Osigus praises approval for the “Transformation Wilhelmshaven” project as an “important step”

3.1 million euros for structural change in the Wilhelmshaven region

Press Release /

The Wilhelmshaven region will receive 3,155,217.56 euros for the further implementation of structural change. The money will flow into the “Transformation Wilhelmshaven” project which is being conducted by the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST and the Jade University of Applied Sciences. “Transformation Wilhelmshaven” is intended to help strengthen local transition in the industrial structure and the energy industry in order to increase value creation in the region, thereby sustainably improving the quality of life. The funding stems from the so-called “Kohlemittel” (coal funds), which are provided by the federal government for the management of structural change in the former coal-mining areas and which are administered by the Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Bundes- und Europaangelegenheiten und Regionale Entwicklung (Lower Saxony ministry for federal and European affairs and regional development). The Federal Office of Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA) has now approved the funding. It will run for three years.

© Fraunhofer IST

Lower Saxony’s Regional Minister Wiebke Osigus welcomed the approval: “The ‘Transformation Wilhelmshaven’ project can finally begin. I am extremely pleased that we can continue to shape the structural change in close cooperation with the Wilhelmshaven region. With this project, the Fraunhofer IST and the Jade University of Applied Sciences, in collaboration with local companies and stakeholders, are assuming responsibility throughout the entire region. I am convinced that the results will provide a significant contribution towards the energy transition in Lower Saxony and Germany. The funding is a further important step for Wilhelmshaven along the path to becoming a national energy hub for renewable energies. The 3.1 million euros from the so-called coal funds are being invested here in a future-oriented manner.”

The “Transformation Wilhelmshaven” project aims to identify future prospects beyond the coal industry. Research is also thereby being conducted into new potential outside of the energy industry and the energy system transformation. In collaboration with local companies, fields of action will be identified based on the strengths and weaknesses of the region. Within these, project alliances can be created in the form of research, transfer and innovation alliances. Potential branches of industry in the field of energy transition can be found, in particular, in the hydrogen and recycling sectors. Furthermore, medium-sized companies from the region can receive advice on structural change. One focus is on further training programs in the field of the hydrogen economy.

The Deputy Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Sabrina Zellmer, made it clear: “Wilhelmshaven is already a key player in the energy transition today and will provide a significant contribution towards accelerating this development in the future by supplying Germany's industry with climate-friendly hydrogen and establishing itself as a leading location for sustainable production and value creation. Our aim in the ‘Transformation Wilhelmshaven’ project is to strengthen the local energy industry and infrastructure and to sustainably improve regional value creation through innovative research and transfer projects.”

The Vice President of the Jade University of Applied Sciences, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Holger Saß, said: “We are very pleased to be able to introduce the diverse expertise of a number of departments from the Jade University of Applied Sciences into this challenging transformation process and to thereby provide a contribution towards the development of the region.”


Under the Investitionsgesetz Kohleregion (coal region investment act, InvKG), the federal government is making a total of 157 million euros available to the Wilhelmshaven coal-mining location for structural change as a result of the fossil-fuel phase-out. The funds are primarily earmarked for investments at the location. A proportion of these funds (around 10 percent) can be used for strategic and conceptual preparatory work within the framework of project funding via the federal government’s STARK directive (Stärkung der Transformationsdynamik und Aufbruch in den Revieren und an den Kohlekraftwerkstandorten, English: Strengthening the transformation dynamics and new start in the coal-mining districts and at coal-fired power-plant sites).

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