TWINS | Conference Ruhr

Welcome Reception

The three-day TWINS Conference Ruhr - Cities in Climate Change opens with an evening reception at the Zollverein UNESCO World Heritage Site on 6 November.

The TWINS community will be welcomed by Thomas Kufen, Lord Mayor of the City of Essen, Josef Hovenjürgen MdL, Chair of the Ruhr parliament of the Ruhr Regional Association, and Dr. Heinrich Dornbusch, CEO of the KlimaExpo.NRW. During the panel discussion, participants will learn more about how the City of Essen transformed from a coal and steel town to the European Green Capital 2017 and became a role model for structural change for other European cities. The panel will also share their insights into how the entire Ruhr Metropolitan Area had to reinvent itself repeatedly and is now moving into a green decade, and how the state-based initiative KlimaExpo.NRW acts as an engine for progress in the transformation from gray to green.

The impact of climate change in urban areas will be rendered more tangible through an interactive game which will enable participants to find out more about their respective cities. With various opportunities for inspiring conversations and encounters, the evening reception will be completed with live music from the renowned ensemble Trionova and a fine selection of food and drinks.

Moderator: Harald Greising, Leverkusen, Germany

hosted by the

European Green Capital - Essen 2017


Panel discussion

Interactive game

Talk and buffet

End of reception

© Jochen Tack / Stiftung Zollverein

Hall 12 - Plenary Hall

Talks + Workshops

The second day of the TWINS Conference Ruhr - Cities in Climate Change combines inspiring talks with interactive workshops on common challenges within the realm of climate change mitigation and adaptation.

hosted by the

Ruhr Regional Association

10 am

Welcome address by conference host
Karola Geiß-Netthöfel, Regional Director, Regional Ruhr Association, Essen, Germany

Welcome address by representatives of the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia
Ina Scharrenbach, Minister for Regional Identity, Local Affairs, Building and Gender Equality of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Düsseldorf, Germany


Inspiring keynote speakers will welcome the TWINS community, sparking the conversation by highlighting the connection between climate change and urban growth:

Karl Falkenberg
Director General for Environment of the European Commission, Brussels, Belgium

Saskia Beer
Founder/Director, TransformCity®, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Subsequently, Monika Zimmermann, Deputy Secretary General of ICLEI – Local Governments of Sustainability, will introduce the Urban Transitions Alliance, a city cooperation project that will continue the dialogue of the TWINS Conference Ruhr.

Emphasizing the significance of local climate action, city TWINS will provide additional insight on the everyday challenges of cities facing climate change.

© ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability

12 pm

After lunch, participants will get the chance to discover the industrial architecture of the Zollverein UNESCO World Heritage site.

© Jochen Tack / Stiftung Zollverein

2 pm

Parallel workshops will focus on key thematic areas relevant for cities in climate change. The set-up will enhance multi-dimensional and interactive discussions that enable participants to exchange their experiences, define common challenges and find potential solutions.


Jost Wilker, Green Infrastructure Office, Ministry for Environment, Agriculture, Conservation and Consumer Protection of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, Düsseldorf, Germany

Reinder Brolsma, Senior Researcher, Urban Water Management, Deltares, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Green and blue urban infrastructure including: trees, green roofs and walls and green public spaces not only increase the attractiveness of urban areas, they are also critical for ​​climate change adaptation. Green infrastructure elements are able to reduce the impact of extreme weather events such as heavy rain and heat waves and act as carbon sinks, contributing to local climate protection particularly if combined with water-sensitive urban design principles. For example, urban trees and green corridors are able to improve local micro-climates, while urban parks can act as rainwater retention basins. Establishing a well-connected, high quality network of green and blue infrastructure is vital in order to reap all the ecosystem benefits they provide. To achieve this, better integration of green infrastructure into urban planning processes is essential.

Hall 12 - Room 1


Jan-Philippe Schilt, Project Manager, eco – Association of the Internet Industry, Cologne, Germany

Carolin Schröder, Head of Participation Research Unit, Technical University Berlin, Germany

Urban planning and decision-making processes have become increasingly efficient, data-based, inclusive and participatory thanks to the use of modern information and communication technologies (ICT). Today, the collection, processing and mining of data has become a key pillar of innovative city management and planning. With respect to climate change, data and digital technologies enable local governments to measure, report and verify the impacts of their mitigation and adaptation measures. In addition, smart technologies provide novel ways of communicating, engaging and co-creating with citizens and local stakeholders. However, the "digital revolution" does not only provide opportunities. Data security, privacy and the socio-economic impacts of automation and digitalization pose new threats that need to be adequately discussed and addressed.

Hall 12 - Plenary Hall

Speaker: Holger Dalkmann, Senior Advisor, Agora Verkehrswende, Berlin, Germany

The decarbonization of urban transport constitutes an important shift within local climate protection. To limit CO2 emissions, individual motorized vehicles need to be reduced and replaced by eco-friendly modes of urban transport. In addition to the expansion of foot and cycle paths and the provision of bicycle rental systems, more investment is required to develop well-functioning local and regional public transportation networks. Electric mobility is another important field of action for local governments. Investment in public charging stations is vital to ensure a continuous supply of power for the growing number of electric cars, motorcycles and bikes. Lastly, urban freight needs to be optimized and intelligently controlled in order to minimize the movement of goods during peak traffic.



Hall 2


Ute Collier, Senior Programme Leader, Renewable Energy Division, International Energy Agency (IEA), Paris, France

Peter Schilken, Senior Project Manager, Energy Cities, Besançon, France

Cornelia Schuch, Senior Expert Energy-efficient buildings, German Energy Agency (DENA), Berlin, Germany

Cities generate up to 80% of all CO2 emissions, contributing significantly to global climate change. In order to address this situation and reduce their impact on the environment, local governments are increasingly focused on the expansion of renewable energy as an alternative to traditional fossil fuels. On the political level, a local energy transition requires ambitious goals and a viable renewable energy action plan as well as the active involvement of citizens and local companies. On a technical level, local and regional distribution networks need to be modernized, expanded and equipped with intelligent measuring systems and storage technologies to realize the transition to sustainable, decentralized energy systems.

Hall 6


Jurn de Winter, Project Manager, Circle Cities Program, Circle Economy, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Corrado Topi, Senior Research Fellow, Environment Department, University of York / Stockholm Environmental Institute, York, UK

Globally, cities consume around 70% of all resources including energy, water resources and other material flows. But cities still follow unsustainable linear consumption patterns. The efficient use and re-use of scarce resources is necessary to realize climate targets. Domestic, commercial and industrial waste must be avoided, recycled or find its way back into a circular value chain. Water and waste water cycles must also be designed in such a way that nutrients and waste heat can be reused. This circular economy vision in cities requires a holistic, cross-sectoral approach. Resource efficiency also constitutes a key driver for sustainable industrial development.

Coal Washery

Speaker: Christine Lemaitre, CEO, German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB), Stuttgart, Germany

Buildings account for around one-third of global energy consumption and generate around one-fourth of global CO2 emissions, creating a need for action within cities. Concrete measures encompass the refurbishment of existing buildings in order to reduce their energy consumption. New buildings have to be built in line with energy-efficiency standards. In addition, technological advances in terms of tri-generation and solar power make it already possible to build plus-energy houses. Energy consulting and support programs, civic participation as well as the involvement of stakeholders from academia and the private sector are necessary to redesign both the existing and planned built environment. Finally, adaptation to climate change impacts such as heat waves, storms or flooding need to be factored in.

Coking Coal Bunker 1

Speaker: Janpeter Beckmann, Project Manager, Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP), Wuppertal, Germany

The implementation of climate mitigation and adaptation measures requires a large amount of financial investment. New financial instruments and financing models such as green bonds and public-private partnerships are needed to retrofit existing building stocks, transform local energy systems and optimize public transport networks. Similarly, alternative finance is needed for the expansion and maintenance of green infrastructure and resiliency projects. On this note, climate protection and sustainability criteria need to be integrated into public procurement processes. To accelerate the identification of new financing mechanisms and integration of sustainable public procurement principles, a practical exchange between local governments on their experiences is important.

Coking Coal Bunker 2

5 pm

At the final plenary session, the outcomes of these in-depth exchanges are summarized and presented. As a follow-up, a collective statement mirroring the conference results will be compiled and presented at the 2017 UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany.


Dhirendra Kumar
Team Lead - Programme Officer, Regulatory Implementation Unit, Sustainable Development Mechanisms
Programme, United Nations Climate Change Secretariat, Bonn, Germany


The results will be condensed and visualized in cooperation with graphic recorder Marie Jacobi.

© Marie Jacobi /

Excursion Program

On the third day of the TWINS Conference Ruhr - Cities in Climate Change, participants can experience climate protection on site. Excursions will take place at selected regional climate change mitigation and adaptation projects. As a showcase, the KlimaExpo.NRW presents projects that are using innovative solutions to rise to the challenges presented by climate change.
Conference participants are invited to explore a variety of impressive climate action projects from a range of topics and assimilate fascinating information at first hand. Accompanied by project managers, they will gain deeper insights into different topics relevant for cities in climate change.

hosted by the


Discover leading examples of climate-friendly districts in the Ruhr area.

Solar City, Gelsenkirchen
Best practice for solar planning

Ruhr Energy Lab, Gelsenkirchen
Role model for energy-efficient reconstruction

CHP-installations, Gas und Wärme Institut, Essen
Presentation of combined heat and power plants in single and multi-family houses and commercial units

© Manfred Vollmer

Gelsenkirchen Essen

Discover leading examples of climate-friendly districts in the Ruhr area.

InnovationCity Ruhr / Elting Quarter, Essen
A case study for sustainable urban renewal

GBB Plus Energy House, Bottrop
The country’s first Plus Energy House in a publicly subsidized multi-storey residential building

Creativ.Quarter Lohberg, Dinslaken
From colliery to carbon-neutral urban district

© RAG Montan Immobilien

Essen Bottrop Dinslaken

This excursion provides insights into projects which are involved in new energy technologies and innovative research. New storing technologies and the longest superconductor cable in the world, right in the middle of the city of Essen, offer innovative opportunities to climate-friendly city development.

Fraunhofer UMSICHT & Volterion, Oberhausen
The Fraunhofer UMSICHT stands for research on the transformation of energy and raw material systems. The project Volterion, as a Spin-Off of Fraunhofer UMSICHT, develops innovative batteries for domestic use to store power from renewable energy sources and is an example for the success of the Institutes work.

Aluminium electrolysis as a virtual battery, TRIMET, Essen
The energy storage of TRIMET enables the integration of renewable energy into the power supply system and supports secure energy supply.

AmpaCity, innogy, Essen
The 15 cm thick superconductor cable replaces a classic 110 kV cable line along a one-kilometre stretch and can conduct electricity with virtually no resistance.

© Fraunhofer UMSICHT

Oberhausen Essen

Is it possible to include electric vehicles into the mobility fleet of a municipal administration? What is needed to integrate a climate-friendly bike-highway in a metropolitan area? This excursion takes you to selected innovative examples in the Ruhr area.

Ruhr Bike Highway – RS1, Regional Ruhr Association, Essen
The RS1 (Radschnellweg Ruhr) is the first bike highway in a metropolitan area and offers a new high-speed link for climate-friendly mobility in the Ruhr region. The presentation stops at the Regional Ruhr Association first before visiting the RS1 bike highway on-site.

metropol-E, Dortmund
Integration of an inter-modal pooling system that focuses heavily on the integration of electromobility, bicycles and local as well as long-distance public transport.

© AGFS/P.3 Agentur

Essen Dortmund


09:30 - Meeting Point
Fritz-Schupp-Allee, Zollverein UNESCO World Heritage Site
For detailed information, please see the map.

10:00 - Departure
Please make sure to be on time.

15:00 - Return
Zollverein UNESCO World Heritage Site


Participants take part in presentations as well as in guided tours (partly outside).

Please follow the safety regulations at the sites and the instructions of the project managers at all times.
Please also consider the weather in your choice of clothes.