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The European subsidy program Interreg Flanders-Netherlands is investing over ‚ā¨1,1 million in the FACILEX innovation project, which will focus on developing energy sharing across the Dutch-Belgian border.

The project aims to dismantle three main types of barriers: legal, spatial, and administrative. Through thorough research, it seeks to develop practical solutions to these obstacles. This initiative not only supports the physical sharing of resources like heat and CO2 but also promotes a smoother regulatory environment for such exchanges.

Synergizing resources

A prime example of FACILEX’s efforts is the partnership between BASF and the cluster of greenhouses in Rilland, Zeeland. BASF, which is the largest chemical production center in Belgium, produces significant amounts of residual heat and CO2. These are now utilized by the greenhouses across the border, enhancing crop growth conditions by providing necessary warmth and carbon dioxide, thus creating a win-win situation for both entities.

Another ambitious facet of FACILEX is the creation of an energy community in the Hazeldonk-Meer transport zone. Here, 50 companies collaborate to harmonize their energy production and consumption. The area is seeing an upgrade in its wind turbines, which, along with the formation of the energy community, helps ensure a balanced energy distribution that meets the needs of local businesses, including sufficient power for electric vehicle charging stations.

Policy innovation and regional collaboration

FACILEX doesn’t stop at practical energy solutions; it also focuses on policy recommendations. These are developed from insights gained through various case studies within the project. A structured cross-border dialogue between local governments and stakeholders is fostering knowledge exchange and building competencies necessary for crafting regional policy visions. This collaborative approach not only enhances policy-making but also turns participating bodies into ambassadors for sustainable energy practices.

The success of FACILEX could serve as a blueprint for future cross-border energy sharing initiatives. By overcoming significant legal and administrative hurdles and demonstrating the tangible benefits of resource sharing, FACILEX is setting a precedent for international cooperation in energy management, potentially inspiring similar projects across Europe and beyond.