First off, we would like to say a special welcome to our new Norwegian financiers and partners who have joined FAIR since the project was granted an extension until the end of October 2022. The extension means that the project’s partnership is strengthened and that the geography of FAIR now includes Nordland County.
It is an incredibly exciting time to work with regional development in the Kvarken region right now and everything is happening fast. The ongoing electrification, and the region’s access to sustainable energy has created a great deal of interest for energy-intensive industries to be established in the emerging industrial cluster Nordic Battery Belt, with investments in all parts of the region (Nordland, Västerbotten and the Ostrobothnian landscapes). Batteries produced in our region can help make the transport sector fossil-free. Electrification is also at the heart of our project and therefore we are proud of the commitment to these issues that we see in our region.
There are many reasons for us to be proud of our region. A region that offers spectacular nature all the way from the Atlantic coast via the mountains to the world heritage in the High Coast and the Kvarken archipelago. In addition, there is a strong tourism sector with exciting destinations and a great commitment to both culture and sports in the region as well.
The ongoing pandemic has been devastating in many ways, but during the pandemic we have also learned the word ”staycation” and we have become better at discovering the gems of our own region. When the restrictions ease, we believe that there is a strong potential for the Kvarken region to continue to develop as a tourist destination for both domestic and international visitors.
Weak connections in east-west direction remain a cross-border challenge. Electric aviation is a welcome addition to our transport system, and it has the potential to bridge distances in a fast, smooth, and environmentally friendly way throughout the region.
“The first year of the FAIR project has been intensive”
The first year of the FAIR project has been intensive. Together with the work group, we have focused on gathering knowledge in what for most of us is a new area – electric aviation. We have organized well-attended webinars with international speakers, we have organized a joint conference with the Czech Embassy, and we have organized separate meetings with airports, airlines, power companies, development companies and other interesting actors. In parallel with this, we have started to produce our own results and can proudly see that the first reports from the project have now been published – the University of Vaasa and Umeå University have published research papers, BioFuel Region has published a unique overview of the status of electric aviation and WSP Finland has produced an analysis of the potential of electric aviation for the Kvarken region. And this is just the beginning!
The project has attracted great interest and contributed to the region being recognized in new contexts with our partners now being at the forefront of electric aviation in terms of competence. At the same time, concrete investments are also being made at airport level, and we were pleased to notice the fossil-free flight academy that will be established in Skellefteå! Due to the competence we have gained in the project and the results we have begun to produce; we have also had the honour of becoming members of the Swedish Electrification Commission’s stakeholder group for electric aviation.
We now want to take the opportunity to extend a big thank you to our financiers and everyone we have met in our search for knowledge. We have above all appreciated the very rewarding discussions and the many good ideas that have come from you during this first year of the project. We look forward to taking new steps this autumn, but first we wish you all a great summer!
Andreas Forsgren and Isak Brändström
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