calculator RESYS for detailed planning of energy demand and production in hourly resolution and the Process Network Synthesis software PNS for the economic optimization of the energy system and the integration of diverse energy technologies. As a novelty we add an energy map for localizing energy transition measures taking into account the spatial dimension, we add open source data (especially meteorological), algorithms and models, which speed up the handling of our tools and added value potential calculations showing the cost-benefit ratio of energy transition measures. The innovation: Our tools foster a comprehensive approach including different technologies and ensure high spatio-temporal resolution. To make intelligent use of available data we develop data structures, calculation models and algorithms capable of quantifying transdisciplinary content, we create interfaces and workflows between our tools and set up a process design, which facilitates efficient implementation of energy strategies together with local stakeholders at different regional levels. The results: The main results are a digital toolbox and consulting service, which bridge a gap in the market and enable municipalities, cities and regions to tailor and implement ecologically and economically founded energy planning solutions considering spatial potentials in adequate quality and cost effectively. The consortium: It bundles all necessary competences and cooperates with test regions. Thus, we have the optimum preconditions for the project development, for application and for safeguarding the impact.

The project PoCo-FLOOD investigates the issue of policy coordination, which arises from the on-going paradigmatic shift in flood policies from flood defense to integrated flood risk management (IFRM). Specifically, the project explores interdependencies, conflicts and options for policy coordination between the sectors flood protection, hydropower (energy), agriculture and spatial planning. As these sectors play a fundamental role concerning both flood hazard prevention and flood risk mitigation in mountain areas, PoCo-FLOOD investigates the challenges and opportunities of policy coordination for these particular fields of interaction in three in-depth case studies. The first case, (“Flood Retention in the Headwaters”) focuses on hydropower dams in alpine catchments and the possibilities/limitations of coordinated policies to attenuate peak floods. The second case (“Flood Storage on Agricultural Land”) focuses on the growing need to provide agricultural areas for temporary flood storage and the possibilities/limitations of coordinated policies to provide upstream flood retention services for downstream beneficiaries. The third case (“Flood Protection and Land Development”) analyses the reciprocal relation between flood protection schemes and spatial planning policies and the possibilities/limitations of coordinated policies to mitigate the increase in damage potential in flood-protected areas. Through the in-depth analysis of the three fields of interaction PoCo-FLOOD pursues the following objectives: (i) to improve the understanding of the sectoral interrelations, which arise from the shift towards IFRM; (ii) to broaden the knowledge and evidence base concerning the limitations and the conflicts of interest of enhancing policy coherence in IFRM, and (iii) to co-develop together with stakeholders and policy representatives options for coordinated flood policies. The project addresses these objectives through a combined research approach based on interdisciplinary research and stakeholder engagement (transdisciplinarity). The research team brings together five scientific disciplines of strong relevance for the proposed research topic (spatial planning and land rearrangement, hydrology and water management, agriculture, river morphology, and political science). Through a series of stakeholder workshops the project combines knowledge from various user domains with the aim of supporting policy-making and addresses the growing need for better integration of science and decision-making.

The aim of the project is to find out how large the demand potential for district heating is, taking into account thermal refurbishment, the use of roof areas for solar thermal energy and photovoltaics, etc., in a temporally high-resolution analysis of energy demand and supply. For this purpose, the GIS tool Energy Zone Mapping Plus (EZP+) will be applied for the entire municipality of Bisamberg with approx. 1,900 objects, which are mainly used for housing, but also for public and operational purposes, in order to identify those areas with medium and high heat demand densities and to estimate the heat demand potential, the energy supply potential (solar thermal, PV), the heat occupancy and the grid losses in potential local heating supply areas. The results are to be understood as a preliminary study, on the basis of which a strategy for integrated spatial and energy planning for the municipality of Bisamberg can be drawn up.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations