The project’s Finnish stakeholders assembled for the first regional meeting on 27 January 2020, following the invitation addressed by the Regional Council of North Karelia.
The stakeholder group involves representatives of public authorities (Finnish Forest Center, Tohmajärvi municipality, Regional Council of North Karelia), research and educational institutions (Karelia University of Applied Sciences, Natural Resources Institute Finland), associations (Joensuu Leader Association, Association for Rural Culture and Education, ProAgria Center) and business sector (the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners, BioKymppi Ltd.).
The meeting agenda included a thorough introduction to the AgroRES project. Its objectives, activities and expected outcomes were discussed in order to give the participants a clear picture of the issues AgroRES intends to tackle. After this, Regional Council of North Karelia presented good practices that were showed to the project group during the first interregional event in Spain, including a floating solar power plant in Extremadura. This led to a lively discussion on the use of renewable energy technologies in agriculture in North Karelia. It was concluded that the region has good know-how on the use of forest-based biomass in heat and power generation and several examples of farms that generate energy from biomass or solar resources. However, agricultural machinery is still a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions in the region and new solutions to tackle this challenge should be sought.
The first stakeholder group meeting proved that the members are very interested in promoting the use of renewable energy in agriculture. It was agreed that the region has a lot to offer for the topic and, on the other hand, new ideas can sprout from the practices and experiences of other partner regions.