Ruins of Castle – Ardud http://ardud.ro/ Wed, 29 Jun 2022 03:28:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://ardud.ro/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/default1-150x150.png Ruins of Castle – Ardud http://ardud.ro/ 32 32 Philippines’ infrastructure problems take center stage as Marcos takes charge | Business and economy https://ardud.ro/philippines-infrastructure-problems-take-center-stage-as-marcos-takes-charge-business-and-economy/ Wed, 29 Jun 2022 02:32:01 +0000 https://ardud.ro/philippines-infrastructure-problems-take-center-stage-as-marcos-takes-charge-business-and-economy/ Manila, Philippines – As a young engineer in the early 1980s, Edgardo Perea worked on a project that he hoped would bring a reliable supply of clean drinking water to households in Metro Manila. Forty years later, he is still waiting. Perea worked at the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, a government agency, as part […]]]>

Manila, Philippines – As a young engineer in the early 1980s, Edgardo Perea worked on a project that he hoped would bring a reliable supply of clean drinking water to households in Metro Manila. Forty years later, he is still waiting.

Perea worked at the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, a government agency, as part of a team that carried out preliminary work on a dam that he and his colleagues hoped would take advantage of the region’s vast freshwater resources.

“All the feasibility studies have been done, only the implementation was missing,” Perea told Al Jazeera.

But politics got in the way. In 1986, the people power revolution in the Philippines led to the removal of dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Under the new government, many projects that had been approved under the previous regime stalled or were canceled altogether.

Perea has reflected a lot on his experiences these days as his country prepares for another transfer of power, while many old problems persist. As well as being deeply personal, they are emblematic of the struggles to improve infrastructure in the Philippines, an archipelago of around 110 million people, where many people still live without basic amenities. In an added layer of irony, the new president is the son of the leader who was expelled 40 years ago.

New President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, commonly known by the nickname Bongbong, will take office on June 30. His predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, made infrastructure a key policy in an initiative he called Build, Build, Build. Duterte promised the program would create jobs and improve the quality of life for many Filipinos for whom severe traffic jams and other inconveniences are a reality.

Rodrigo Duterte, outgoing President of the Philippines, has described uneven infrastructure as the “Achilles heel” of the Philippines’ economic development [File: Veejay Villafranca/Bloomberg] (Bloomberg)

Duterte, who described uneven infrastructure as the “Achilles heel” of the Philippines’ economic development, pledged to allocate between 8 trillion and 9 trillion Philippine pesos to the program which he said would usher in an “age of ‘infrastructure gold’, adding bridges and railways as it expands. a major airport north of Manila.

Filipino voters and political analysts are unsure how Marcos Jr will govern. Throughout his election campaign, he invoked nostalgia for what some Filipinos, rightly or not, consider a happy period under his father’s rule. But he was short on political details, leaving unanswered whether he will continue Duterte’s infrastructure campaign as he prepares to begin his term.

Duterte called on the new president to continue Build, Build, Build and the Asian Development Bank pledged to continue supporting the initiative even with the change of administration.

The program has a mixed track record, with some analysts saying it has brought useful improvements to underserved parts of the country, while others argue it falls far short of achieving its goals.

Ronald U Mendoza, dean of the School of Government at Ateneo de Manila University, said Filipino politicians use public infrastructure to show voters that they have “brought home the bacon”, although the opportunity term of such projects is questionable.

“During an infrastructure boom – not just Marcos’ but also Duterte’s – the effect on various parts of the country is stimulating and job-creating…Therefore, it is very much welcomed by citizens and quite palpable and visible,” Mendoza told Al Jazeera.

“It’s easy to be nostalgic for an infrastructure boom when you fail to appreciate the crisis and the hardships associated with bad decisions and corruption during the spending part of this debt-fueled experience. If there is bad governance and bad decisions, then the party has to end at some point.

Faulty execution

Execution of the ambitious initiative has also been flawed, according to Jan Carlo B Punongbayan, assistant professor at the University of the Philippines School of Economics.

“Well, even though his intention was, Build, Build, Build unfortunately didn’t live up to expectations,” Punongbayan told Al Jazeera. “Poorly thought out spending plans have resulted in repeated changes to the initiative’s master project list. Only part of the promised projects have been implemented.

The Marcos dynasty also has a reputation for corruption. Observers of Philippine politics fear that such corruption could cloud the next administration.

“Marcos Jr comes from a notorious kleptocratic family that thrived during the years of martial law through crony capitalism,” Punongbayan said. “Therefore, he is not expected to do much work to stop corruption and in fact he could very well make it worse.”

The Philippines ranks poorly in global corruption assessments, ranking 117 out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s latest ranking. Part of the Filipino electorate seems to have accepted the stubborn presence of corruption in government and business.

Although Duterte took office posing as a swaggering foreigner who would end corruption, the same elite retained control of Philippine affairs, analysts say.

“Duterte never really intended to eradicate old power networks, and I think there’s a degree of resignation now,” said Josh Kurlantzick, senior Southeast Asia researcher. Is at the Council on Foreign Relations, at Al Jazeera.

Meanwhile, the basic needs of a large part of the population are not being met. According to the Fund for Sustainable Development Goals, “a substantial number” of people suffer from lack of water and access to basic sanitation, putting them at risk of waterborne diseases.

A report by the World Health Organization and UNICEF found that only 47% of Filipinos had access to safely managed drinking water in 2020, a slight improvement from 46% in 2015. many Filipinos leave the countryside to seek jobs in major cities, especially in Metro Manila, causing severe traffic congestion that results in exorbitant travel times and delays in transporting goods to outlets.

Manila traffic jam
The Philippines’ poor infrastructure has led to chronic traffic congestion and other social ills [File: Taylor Weidman/Bloomberg]

Perea, the former water engineer, recalls having to go through a process of getting signatures from government officials in various departments before a project could go ahead.

“That’s where corruption sets in,” he said.

Stung by the failure of the water project he was working on, Perea quickly became disillusioned with public infrastructure politics.

“I saw how the system really worked… When the project stopped, I criticized everything. I said too much and had to swallow my words,” he said. “Some older colleagues pulled me aside and told me that you can’t fight the system by continually hating it. You have to play the game, get to the top, then you can make changes.

Instead, Perea resigned. After unsuccessful efforts to join private engineering companies, he ran a few small businesses, including a martial arts academy.

He finally chose, in the late 1980s, a less confrontational form of business – a bookstore in a bustling commercial area near the elevated Guadalupe Station in Manila. He named the bookstore JERVS, a combination of his five children’s first initials, and found peace running his own shop.

In those pre-internet days, when reading was a more common form of entertainment, Perea found a profitable model of renting novels and magazines. He ran the bookstore until the COVID-19 pandemic, when the Philippine government implemented strict lockdown measures that froze much of the country’s street business.

Edgardo Perea
Edgardo Perea knows the difficulties of the Philippines in building high quality infrastructure [Courtesy of Steven Borowiec]

During these years, and throughout the pause imposed by the pandemic, Perea has had time to reflect on the political history of his country, including the current moment when the son of a dictator overthrown by a revolution popular is about to move into the presidential palace.

He does not consider himself a supporter of Marcos but hopes that the new government will continue to invest in infrastructure as the Duterte administration has done. He also understands how the dynasty won over voters in a country where many governments have failed to address the same old issues.

“The 60s and 70s seem like a golden era for people who lived through the war and everything that came before it,” he said.

“These urban legends survive through the generations, and sometimes they are exaggerated.”

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Examination of the economic feasibility of digital twins https://ardud.ro/examination-of-the-economic-feasibility-of-digital-twins/ Mon, 27 Jun 2022 11:16:50 +0000 https://ardud.ro/examination-of-the-economic-feasibility-of-digital-twins/ By Sandra DiMatteo From aging infrastructure and changing environmental regulations to funding shortfalls and climate-fueled natural disasters, water utilities around the world face a range of challenges in their efforts to deliver reliable and affordable water to their communities. . Their potential solutions are equally broad, ranging from stimulus grants and conservation programs to smart […]]]>
By Sandra DiMatteo

From aging infrastructure and changing environmental regulations to funding shortfalls and climate-fueled natural disasters, water utilities around the world face a range of challenges in their efforts to deliver reliable and affordable water to their communities. . Their potential solutions are equally broad, ranging from stimulus grants and conservation programs to smart water technologies.

Utilities employ a variety of digital strategies to address urgent risks and meet the demands of digital transformation aligned with strategic investments in water supply systems. A very compelling digital strategy that water utilities are adopting is a digital twin. Digital twins of water infrastructure can help utilities make the most of their data to improve their decision-making. Most utilities have the key building blocks in place to make digital twins economically feasible as a short-term strategy with long-term benefits.

leaky pipe

What is a digital twin?

A digital twin is a realistic and dynamic virtual representation of a physical asset, process or system. Creating a digital twin for a water system involves integrating existing models and data. This could include engineering models (hydraulic models of the water network and 3D models of the water treatment plant and pumping stations), new virtual reality models (if the 3D models are inadequate, obsolete or non-existent), and GIS, asset management and customer data. Additionally, the digital twins are continuously updated with operational data from SCADA systems, sensors, meters and other measured sources, creating a real-time model that can be used in operations and maintenance.

Integrating isolated and disparate data into a unified view provides a single, collaborative, connected digital twin environment that water utility personnel can use to gain insights from their data for better decision making. Dynamic operational data integration allows utilities to see what’s happening in real time or review at any time, while providing a definitive record of changes to water systems and assets as they evolve . This dynamic aspect is also what differentiates digital twins from static 3D models typically used for design and construction.

The end result is an information-rich digital infrastructure model that supports engineering, operations and maintenance, and capital planning for smart water networks. With digital twins, utilities can perform “what if” analyzes and simulations to make informed decisions throughout the lifecycle of a water system, from long-term system vulnerability and capacity planning to immediate performance monitoring and emergency response. The process allows utilities to better understand the past and current performance of their water systems while helping them predict future performance and simulate the impact of potential changes in the virtual world before funds are committed.

Digital twins help develop intelligent sustainable water management platforms and powerful decision support frameworks for the modern workforce. In particular, the digital twins which are cloud-based enable remote sharing of data, dashboards and situational intelligence. Thus, a cloud-based digital twin overcomes the limitations of old water control rooms as it interacts with real-time systems and data, SCADA and data historians. A digital twin manages large volumes of disparate data sources to gain near real-time information and reduce or eliminate false alarms.

bricks and mortar

Moving to a digital twin may seem daunting, but in reality, most water utilities have already started. They have implemented a variety of systems that they use in their daily operations: sensors, SCADA, automated metering, asset register, hydraulic modeling, etc. And since the fundamental purpose of a digital twin is to unite data from these different sources and provide a unified view of that data, utilities have already done the hard work of implementing systems that generate digital data: that is, the building blocks of their twin digital.

The next step involves the mortar that connects this data. And for a smooth journey, the mortar-slash technology that underpins a digital twin must be open. Digital twin technology is not off-the-shelf software. Instead, each digital twin is assembled, built, customized, and advanced using parts from many sources that will change over time. To ensure that a utility controls its digital twin and can include the systems and data important to it, it must rely on open source technology. This “openness” means that the digital twin can seamlessly connect with other technologies.

The technology within this mortar must also include these other key features: decision-making tools and scalability. The importance of digital twins lies in the ability to use data to make informed decisions. This involves the use of integrated decision-making software that can link current state or condition data to a robust and mature portfolio of analysis and simulation tools. And scalability means a digital twin can see and analyze at the scale of (say) a city or sewage plant, down to an individual pump or valve.

Digital twins for Network Operations and management

Many utilities already have hydraulic models of their water systems that they use for planning and design. Integrating these models into a digital twin helps utilities simulate events such as pipe failures, power outages, etc., to analyze the resilience of their water network systems and assess their risk. Additionally, integrating these models with SCADA data provides an accurate assessment of the current behavior of a water system. This allows utilities to simulate and test different ways to operate their water systems to improve emergency response, increase efficiency, or save energy.

Continuously updating digital twins with measured operational data also helps a utility determine the location of potential leaks and reduce water loss. And a digital twin can leverage data from existing work and asset management systems, as well as other enterprise systems, to support risk-based asset management, informing their decisions such as repair or replacement and helping them prioritize capital improvement projects.

Digital twins for Plant Operations and management

Digital twins for water and wastewater treatment plants are particularly useful for improving plant efficiency, reliability, and resilience, as well as for training and safety compliance. Virtual tours, communications and simulations provide personnel with better visibility into plant data and information for better decision making. For example, reliability engineers can simulate hypothetical events such as a multiple filter system or pump failure to assess the severity and consequences of failures and take preventive measures.

Digital twins can also be used to flag real-world issues, such as malfunctioning equipment, enabling virtual exploration and quick access to relevant data. For example, operators can zoom into the equipment area and extract data related to that particular item (such as manufacturers’ specifications or repair manuals). This gives staff immediate access to information without wasting time digging through filing cabinets or searching through document libraries.

Digital twin technologies (such as Bentley’s OpenFlows powered by the Bentley iTwin platform) are intelligent integration solutions that connect information technology, operational technology and engineering technology. These connections help water utilities unlock the potential of their data in ways that were economically unfeasible just a few years ago – uniting legacy data with operational and technical data to provide a broader system view. utility water supply and enable data-driven decision-making. manufacturing.

In the years to come, digital twins will become an integral part of every aspect of the water utility control room. Utilities can start creating digital twins overnight with the data and systems they already use. Becoming the new normal for water utilities, digital twins will improve the reliability of water systems, reduce utility capital and operating expenses, reduce their environmental footprint, and provide safe services to their customers. and efficient.


Sandra DiMatteo is Director of Industry Marketing at Bentley Systems. She has over 20 years of experience in asset performance management, reliability software solutions, asset lifecycle information management and enterprise asset management for public infrastructure.

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Rain extinguishes Cyprus wildfire that has scorched thousands of acres https://ardud.ro/rain-extinguishes-cyprus-wildfire-that-has-scorched-thousands-of-acres/ Sat, 25 Jun 2022 18:08:17 +0000 https://ardud.ro/rain-extinguishes-cyprus-wildfire-that-has-scorched-thousands-of-acres/ UNITED NATIONS: The solution to the chronic underfunding of the UN agency helping Palestinian refugees lies in “political will” that matches statements of support for its work, the head of the Relief and of United Nations work at Arab News. Philippe Lazzarini’s comments came during a press briefing the day after a pledging conference that […]]]>

UNITED NATIONS: The solution to the chronic underfunding of the UN agency helping Palestinian refugees lies in “political will” that matches statements of support for its work, the head of the Relief and of United Nations work at Arab News.

Philippe Lazzarini’s comments came during a press briefing the day after a pledging conference that raised $160 million from international donors.

That leaves the agency short of $100 million needed to support education for more than half a million Palestinian children, health services for more than 2 million people and cash assistance for the most vulnerable. poor among them.

The $100 million shortfall is about the same as UNRWA has faced every year for nearly a decade.

This year, however, soaring costs mean the agency will not be able to absorb the shortfall through austerity and cost control measures because “there is very little left to cut without cutting services,” said Lazzarini, adding that the money is expected to deal with UNRWA until September, but things are on hold after that.

“We are in early warning mode,” he said. “At this time, I draw attention to the fact that we are in a danger zone and we must avoid a situation where UNRWA is pushed into crossing the tipping point, because if we cross the tipping point, that means 28,000 teachers, health workers, nurses, doctors, engineers cannot be paid.

He added that UNRWA had a very strong donor base in Europe and that last year the Biden administration restored funding, undoing former US President Donald Trump’s aid freeze.

But Lazzarini said the overall contribution from the Arab world has fallen to less than 3% of the agency’s revenue.

“What is also true is that the Arab world and the Gulf countries have always shown great solidarity with the Palestinian refugees, and have always been involved in funding the construction of schools and clinics. , and whenever there was a humanitarian emergency, to contribute to the humanitarian response,” he added. “It’s very important to keep.”

He said the Arab League had been discussing for two years that its contribution to UNRWA should be at least 7-8% of the agency’s core budget.

“There is room for increased solidarity, and the region’s engagement means a lot to the Palestinians,” he added.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine cast a shadow over the donors’ conference, where some admitted financial difficulties and donor fatigue.

“Funding for agency services was put at risk today because of deprioritization, or perhaps increased indifference, or because of domestic politics,” Lazzarini said. “We will know better at the end of the year what impact this will have on the agency.”

Some donors have already warned UNRWA “that we might not have the traditional top-up at the end of the year, which would be dramatic” for the agency, he added.

UNRWA was established in 1949 following a United Nations General Assembly resolution to carry out relief efforts for the 750,000 Palestinians who were forced from their homes during the establishment of Israel in 1948.

There are now around 6 million Palestinian refugees living in camps in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, as well as in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

“Today we have classrooms with up to 50 children,” Lazzarini said. “We have a double rotation in our schools. We have doctors who cannot spend more than three minutes in a medical consultation. So if we go beyond that, it will force the agency to reduce its services.

The problem with UNRWA is that “we are supposed to provide government-like services to one of the most deprived communities in the region, but we are funded like an NGO because we are completely dependent on voluntary contributions”, he said. -he adds.

Ahead of Thursday’s donors’ conference, Gilad Erdan, Israel’s permanent representative to the UN, urged countries to stop their contributions until UNRWA fires teachers who his country says are supporting terrorism and kill Jews.

Lazzarini said UNRWA received a letter from the Israeli UN mission on Friday which he had not read, but all allegations will be investigated and if there is a breach of UN values ​​and misconduct, “we will take action in accordance with UN policies”.

He added that UNRWA’s critics are usually civil society organizations that “seek to undermine the agency, usually target lawmakers and talk about (UNRWA’s) textbooks and education in schools. without acknowledging the extraordinary efforts made by the agency to ensure quality education in accordance with UNESCO standards.

“I keep reminding ourselves that we are the only ones to have achieved gender equality, to have a real human rights curriculum in the region, that we are regularly evaluated by third parties.

“The World Bank has assessed that we have excellent value for money in education. The children are one year ahead of public education in the region.

“We have extraordinary human success stories of children who have gone to our schools and achieved international success.”

He said UNRWA’s operations are among the most scrutinized but ‘despite this there is a smear campaign over issues – which sometimes need to be addressed – but which never recognize the efforts made by the agency’ .

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Deloitte Access Economics – Consumer reaction to cold, hard inflation https://ardud.ro/deloitte-access-economics-consumer-reaction-to-cold-hard-inflation/ Sun, 19 Jun 2022 14:08:34 +0000 https://ardud.ro/deloitte-access-economics-consumer-reaction-to-cold-hard-inflation/ Credit: Tamanna Rumee via Unsplash Australian retail sales have come out of the pandemic better than if it had never happened. However, inflation challenges could prove more problematic, according to the latest quarterly report from Deloitte Access Economics quarterly forecast subscribers: Overall spending is expected to slow from the second half of 2022 as retailers […]]]>

Credit: Tamanna Rumee via Unsplash

Australian retail sales have come out of the pandemic better than if it had never happened.

However, inflation challenges could prove more problematic, according to the latest quarterly report from Deloitte Access Economics quarterly forecast subscribers:

Overall spending is expected to slow from the second half of 2022 as retailers face a shift to value buying, margin squeezes and rising business costs.

In the advertising sector, analysts expect advertising spending to maintain its solid course through the end of the year.

Zenith’s latest forecast notes that advertising spending has remained on track despite the macroeconomic headwinds that have emerged this year: “For now, consumer spending continues to grow as consumers demonstrate their strong appetite for travel and entertainment experiences that have been denied to them during the pandemic. Business confidence is generally high and business investment is increasing, and there is little evidence of widespread cost reduction.”

But inflation will result in a change in consumer behavior.

David Rumbens, Partner, Deloitte Access Economics “The outlook for growth is positive, but it still presents a number of challenges for retailers.

“Inflation is now a cold hard reality, as the majority of top line growth over the next few years is expected to be driven by prices rather than volumes.

“For households, price pinching is almost inevitable, with CPI price growth for non-discretionary goods and services
up 6.6%, more than double that of discretionary, which was up 2.7%.

“These non-discretionary goods and services are those that households are least likely to reduce their consumption of, including food, fuel, shelter and health, putting significant pressure on other components of spending.

“The March quarter saw retail prices increase 3.2% on the year, driven by a 4.5% increase in retail food prices. And input costs are unlikely to decline by soon, as producer prices were 16% higher than pre-pandemic levels in March. This means that retailers are likely to feel the brunt of rising costs for some time.”

According to Deloitte Access Economic Retail Forecasts:

  • Retail spending jumped at the end of 2021 and followed that with a further 1.2% gain in real revenue in the March 2022 quarter
  • This sees actual retail spending around 6.2% ahead of its pre-COVID trend (the level of spending that was expected had the COVID disruptions not occurred)
  • Hospitality is benefiting from pent-up demand for social interaction, while colder weather is likely to support wardrobe updates after consumers spent the past two winters in lockdown (in favor of clothing and department stores)
  • Double-digit sales growth is expected for apparel, catering and department stores in 2022 (vs. locked 2021), driving a very strong real retail sales performance of 5.5% growth over the course of the year. calendar year 2022.

Retail price growth is expected to peak at 5.5% in the year to December 2022 (with retail food prices increasing by 7.6% over the same period).

The majority of retail sales growth for the half of 2022 through December and in 2023 and 2024 will be driven by prices rather than sales volumes. Retail sales volume growth may average just 1.1% from 2023 to 2025, compared to 1.9%
per year for retail price growth.

This forecast includes some moderation in price growth after peaking in December 2022. There are early and encouraging signs for lower shipping costs. In particular, the Reserve Bank seeks to actively suppress price growth via interest rate hikes.

“For now though, companies may need to look for ways to cut costs and reduce disruption to operations to avoid losing competitiveness,” Rumbens said.

“This could involve diversifying and building more resilient supply chains, or moving to a more vertically integrated structure to better control supply chain visibility. With high salary pressures, companies may need to maximize staff retention as much as possible by investing in training, talent pipelines and automation.

“Overall, the cost of living compression, rising interest rates and preference for service spending are expected to lead to slower retail momentum in the second half of 2022, which could then result in lower real per capita retail spending in 2023 and 2024. This means that the speed of return of net migration will become an important driver of future retail growth prospects.

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COMMENT: We must live within our means https://ardud.ro/comment-we-must-live-within-our-means/ Fri, 17 Jun 2022 14:30:00 +0000 https://ardud.ro/comment-we-must-live-within-our-means/ For the sake of our planet and our people, it’s time to stop living beyond our means. The federal government announced two months ago an increase in the percentage of temporary foreign workers (TFWs) that employers in Canada will be allowed to hire. Given a ready-made solution to the labor shortage problem, many companies breathed […]]]>

For the sake of our planet and our people, it’s time to stop living beyond our means.

The federal government announced two months ago an increase in the percentage of temporary foreign workers (TFWs) that employers in Canada will be allowed to hire. Given a ready-made solution to the labor shortage problem, many companies breathed a collective sigh of relief.

We can expect employers in the Bow Valley to benefit from this policy change. But we have to ask ourselves if TFWs are the most appropriate solution to our labor shortage problem and if we are really ready to welcome these workers into our communities.

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program was launched in 2005 by the federal government to provide seasonal and temporary workers to certain sectors of the economy. Low wages and poor working conditions in these sectors have prevented employers from attracting Canadian workers to fill these positions.

Instead of raising wages or improving working conditions to make jobs more attractive to Canadians, employers lobbied the government for access to foreign workers. And instead of legislating higher minimum wages and enforcing workplace protections, governments have granted that access to employers.

In tacit collusion, government and employers have agreed to grow the economy and corporate profits by exploiting workers in low-income countries. Workers admitted to the country were forced to separate from their families, denied the security of whether they could stay in Canada, and were denied a choice of job or employer.

Prior to the pandemic, the federal government was seeking to scrap the TFW program for several reasons. Canadian employers increasingly depended on TFWs to fill permanent jobs. There were also serious concerns about the lack of basic rights and protections for migrant workers with numerous reported incidents of verbal, physical and sexual abuse. However, in the face of current labor shortages, the federal government has flip-flopped in its TFW policy and taken the easy way out.

Even if the federal government authorizes the recruitment of more TFWs, we must ask ourselves if the communities of the Bow Valley are ready to welcome them. Do we have the capacity to support the people we ask to staff our businesses, serve our tourists and ultimately generate our profits?

We know that levels of tourism in the Bow Valley have already exceeded the limits of environmental and social sustainability. For anyone who spends time outdoors in the Bow Valley, the evidence of environmental degradation is evident. In popular areas, we see wide braided paths, trampled vegetation and soil erosion. We see litter on the edge of our hiking and biking trails and an increase in human-wildlife conflict.

There are other less visible impacts on our natural environment. Rising greenhouse gas emissions and accelerating climate change are due to more and more tourists arriving by air and land. And the increase in visits also leads to adverse effects on air and water quality.

The evidence that we have moved beyond the social boundaries of sustainability in the Bow Valley is equally abundant. We live in communities where housing is too expensive and food security is not guaranteed. The majority of jobs available in the Bow Valley are low-paying, low-skilled jobs that do not pay employees a living wage or provide them with a decent quality of life.

The labor shortage has also led to overworked staff who become burnt out and sustain physical injuries due to working long hours in physically demanding jobs. When workers are injured or simply want a family doctor to help them maintain their health, we are unable to provide them with the health services they need.

As tempting as it may be to turn to TFWs as a band-aid solution to our labor shortage issues, we know we can do better. Our economic and labor policies cannot be built on a basis of exploitation. If we invite foreign workers to our country to help grow our economy, we must give them the same rights we enjoy – the right to live in Canada with their families, the security of permanent residence and the choice of job and employer. Governments and employers must invest in skills training, improving working conditions and strengthening worker protections for the benefit of Canadian and immigrant workers.

We need to recognize, encourage and use the assets that immigrants bring to Canada. Many newcomers are leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs with professional training and experience far beyond the requirements of the menial jobs for which they are hired. If we really want to capitalize on the strengths of immigrants to strengthen the Canadian economy, we must provide pathways for their training and experience to be recognized and provide them with jobs that match their skills.

We also need to make sure our communities are welcoming and inclusive. At a minimum, this means ensuring that basic human needs are adequately met. We must provide a living wage, provide decent and affordable housing, and ensure access to healthy food and quality primary care.

While we are unable to provide this to all Bow Valley residents, including newcomers, we must recognize that we have gone beyond the boundaries of our communities to support current levels of tourism and the services they require. . For the sake of our planet and our people, it’s time to stop living beyond our means.

Vamini Selvanandan is a family physician and public health practitioner in the Bow Valley. His comments appear in the Rocky Mountain Outlook the third Thursday of each month. For more articles like this, visit www.engagedcitizen.ca.

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Boris Johnson wants to destroy the Northern Irish protocol https://ardud.ro/boris-johnson-wants-to-destroy-the-northern-irish-protocol/ Wed, 15 Jun 2022 14:45:00 +0000 https://ardud.ro/boris-johnson-wants-to-destroy-the-northern-irish-protocol/ Placeholder while loading article actions After months of speculation, the Conservative government of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tabled legislation in the British Parliament that would allow it to override key parts of the “Northern Ireland Protocol”. This protocol was a key part of the British Brexit agreement. It was supposed to prevent the […]]]>
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After months of speculation, the Conservative government of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tabled legislation in the British Parliament that would allow it to override key parts of the “Northern Ireland Protocol”. This protocol was a key part of the British Brexit agreement. It was supposed to prevent the return of a customs border between Northern Ireland, which was no longer part of the European Union, and the Republic of Ireland, which was still a member. Unionists in Northern Ireland hated Protocol and many members of the Conservative Party disliked it either. Now, the Conservative government has given itself the power to unilaterally modify the agreement.

If the UK government uses its powers under the legislation, it will take great political risks. First, it will trigger a major fight with the European Union, which could retaliate with trade measures that would hurt the UK economy, already reeling from global uncertainty and the costs of Brexit. Second, it will also harm relations with the United States. Members of Congress have made it clear they will block a new trade deal, which the UK desperately wants, if it does anything to damage peace in Northern Ireland. So why did Johnson do it? Most likely, he wanted to consolidate his fragile leadership of a divided political party.

The Northern Ireland protocol was supposed to keep the peace

For decades, Northern Ireland has been riven by violence and strife between unionists, who want her to stay in the UK, and nationalists, who want her to join the Republic of Ireland. The EU helped bring peace in the 1990s. Both the UK and Ireland were EU members, which minimizes internal customs controls and maintains a shared market for goods and services. They did not need customs checks on the politically contentious border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, making it less relevant and visible.

This all changed when the UK left the EU and decided (after internal controversy) to also withdraw from EU market agreements. Suddenly, the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic became relevant again. New customs barriers could make the border a target for dissident nationalist paramilitaries.

This was the problem that the Northern Ireland protocol was supposed to solve. After tough negotiations, Britain and the EU have agreed that Northern Ireland will continue to be part of EU market deals. This allowed free trade with the Republic, but at the cost of complicating economic relations between Northern Ireland and British Unionists – and some British Conservatives – were unhappy, as they believed the deal created a new invisible border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

This led to further negotiations between the EU and the UK and ultimately to a stalemate. Now, after months of flagging, the UK government has introduced new legislation that would allow it to unilaterally get rid of parts of the Northern Ireland protocol it doesn’t like. Johnson says the legislation is justified by an unexpected “genuinely exceptional situation”. However, members of the British government have had trouble explaining what happened, if anything, was not expected when Britain signed the deal.

The UK is taking a huge risk

Johnson’s legislation carries a number of political risks. Dissenting Conservatives have argued that the legislation is illegal under international law (there are evidence that one of the government’s most important legal advisers agrees with them). It also risks provoking a trade war with the EU, which is a much bigger economy than the UK, meaning the UK is likely to fare worse.

Finally, the White House and senior US politicians said they were unhappy with the British initiative. This makes it much less likely that a proposed UK-US trade deal will be agreed and passed by Congress. Proponents have claimed that Brexit would allow the UK to strike its own trade deals outside the EU. Now the UK’s Brexit policy is making it harder rather than easier to reach a deal.

So why is Johnson insisting on passing the legislation? Few British observers believe his focus is on Northern Ireland’s political stability and Unionist discontent. After all, he was perfectly willing to throw trade unionists overboard to get the initial deal with the EU.

Instead, most point to Johnson’s political struggles with his own party. Johnson survived a recent attempt by dissident MPs in Parliament to remove him as Tory leader, but only by 211 votes to 148. His leadership is badly damaged and could be further shaken if his party loses two to come by elections.

Northern Ireland Protocol and the EU are hated by many Tory MPs he wants to keep on his side. Passing the legislation can help protect his party leadership in the short term, even if it hurts the UK economy for years to come.

The EU is slow to react

EU has indicated he will start legal action against the UK later this week. However, he is likely to be expecting direct retaliation at this time. A battle with the EU could be just what Johnson wants, allowing him to blame Brussels for the UK’s poor economic situation. Moreover, it is not clear that retaliation would push the UK into a deal. Johnson is probably too weak politically to guide any compromise in parliament. Nor is it clear that he and his government would be any more willing to honor the commitments they made than they were when they negotiated the protocol.

The coming months will likely see more bitter exchanges of words, but no substantial changes, as everyone waits to see what happens to Johnson. His political weakness led to this legislation, but it can also prevent the emergence of a new deal: no one wants to strike a deal with a prime minister with an uncertain political future, who has already reneged on a deal.

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Redesigning roads to put people first https://ardud.ro/redesigning-roads-to-put-people-first/ Mon, 13 Jun 2022 15:10:41 +0000 https://ardud.ro/redesigning-roads-to-put-people-first/ A bus lane on Massachusetts Avenue in North Cambridge. (Photo: Marc Levy) Cambridge is in the midst of a generational shift in how we think about transport and how people move through our streets. Currently, Massachusetts Avenue via Porter Square takes center stage for this change. While some of the loudest debates currently center on […]]]>

A bus lane on Massachusetts Avenue in North Cambridge. (Photo: Marc Levy)

Cambridge is in the midst of a generational shift in how we think about transport and how people move through our streets. Currently, Massachusetts Avenue via Porter Square takes center stage for this change. While some of the loudest debates currently center on parking and bike lanes, the outcome is equally critical for the more than 10,000 people a day who take buses along this part of the avenue every day but rarely have a voice in the current approach to public engagement processes.

A transformed Massachusetts Avenue must allocate space that prioritizes people over vehicles, as Governor Charlie Baker’s Commission on the Future of Transportation said. Just as important as the infrastructure changes visible on the street will be the behind-the-scenes operational preparations for new, high-frequency and more reliable bus service thanks to the revamp of the bus network recently launched by the MBTA. Decisions made and actions taken today will determine how people travel on Massachusetts Avenue for decades to come, and how successfully the new bus system can provide that level of bus service.

The MBTA has proposed Redesign of the bus network is the culmination of a years-long process to make bus service better, faster and more reliable. This is a unique opportunity to transform the MBTA bus network to meet the needs of people who ride the bus today – not 50 years ago – and to encourage more people to ride the bus in the future. It designates Massachusetts Avenue as a key corridor for high-frequency bus routes, running every 15 minutes or better for 20 hours a day, seven days a week.

The improved routes will connect people to and through Porter Square, from Arlington and Malden, with direct connections to destinations throughout the region. Around Porter Square this includes the proposed T77 and T96 high frequency routes. The 83 will also run every 30 minutes or better.

The MBTA plan alone only gets us halfway to that vision and to what the people who ride the bus deserve. We need municipalities and other road owners to do their part by making room for bus priority lanes and improving bus stops. This means difficult conversations about how to allocate limited space on the street – conversations that are already taking place in Cambridge, but have largely focused on space for bicycles and on-street parking. It’s time for buses and the people who depend on them to be part of those conversations.

Cambridge is already a leader in bus priority, multi-modal streets for walking and cycling, and creating creative places. The city also has some of the most ambitious goals in the region — and the nation — for climate resilience and sustainability. The redesign of Massachusetts Avenue, not just at Porter Square, but along the entire corridor from Alewife Brook Parkway to the Arlington Line to the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge over the Charles River, is a regional opportunity to demonstrate how a community can put its equity, safety and sustainability goals into action by transforming its most iconic street.

Municipalities, planners and policy makers are realizing that to combat congestion, reduce climate pollution, improve public health, unlock economic opportunity and close racial equity gaps, we must design streets that prioritize to the movement of people. Sometimes that means making tough decisions and big diversions from “what has always been.” But with Greater Boston suffering from some of the worst vehicular traffic jams in the nation and our ever-escalating climate crisis, leaving the status quo in place will only exacerbate our problems.

The sad truth is that so far, despite a decade of talk, Massachusetts has fallen short of its goals of reducing vehicle pollution, reducing road deaths and improving transportation fairness. . We cannot pass up opportunities for transformative change.

To truly fix transportation, it takes not just a fresh coat of paint, but a visionary, people-centric transformation. Providing real mobility solutions is key to achieving goals set by the city, such as the Reduced Vehicle Journey Ordinance, Cambridge Transit Strategic Plan, Envision Cambridge and the Action Plan for Cambridge Climate, and by the state through the Global Warming Solutions and Net Zero Emissions Act. Goals.

Making roads safe, comfortable and accessible to users of all ages, abilities, incomes and modes of travel leads to healthier and stronger communities. The transformation of Massachusetts Avenue is an important step toward building the modern, reliable transportation network that Greater Boston truly needs and deserves.


Adi Nochur is Senior Transport Planner at Metropolitan Area Planning Council. Julia Wallerce is the Boston Program Manager for the Institute for Transport and Development Policy.

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From Dhaka to Freetown, climate migration puts cities on alert https://ardud.ro/from-dhaka-to-freetown-climate-migration-puts-cities-on-alert/ Sat, 11 Jun 2022 21:38:00 +0000 https://ardud.ro/from-dhaka-to-freetown-climate-migration-puts-cities-on-alert/ By Kim Harrisberg and Carey L Biron/Beira, Mozambique/Washington When Mozambican fishmonger Manuel Machava hears that the fishermen have landed a bumper catch of mackerel, crabs or prawns, he has mixed feelings – happy for their good fortune, but worried about how he can sell their catch before it does. perish.More than three years after Cyclone […]]]>

By Kim Harrisberg and Carey L Biron/Beira, Mozambique/Washington

When Mozambican fishmonger Manuel Machava hears that the fishermen have landed a bumper catch of mackerel, crabs or prawns, he has mixed feelings – happy for their good fortune, but worried about how he can sell their catch before it does. perish.
More than three years after Cyclone Idai devastated the fish market in the city of Beira, Machava and other traders continue to do business in ill-equipped makeshift plastic shelters offering little respite from the scorching sun .
“We are losing up to two tons of fresh produce a day,” said Machava, 52, coordinator of the Beira fishing community, from inside the Praia Nova fish market, which now needs to be repaired thanks to a grant aimed at helping cities tackle climate-related displacement.
The fishing community of Beira – a mainstay of the local economy – was hit hard by Idai, which killed hundreds of people across southern Africa, displacing thousands more and causing millions of dollars of damage in poor countries, including Mozambique.
Idai has been followed by three other tropical cyclones to date.
Now officials in the Indian Ocean town plan to use the new funding to try to relocate hundreds of fishing families threatened by future flooding – encouraging them to move to safer ground with promises new equipment, refrigerators and road access.
Their efforts reflect a growing global concern about how extreme weather fueled by climate change – storms, droughts and floods – is pushing millions of people from their homes.
At a UN meeting last month, governments came together for the first time to consider a 2018 global agreement on migration, with mayors from cities around the world meeting on the sidelines to discuss their experiences of climate-related displacement.
Around 2,000 people are arriving in Bangladesh’s capital every day, driven from their homes by rising sea levels and flooding of farmland, said Dhaka North Mayor Mohamed Atiqul Islam, one of the nearly a dozen mayors who attended the forum in New York.
The influx creates an opportunity for the city’s future economic growth, but also poses many short-term challenges, he said.
“(It) creates additional pressure on our environment and our ability to provide services…Where are they going to stay?” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by telephone.
Islam’s administration receives support from the Bangladeshi government, but he said cities like his do not have direct access to global climate finance, especially for adaptation measures, and need support. a greater say in how to react to sudden changes in population.


Informal settlements
Climate change could drive 216 million people to move within their countries by mid-century, including 86 million in sub-Saharan Africa alone, according to a World Bank estimate last year.
Yet while many national governments continue to view climate migration as a problem for the future, according to analysis by the Center for Global Development, a US-based think tank, city officials around the world say it’s already wreaking havoc.
“That’s the reality,” Freetown Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr said by phone. “Women who used to be farmers… are (now) living in informal settlements trying to sell mangoes because they can no longer support themselves.”
Sierra Leone’s capital has limited capacity to respond, she said, being crippled in access to finance and even local regulation, with issues such as land-use planning and building permits supervised by the national government.
“But when the floods happen, (local residents) turn to the city council,” said Aki-Sawyerr, who along with other mayors took those concerns to UN officials in New York.
Beira was one of five cities facing climate displacement to receive funding from the Mayors’ Migration Council (MMC), an advisory body led by mayors that met on the sidelines of the United Nations meeting last month.
Five more will be announced at the COP27 climate summit in November.
The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the importance of local leaders in meeting the needs of migrants, including those compelled to move by climatic factors, said Colleen Thouez, senior fellow at The New School of New York who works on these questions for years.
“We no longer convince (world leaders) of the importance of having the voice of mayors – the UN invites them and recognizes their central role as carriers of solutions,” she said.
Covid-19 emergency policies may also have influenced thinking about how to handle sudden influxes of migrants, Thouez said, citing a greater drive to expand access to health and education as an example. social assistance to people without the necessary documents.


Adaptation course
At the Beira Fish Market, the orange sunset is visible through a space where the roof once stood. Some of the remaining metal rafters dangle precariously to the ground, a reminder of the devastation of the 2019 cyclone.
Some $200,000 from the MMC fund will now be used to repair the fish market and initially relocate 100 families living in flood-prone areas to less vulnerable fishing neighborhoods in Beira, with the possibility of relocating hundreds more.
Unlike other aid, MMC directly funds municipal governments to “implement projects of their own design”, said Samer Saliba, the organization’s practice manager, noting that Beira Mayor Albano Carige, submitted the fish market project.
“His administration will receive and use the funds independently,” Saliba added.
In his office in the city council buildings on Market Road, Carige said he hoped life could finally return to normal for fishermen, fishmongers and their families in Beira.
He is also keen to share his city’s climate adaptation lessons with other local government officials around the world and ensure that Beira is better placed to deal with future climate-related threats.
“Beira is a vulnerable city,” Carige said.
“In the future, I don’t want to stress when we hear that a disaster is coming. I want to feel that we are strong enough to adapt to climate change,” he added. —Thomson Reuters Foundation

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Upheaval hits Utah’s craft brewing industry • Salt Lake Magazine https://ardud.ro/upheaval-hits-utahs-craft-brewing-industry-salt-lake-magazine/ Thu, 09 Jun 2022 22:30:24 +0000 https://ardud.ro/upheaval-hits-utahs-craft-brewing-industry-salt-lake-magazine/ when it comes to Utah’s liquor laws, it’s still one step forward and two steps back for local craft brewers. In 2021, the Utah State Legislature increased the alcohol percentage by volume allowed for beers sold in grocery stores to 5% from 4% ABV. This year, the legislature passed a bill that cuts half of […]]]>

when it comes to Utah’s liquor laws, it’s still one step forward and two steps back for local craft brewers. In 2021, the Utah State Legislature increased the alcohol percentage by volume allowed for beers sold in grocery stores to 5% from 4% ABV. This year, the legislature passed a bill that cuts half of hard seltzer available from the grocery store. The legislator also debated raising the excise tax on beer manufacturing by linking it to inflation.

When Utah craft brewers need to advocate to the state legislature, that’s where the Utah Brewers Guild comes in. Current Chairman of the Board of Directors Utah Brewers Guild and founder of Crossing Brewery. Medura says the brewers have reached an agreement with lawmakers to put the excise tax debate on the back burner for now. “We already have one of the highest excise taxes. We just wanted to make sure they understood where we were coming from, economically, and find common ground, if there is any. We believe we have succeeded in educating the legislature.

Mark Medura founded Level Crossing Brewing in 2019

Even before the start of the legislative session, this year has already seen big upheaval for Utah’s craft brewers. The largest breweries based in Utah, Uinta Brewery and CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective (which includes Squatters Craft Beers and Wasatch Brewery) were acquired by two national companies. Monster Beverage Corporation gobbled up Squatters and Wasatch in a $300 million deal (more on that here), and American drink acquired Uinta, Utah’s largest independent craft brewer. The management, operations and staff of Uinta Brewery will remain in place. “There will be no visible change to the public,” says Jeremy Ragonese, president of Uinta Brewing. “We will continue to invest in our brewers and employees and grow the brand here in Utah.”

The acquisitions, Ragonese says, demonstrate how difficult it can be for Utah craft brewers to grow their business. “Growth challenges are inherent everywhere,” he says. “We are still concerned about the restrictions put in place on how we manufacture our products.” The debate over selling hard seltzer at the grocery store, for example, boils down to a technicality of the manufacturing process. Although they are all still 5% ABV, in some hard seltzers the alcohol is added with flavoring rather than fermentation. “The legal definition of beer, which seltzers belong to, needs to be updated,” says Ragonese, who says Uinta plans to launch new flavors of its own Westwater Hard Seltzer.

Existing restrictions on the direct sale of their products to consumers are also of particular concern. “We just wish we could sell all the beers we produce,” says Medura. For example, heavy beers (anything above 5% ABV) must be sold at the DABC store. “In order for us to serve this to consume in our bar, we need a bar licence. So we’re fighting for those same competitive licenses as the bars. Medura says that for a single license available in February 2022, there were up to 15 establishments lining up. That’s why they are investigating a workaround. “We are exploring with lawmakers over the next two sessions the possibility of breweries getting their own set of licenses,” Medura says.

“WE JUST WISH TO BE ABLE TO SELL ANY BEER WE PRODUCE.”

-MARK MEDURA, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD,
UTAH BREWER’S GUILD; FOUNDER/CEO,
CROSSING BREWING COMPANY

Uinta Hop Nosh IPA
Uinta Hop Nosh IPA

Even with the challenges, Medura says the craft brewing industry in Utah is growing, and the success of Utah craft brewers on the national stage could be down to the constraints. “Utah’s brewers have to get creative to have a tasty, full-bodied, full-bodied beer at a low ABV. Alcohol content isn’t everything to beer, and Utah brewers are innovating with raw materials to produce delicious beers. Even before the 5% increase, Utah brewers were still winning national awards.

Rangonese also praises the fervor of Utah’s craft brewers. “Despite the headwinds, it’s a great place to do business with lots of really inspiring people making great beers. Utah is represented by some of the most award-winning breweries in the country. Utahns should be very proud. Both breweries have done their share of award-winning beers and plan to do more. Level Crossing’s head brewer, Chris Detrich, won nine national awards in 2021. Medura is especially proud of Cryptoporticus, which won a gold medal at the US Beer Tasting Championships. It’s a double sour IPA that taps into a brewing trend that excites it – using an innovative yeast strain called “Philly Sour”.


Snapshot: Utah’s Craft Brewers

43 craft breweries in 2020 (compared to 16 breweries in 2011)
$477 million in economic benefits
171,827 barrels of craft beer produced per year


Uinta’s lagers and other traditional styles were particularly well received, including their 801, Wasangeles and Lime Pilsner. “We continue to explore other types of beer,” says Ragonese, including “cold” beers, which refers to the type of fermentation process, and expanding their variety of flavors with their Pro-Line. “What’s happening right now is an explosion of style and process variations that may seem scary on the outside, but it only expands the range of products available, making them tastier,” says Ragonese. “Hopefully we can continue to educate decision makers on process and innovation.”

Either way, Utah’s craft brewers aren’t going anywhere (despite the best efforts of some members of the state legislature), and brewers are helping each other to make sure as many people as possible of breweries succeed. “We are happy and proud to be part of this close-knit community. We help each other, we call each other if we need ingredients, that sort of thing. We are all passionate about producing good beers. There have been many breweries that have come before us, and we pay homage to them and the thousands of beers that have gone before them,” says Medura. “We just want to have fun. Beer should be fun.

IF YOU ARE GOING TO…

Level crossing brewing
Bar hours:
Sunday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday & Saturday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
2496 S. West Temple, South Salt Lake
levelcrossingbrewing.com

Uinta Brewery
Brewhouse Pub & General Store Hours:
Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Friday 11am–8pm
Saturday 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
Close on Sunday
1722 S. Fremont Drive, SLC
uintabrewing.com


Learn more about Utah Breweries in our Bar Fly section.

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Beyond the energy price shock, towards China’s low-carbon transition https://ardud.ro/beyond-the-energy-price-shock-towards-chinas-low-carbon-transition/ Tue, 07 Jun 2022 23:17:03 +0000 https://ardud.ro/beyond-the-energy-price-shock-towards-chinas-low-carbon-transition/ Traditional energy production in advanced economies involves importing large quantities of oil and gas from a small number of suppliers. Renewable energy systems under new community ownership structures are being developed across Europe. The objective is to develop cheap, clean and safe energy by bringing the production of electricity closer to the people who will […]]]>

Traditional energy production in advanced economies involves importing large quantities of oil and gas from a small number of suppliers. Renewable energy systems under new community ownership structures are being developed across Europe. The objective is to develop cheap, clean and safe energy by bringing the production of electricity closer to the people who will use it.

Caught between the war in Ukraine, the pandemic and climate change, the European energy system is going through an unprecedented crisis. Bill payers are facing steep increases in energy prices that show no signs of abating. In the second half of 2021, average electricity (and gas) prices jumped by more than 11% in the EU, compared to the same period in 2020, according to Eurostat statistics on electricity prices. That was before the geopolitical crisis resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February led to sanctions that further squeeze energy supplies.

The European Green Deal Strategy which plans to decarbonize energy production in the European Union has been reinforced by the REPowerEU plan reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels. This combination will accelerate the green transition. “In this regard, the Ukrainian crisis can be seen as a catalyst for transitions to renewable energy,” said Nicolien van der Grijp of the NEW ARRIVALS project.

A response to the global energy challenge is being developed locally and regionally through clean energy communities. These are groups of people who voluntarily pool their resources to produce energy together. NEWCOMERS’ goal is to identify successful and sustainable business models in emerging clean communities. A senior researcher at VU Amsterdam’s Department of Environmental Policy Analysis (EPA), van der Grijp says energy communities “help to make citizens more aware of energy issues and give them a perspective to take action themselves.”

Energy imports

Heating and cooling alone account for 30% of Europe’s energy consumption. To meet this demand, around 60% of EU energy needs are met by imports and more than 66% of EU energy imports in 2020 were petroleum products, followed by gas and coal. Instead of importing fossil fuels from afar, the growth of renewables allows energy to be produced closer to where it is consumed.

The main renewables produced in energy communities are solar, wind and hydro, but other sources such as hydrogen, geothermal and district heating are increasingly being tested and deployed. Members of the energy community generally consume the electricity generated and, depending on local conditions, they may also adopt other activities such as carpooling, community gardens and green roofs.

NEWCOMERS highlights the types of political environments in which energy communities thrive, how players are organized, the technologies used, and how business models work. It also analyzes the value created by the energy community for its members and society at large, as well as the effects of membership on energy-related behavior.

“In addition to helping to tackle the climate crisis, energy communities also provide economic and social value,” van der Grijp said. “They can create local jobs and strengthen social cohesion.” The benefits of this approach go beyond independence from polluting sources to include tangible social transformation.

NEWCOMERS research results show that awareness levels differ significantly across European countries. According to van der Grijp, this presents challenges related to creating supportive policies and laws in EU member states. It also complicates grant schemes that support a good business case and services to help people build and operate energy communities.

“We hope our findings will contribute to several policy changes that are urgently needed,” said van der Grijp, who made a series of policy recommendations and a policy brief for European policy makers with similar projects.

Distributed energy

Dr. Maria Rosaria Di Nucci coordinates the COME RES project that aims to facilitate the spread of Renewable Energy Communities (RECs) in nine EU countries and support the implementation of a regulatory framework for RECs. In doing so, the project will initiate processes of learning and exchange between regions with advanced development in the RECs and regions with potential for expansion. Each country has a target and a learning region.

“Renewable energy communities are important vehicles for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and for delivering positive social, environmental and economic impacts,” Di Nucci said. “They also promote regional and rural development.”

“The vision is the evolution of an energy system based on large centralized power plants towards a citizen model of distributed energy production based on renewable energy sources, which still represents a socio-political and regulatory challenge in most European countries,” said Di Nucci. .

The sole selling point of COME RES and the operational arm of the project are the nine so-called country offices. These can be seen as informal dialogue forums involving national project partners, community energy organizations, other key players and market players from specific target regions and beyond. They organize thematic dialogues and policy roundtables to create solutions to overcome existing barriers to community energy growth.

COME RES also provides policy input through policy labs, action plan proposals, policy recommendations and engagement with stakeholders. Fundamental changes are necessary “so that the energy transition continues to be implemented locally and democratically”. Di Nucci mentioned the simplification of financing, the reduction of bureaucratic barriers and the reform of the auction model for renewable energy projects.

Most energy communities adopt the legal form of a cooperative, but they can also take the form of associations or foundations. Some have developed specific approaches to include marginalized groups and people in fuel poverty.

For energy communities to succeed, civic engagement is essential. W4RES works to increase women’s involvement in supporting and accelerating market adoption of renewable energy sources. A total of 50-60 renewable heating and cooling projects and initiatives in eight countries are expected to be supported by the end of the project.

Change Agents

The perspective of W4RES is that women as agents of change can make a difference in the energy transition,” said W4RES Coordinator Ioannis Konstas. Energy communities should involve more women in their organizational structures and provide leadership.

“To be truly transformative, energy access and the energy sector must be linked to an agenda that challenges stereotypes of women,” Konstas said, “and also advances their rights, their dignity and visibility in their various roles as consumers, producers, investors, experts and agents of change.’

Although a relatively new innovation, renewable energy communities hold enormous potential. Their development will have a profound impact on the energy transition and the daily life of European citizens.

The research in this article was funded by the EU. This article was originally publishedin Skylinethe European magazine for research and innovation.

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