A common target image for the Kongsvinger region

A common target image for the Kongsvinger region

Before we start talking about solutions - we must first agree on where we are going. What future do we really want for the Kongsvinger region and what will it take to create it? It was the starting point for the first workshop in the Kraftutfordingen.

On April 18, we gathered a resource group with participants from the municipalities of Eidskog, Grue, Kongsvinger, Nord-Odal, Sør-Odal and Åsnes, together with local players who represent knowledge and perspectives from industry, research, outdoor life, nature and biodiversity, preparedness, infrastructure , energy and power grids.

During the workshop, the participants worked their way through a number of issues to discuss what future we want for the Kongsvinger region and what it will take to get there.

Why don't we just go straight to talking about a solution?

Like many complex challenges, the power debate is characterized by feelings, assumptions and opinions about what are good/bad solutions.

It can be nice to disagree, as it helps us shed light on challenges and solutions from many perspectives. At the same time, it does not help us if it prevents us from proposing, discussing and prioritizing solutions together - so that we get closer to action.

In order to create space for the good discussions, we must first have something in common to navigate towards, something we can roughly agree on. Therefore, we start the process by talking about where we are going - a common target image - which describes the future we want to create for the region.

Four impossible stories about the Kongsvinger region 2040

How have we worked? 

  1. Hypothesis

The starting point for the work is our hypothesis that the prerequisite for a vibrant region is jobs. Jobs are the starting point for population growth, and tax money that the municipality depends on to carry out statutory tasks.
And that good access to power for industry will lead to us both retaining and increasing the number of jobs.

  1. Discussion tool

Future scenarios are a tool to help us navigate an uncertain future.
In order to challenge established truths and shed light on the possible consequences of the development of renewable energy, as well as developments in the number of jobs, the municipalities and the Kongsvinger region have contributed to outline four different scenarios that point to opportunities and challenges for industry, residents, as well as the environment and natural diversity.

Download four impossible stories as .pdf here 

  1. Discussion paper

Based on the future scenarios, the resource group worked in four groups, each of which took a position on the questions:

  • What challenges do we face to get the population development we want in the region?
  • What is our responsibility, regionally and nationally, in relation to energy?
  • What are the small and large advantages of the Kongsvinger region that we can build on?

The purpose of the assignment was:

  • That the participants should get to know each other
  • That subject experts should become aware of local conditions
  • That we as a region should be challenged from outside

Our future

What challenges do we face to get the population development we want? Some of the points discussed were:
Can we re-dream for a better reputation 
The words we use shape our reality and we are too good at talking ourselves down. Perhaps the key to a bright future is that we lean into the issues, focusing on what we want to achieve and talking more about the good things that will help the region take a clearer position as attractive to people and businesses.

Talent will attract talent 
With the University College, CREDS and Science Park, we have begun to close the gaps around missing educational institutions, a competent environment and jobs for those with a high degree of education.

Attractive workplaces 
Together with industry and business, we must create attractive workplaces. It may mean flexibility, infrastructure for virtual work

Infrastructure is the foundation for good business development
With the new train line and BaneNor, we will have more freight transport through the region. At the same time, we have to work with infrastructure for power grids, roads and charging - to efficiently move goods and people.

Nature and culture 
We are surrounded by nature and culture. But sometimes you don't see the forest for the trees? How can we arrange for more people to take advantage of the good offers in the region. And make room for new activities, to get a broad-spectrum offer, which may hit new target groups.

Knowledge takes us from the "side hole" to those willing to change 
Willingness to change is closely linked to knowledge. In the region, we have a lack of knowledge about energy, our role in the major societal challenges and demands that will soon affect us. Now we work together to acquire more knowledge, the aim is to put ourselves in a position to face challenges ahead, so that we can take care of the citizens in the best possible way.

Our responsibility

What is our responsibility? Some of the points discussed were:

Affordable renewable energy is the industry's competitive advantage 
Our main responsibility lies in covering our own power needs, so that we have enough power for industrial workplaces and maintain the standard of living we have today, which largely depends on access to cheap electricity. Affordable and renewable energy has been - and can still be - a competitive advantage for Norwegian industry. In addition, we must think about energy for preparedness for the region.

Not just a lack of energy – but also a lack of power grids 
An aha experience for many of us is that the challenge with the local power grid is as great as the lack of energy. The lines do not have the capacity to transport more electricity than they already do today. An important part of the solution is energy efficiency, but in order to trigger line investments, the industry must report its need. This can take a long time, due to the assessment of maturity in each individual project, as well as a long processing time. Local production will trigger new development more quickly, and lead to the establishment of lines that the industry can eventually connect to.

The climate goals 
Norway's goal is to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by 50 to 55 per cent by 2030. This means that we must have a level of our emissions, equivalent to what we had in the 1990s. An important part of this transition is the electrification of fossil-powered machines and vehicles.

We can profit by helping our neighbour 
If we have a slightly altruistic perspective, we want to help our neighbour. More production can, with well-thought-out business models, provide more money in the municipal coffers for welfare services, we can learn from the success from when we started extracting oil and managed to build a world-leading supplier industry and become a clear voice as a region in the national.

The possibilities are many, but we must first understand what potential the region has, and where the pain threshold is.

The way forward

Based on the discussions in the workshop, further work is being done to summarize a common target picture that will be presented for input in an open meeting on 5 June in Innlandet Science Park (InSP). More information about this to come.

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