Exploring the Nordic electric aviation horizon
Nordic countries have ambitious plans and commitments to promote sustainable flight solutions by introducing electric aircraft for short-haul domestic and cross-border flights. How far is it becoming a reality? What infrastructure, policies, interests and concerns are a help or hindrance? Join the discussion about the Nordic electric aviation development, inspired by three newly conducted Nordregio studies in collaboration with Nordic Energy Research and the University of Akureyri. Which Nordic routes will be the first to go electric? Earlier this year, Nordregio published an accessibility study that identified over 200 potential electric aviation routes in the Nordics. This would significantly cut travel time compared to those going by both car or public transportation and yet be a more sustainable mobility solution. However, the feasibility of introducing the necessary infrastructure crucially depends on energy demands and availability. What stands in the way of electric aviation in the Nordics? The Nordic countries are known for their low population density, breathtaking geography with fjords, lakes, and mountains, and a strong focus on sustainable energy. However, each country’s context varies. Take Finland, for example. Electric aviation could improve connections to remote areas and improve regional competitiveness and tourism, yet substantial investments will be needed. Norway could reduce the environmental impact of travels connected to medical care, family and recreation. In Iceland, support for electric aviation is strong, both for environmental reasons and to further regional development. At the same time, an important concern is electrical safety. “It is exciting how soon electric aviation could become a reality in domestic flights in the Nordic countries. For instance, Icelandair has stated that the 30-seat electric airplane, developed by Heart Aerospace, could be used on all domestic routes, and it is estimated that it will be used for passenger transport in 2028,” says Sæunn Gísladóttir, Researcher at the University of Akureyri Research…
Introducing PREMIUM_EU: A new project to prevent brain drain in Europe
Can research and AI-generated policies counter migration trends that tend to harm vulnerable regions? A new project kicks-off an ambitious attempt to find out. People are no longer bound to their birthplaces and are instead choosing to move to other parts of the world in search of better opportunities. In Europe, this has led to a phenomenon known as brain drain, where highly skilled workers leave their home regions in search of better jobs and quality of life. This has left behind areas of Europe that are struggling to maintain their population and attract new talent. PREMIUM_EU is a project that seeks to enlighten and find alternative ways to turn this imbalance around. Why study migration’s effect on remote regions? Migration is a contentious issue in many parts of Europe, and policies that are seen as too favorable to migrants often face opposition from local communities. Shifts in labour sectors, housing shortages, integration tensions. These are some of many concerns receiving countries have about migrant flows. On the other hand, many remote regions face the opposite reality. People are moving and no migrants are arriving to replace them. When highly skilled workers migrate out of a region this can have negative impacts on the economy and social fabric of the region. Loss of talent and expertise combined with an aging population leaves communities in crisis. PREMIUM_EU is built on the premise that spatial mobility, or the ability of people to move freely between different regions, can offer new opportunities to both sending and receiving regions. Europe’s population would shrink dramatically without migration. This project seeks to identify the positive effects of migration that are often overlooked. What is PREMIUM_EU? The lengthy acronym outlines the goal concisely: “Policy REcommendations to Maximise the beneficial Impact of Unexplored Mobilities in and beyond the…
- 2023 April
- Labour market
- Rural development
Nordregio presented during EU seminar on the green transition
The Swedish Presidency of the Council of the European Union hosted a seminar on the 23rd of March, focusing on skills for the green transition for a competitive Europe. Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio Timothy Heleniak was invited to present at the session. The event gathered 150 participants involved in various aspects of education, adult learning, life-long learning, and skills for the green transition from all over Europe. Mats Persson, the Swedish Minister of Education, opened the seminar and highlighted the changing and growing needs in the labour market to achieve Europe’s green transition. “The green transition can only succeed if the European Union has the qualified labour that is needed. Between 2015 and 2021, the labour shortage in sectors considered key for the green transition doubled. This year, The European Year of Skills aims to strengthen competencies and skills needed for the green transition.” Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, focused on the opportunities arising from the green transition. “The green transition could create up to 1 million additional jobs in the EU by 2030. But for that, the right policies need to be in place.” There is a skill gap within the EU, with around 800 000 trained workers needed for the battery section. There is also a demand for experts in renewable energy. “We need to act upon these skills shortages. Our ambitious target is that 60 per cent of adults should participate in training by 2030.” Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio Timothy Heleniak gave a presentation in a session titled ‘Supplying scarcely populated areas with competencies needed for sustainable growth and development’, based on his fieldwork last year in Norrbotten, Sweden, and the green transition there.
- 2023 March
- Green transition
- Labour market
- Rural development
Which electric aviation routes would be most beneficial in the Nordics?
Nordregio launched the accessibility study that identifies over 200 routes in the Nordics in which electric aviation would shorten the travel time by at least 1,5 times, compared to the same route by car or public transport! A Norwegian fisherman Bjørn has just returned to Tromsø after his winter fishing in Andenes. It was supposed to take around 7 hours by car to bring the Atlantic cod home, but since the winter conditions were not the best, it took him much longer than expected. If there were an electric plane route connecting Andenes and Tromsø, the travel time and distance would shorten significantly (from nearly 500km to around 100km), and the environmental impact of such a trip would be reduced. The Nordic region shares many similar accessibility challenges for remote and rural regions. The geographical characteristics of some of these areas, such as large bodies of water, vast forest areas, long coastal lines, mountain ranges and fjords mean that they would experience a significant reduction in travel time using airplanes compared to other modes of transport, such as car, bus or train. About the project This accessibility study is a part of the project “Electric Aviation and the Effect on Nordic Regions”, which aims to investigate how regions and local areas in the Nordic area will be affected by the implementation of electric aviation. The study analyses effects on the local communities, labour market, environment and climate, and the need for developing infrastructure and policies.
Co-creating rural futures in Europe
The SHERPA annual conference was organised in Montpellier, France, at the end of January and focused on co-creating rural futures. It is the last year of the project, and one challenge for the researchers is to capture and utilise the huge amount of knowledge and good suggestions produced at the local level. SHERPA (Sustainable Hub to Engage into Rural Policies with Actors) is a four-year project (2019-2023) with 17 partners funded by the Horizon 2020 programme. The unique thing about the SHERPA project is how it works with the local stakeholders, generates policy-relevant research together at the local level, and delivers information to the EU level. Nordregio is a partner in the SHERPA project and steers the work of several of these Multi-Stakeholder Platforms (MAPs). The MAPs have identified local threats and challenges to living and working in ways that will enable transitions towards climate neutrality and opportunities that could be created and pursued. At the moment, Nordregio is working with MAPs in Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Estonia, which are all in the process of preparing their position papers on how to empower rural areas in multi-level governance processes. Each MAP chooses an area of relevance for their region that highlights main issues and suggestions for solutions. Senior Research Fellow Leneisja Jungsberg and Research Fellow Hilma Salonen are part of the Nordregio SHERPA team. During the conference, Jungsberg and Salonen learnt that the MAPs had similar experiences of the most pressing rural issues now, despite huge geographic, political and social differences. “The SHERPA project is facing a challenge that all research projects and institutions can relate to. How to capture and utilise the huge amount of knowledge and good suggestions that we have produced at the local level? New, more systemic approaches would be needed to reach this aim and…
- 2023 February
- Rural development
Making Europe – and especially rural areas – climate neutral
What kind of transformational changes are needed, effective and just to reach climate neutrality by 2050? EU-funded SHERPA project has just published a new position paper “Climate change & Environmental Sustainability” that focuses on finding answers to the: How do policies facilitate the transition? And what research gaps still exist? Sustainable Hub to Engage into Rural Policies with Actors (SHERPA) is a four-year project (2019-2023) with 17 partners funded by the Horizon 2020 programme. The special thing about the SHERPA project is how it works with the local stakeholders and generates policy-relevant research together at the local level and delivers information to the EU level. Nordregio is a partner in the SHERPA project and steers the work of several of these Multi-Stakeholder Platforms (MAPs). The MAPs have identified local threats and challenges to living and working in ways that will enable transitions towards climate neutrality, and opportunities which could be created and pursued. Based on these discussions, the new Position Paper highlights pathways for a just green transition, including adaptation to climate change. Read the latest Position Paper “Climate change & Environmental Sustainability” Nordregio has been part of several SHERPA publications: Slätmo, E., Löfving, L. (2022) MAP Position Paper (Sweden) – Digitalisation in rural areas. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.7243911 MAP_PP-SW_final.pdf (rural-interfaces.eu) AND MAP_PP-SW_Swedish-version_final.pdf (rural-interfaces.eu) Stjernberg, M., Salonen, H. (eds.) (2022) MAP Position Paper (Finland) – Digitalisation in rural areas. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.7235125 MAP_PP-FI_final.pdf (rural-interfaces.eu) Mändmets, A., Kärk, K. (2022) MAP Position Paper (Estonia) – Social dimension of rural areas DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.7249600 MAP_PP-Estonia_final.pdf (rural-interfaces.eu) Ormstrup Vestergård, L., Refsgaard, K. (2022) MAP Position Paper (Denmark) – Land use and climate change. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.7251683 MAP_PP-DK_final.pdf (rural-interfaces.eu) AND MAP_PP-DK_Danish.pdf (rural-interfaces.eu)