The City of Genk has started a cooperation with Thor Park partners EnergyVille and EIT InnoEnergy. Under the name ‘GEENkool’, these parties join forces to accelerate Genk’s transition into a carbon neutral city. This new energy coalition will officially launch on 1 January 2021 and will a.o. make an energy roadmap, tailored to Genk’s needs.
The new Energy Coalition of Genk, GEENkool, is launched within the framework of the Climate Plan Genk 2030, which is part of the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. Within this Covenant, Genk, historically speaking a real ‘energy city’, is engaged to strive for carbon neutrality by 2050. The Climate Plan Genk 2030 exists of 53 climate actions.
“Entering cooperations with strong partners such as EnergyVille is one of those actions” declares alderman of Sustainability Toon Vandeurzen. “A second action concerns drafting an energy masterplan. It’s within this context that we’ve created GEENkool.”
Cooperation with EnergyVille and EIT InnoEnergy
Research and knowledge institutes EnergyVille and EIT InnoEnergy are both located in Thor Park at Waterschei. EnergyVille is a cooperation of KU Leuven, VITO, imec and UHasselt, investigating sustainable energy and intelligent energy systems. EIT InnoEnergy is a European public-private cooperation that strives to accelerate the energy transition through innovation. Both parties have a strong reputation both in Belgium and abroad. “This makes them the ideal partners to realise the ambitions of Genk’s Climate Plan” says alderman Vandeurzen.
“We’re specifically working on an energy roadmap, defining the path towards a carbon neutral Genk by 2050” adds alderman Vandeurzen. “Besides that, we’ll work together towards so-called ‘energy living labs’ from day one: we’ll reinforce existing energy projects in our city, but we’ll also stimulate new leverage projects in executing the energy roadmap. Housing renovation is an important part of that, as is the European Green Deal, an important spear point within the EU. We also aspire to create energy living labs for other industries, renewable energy and electric mobility.” The City Council of Genk hopes that GEENkool will lead the way for new cooperations. Alderman Vandeurzen: “In order to achieve that, we want to involve local companies, organisations and the citizens of Genk in this project. We aspire to create a broad energy coalition in Genk.”
In order to boost GEENkool, the city Council of Genk has granted EnergyVille funding. “That way, we meet the research costs related to creating the roadmap” says alderman Vandeurzen. “EnergyVille is a strategic partner in deploying the high energy and climate ambitions of the City of Genk. We expect them to proactively investigate the different initiatives that could contribute to the GEENkool goals. In the end, we want to have access to a strong network of energy experts and new sustainable projects. All of this will be in the interest of the climate in Genk and the city’s citizens.”