The structural change in the Ruhr metropolitan region in the context of the planned end of coal-fired power generation poses numerous challenges, especially for the local communities. One instrument to support them in overcoming these challenges is the "5 Location Programme". Through this, the five municipalities particularly affected – Duisburg, Gelsenkirchen, Herne, Hamm and the district of Unna – are supported by funding from the Coal Regions Investment Act. However, due to the current management of the Corona pandemic, the energy crisis and the effects of the war of aggression on Ukraine, there is often a lack of capacity and competence to turn sensible ideas into good municipal funding projects. In order to extract effective, feasible projects from the municipalities that are relevant to structural change, the project "5 Location Programme Helper Pool: Process-Accompanying Service for the Qualification of Project Outlines Within the Framework of the "Structural Strengthening Act for Coal Regions" therefore identifies and specifically implements corresponding qualification and advisory needs.
On behalf of the Business Metropole Ruhr, which is responsible for the 5 Location Programme, researchers from the Wuppertal Institute, together with consultants from agiplan (project management), prisma consult and Prof. Dr. Gerhard Bosch, provide flexible and demand-oriented consulting services at the professional, content-related and strategic levels. Each of the project participants takes on a specific consulting area in order to be able to offer the broadest possible expertise for the qualification of the municipal project approaches. The researchers focus in particular on the presentation of sustainability effects as well as the thematic field of action "Energy and climate protection – integrated into the economy" with a focus on aspects of the Circular Economy. Here, the focus is particularly on Circular Economy strategies for companies and institutions at the municipal level – so-called R-strategies, such as Re-use, Recycle and Repair. With regard to the presentation of sustainability effects of the project approaches to be qualified, the researchers contribute expertise in particular on questions of method selection and the definition of indicators and criteria as well as measurement and assessment in the area of sustainability effects.
In the long term, municipalities and municipal enterprises are to be supported on the basis of the consultations in being able to implement the phase-out of coal-fired power generation and transform the economic structure of the Ruhr metropolitan region in a sustainable way. The 5 Location Programme – and thus also the Helper pool – is funded by the Ministry for Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Protection and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.