©European Union


“How to break down barriers between local action and European policies?” That was the main topic of RURENER’s session at the European Sustainable Energy Week that took place in Brussels from June 4th to June 8th. It was a great honor for the RURENER team to lead this panel as around 100 people came there to listen and interact with the speakers on how to combine top-down and bottom-up approaches regarding rural energy. Most people attended the conference to get inspired by local insights or to lean about EU opportunities and programs and were working at the regional level or at the EU level.

We co-organized the session with:

  • Josep Subirana, Councilor for the environment and quality of life in the Municipality of Avià in Catalunya. Josep works at the very local level of the village with public and private sectors, but he is also trying to share Avià’s successes with other villages around to invite them to have a similar approach and to take action for the climate. (PPT link)
  • Patrizia Nazio, Project Manager of the CESBA Alps Project for the Region Piemonte in Italy. The CESBA-Alps project seeks to develop a shared approach of monitoring-evaluation of impact on the built environment in the Alpine Space region. (PPT link)

To enrich the discussion, we had the pleasure to invite:

  • Bernard Chaverot, President for the Energy Transition Commission in the Association of Communities Les Monts du Lyonnais in France. (PPT link)
  • Julije Domac, President of the FEDARENE (European Federation of Agencies and Regions for Energy and the Environment). Julije is an expert in renewable energy and energy efficiency at the international level, and has worked for the World Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the International Energy Agency. (PPT link)

We started our reasoning by facing that rural territories are resilient when it comes to facing local challenges and adapting to a changing environment through the development of innovative local solutions. However, these territories often have access to small means from the EU, either because the European tools are not adapted to rural areas, or because rural stakeholders are not aware of the existence of these tools. On the other hand, European institutions are asking for feedbacks from these territories to build future policies and allocate the budget. It is a two-ways dialogue that is difficult to settle while both approaches, bottom-up and top-down are sharing common goals. This connection is a real challenge that would benefit to both sides, that are currently suffering from a deteriorated trust in the EU institutions for rural territories, and a limited impact of European policies in these territories.

We asked to the audience what was the first word that came to their mind while thinking about “Local action” and the results were quite interesting. They wrote “engagement”, “empowerment”, “community” or “citizens”. We did the same for “The EU” and the results were “peace” or “together”. This gives a great insight on how people perceive the power of acting at a local level, by connecting human beings and believing in community.

The main barriers that were identified during the session were: political barriers, administrative complexity at the EU or national level, economic barriers, or a mutual misunderstanding of scales. EU institutions need to work on that, as well as state members to accelerate the energy transition and reach the 2030 and 2050 goals. This discussion was very refreshing and has proved us that we are evolving in the right direction by being the voice of rural European communities in the fight against climate change.

We would like to give a big THANK YOU to everyone that attended the session, but also to our speakers that did such a great job at debating on those subjects and answering the questions of the audience. Thank you to the European Commission for organizing the EUSEW 2018 and welcoming us in the wonderful Residence Palace.

See our report : Click here

Lisez notre rapport : Cliquer ici

See you next year EUSEW!

Nagypáli – Winner of the E.ON Energy Globe Award

Last week, the territory of Nagypáli (Hungary) won the E.ON Energy Globe Award in the municipality category, rewarding them for their efforts in sustainability. Nagypáli started the “Green Road Village Development Programme” twenty years ago. As a result of the programme, today almost all forms of renewable energy are displayed in the center of the village: emerald trees, hybrid power plants (wind and solar), photovoltaic solar panels, electric cars and electric filling stations in the village.

The next step is a biogas plant which is currently under project management. This unique programme encompasses residents and elected representatives that are doing their best to be the more sustainable possible.

FRANCE : Dialogue territorial, nouvelles règles, nouveaux outils

La participation des citoyens pour l’élaboration des décisions publiques ayant une incidence sur l’environnement s’outille suite aux réformes de 2016 sur la consultation locale et les procédures de participation. De quoi parle ces réformes ? Quelles sont les nouvelles obligations légales ? Et surtout quels sont les outils à disposition des collectivités pour les mettre en place ? La DREAL Bourgogne Franche-Comté en lien avec l’Institut de la concertation et de la participation citoyenne (ICPC) et FNE BFC “Plateau Débat public” organise une journée dédié au sujet intitulée : “Pas de transition écologique et solidaire sans pouvoir d’agir ! De nouvelles règles pour de nouvelles pratiques ?”.

RURENER était présent et vous propose de partager son Compte Rendu de cette journée passée en compagnie d’acteurs d’acteurs associatifs, de collectivités territoriales mais aussi du commissariat général au développement durable et de porteurs de projets privés comme SNCF Réseau et EDF Energies Nouvelles.

Economic study of opportunities and vulnerabilities for rural territories

The first axis of the “2017, year of innovation for rural energy” project aims at developing a methodology for the monitoring and evaluation of impact of territorial energy strategies. In order to enrich this tool, RURENER is now starting a study on three rural territories in the Massif Central (Center of France). The goal is to identify the vulnerabilities and opportunities given by the energy transition on these territories, and to measure the economic, social and environmental impacts of energy transition policies on these territories. The study is divided into two parts:
1. SWOT analysis
2. Indicators

The SWOT analysis highlights how energy issues can match other issues that the territories have to face. Indeed, there are meeting points and rivalries between territories’ directives and local stakeholders and it is important to identify them. The SWOT method is separated in two parts:
Territorial diagnosis: a more general approach to dress an economic, social and environmental profile of the territory
Energy diagnosis: a more focused approach to identify productions and consumptions, but also renewable potentials
Then, the two diagnoses are crossed in order to interlock energy transition and local dynamics. It allows the territories to understand the link between final user needs and local resources.
This analysis is then used to make prospective scenarios by evaluating local potentials such as renewable potentials (solar, wind, hydro…) and by implementing local energy policies and projects integrated to local dynamics. This part of the scenario is all about planning what will be developed and when, while identifying local stakeholders. Then, we provide help for territories to understand and identify the financial levers that are available to support their projects.

Regarding the indicators, four have been identified:
2 economic indicators
• Job growth due to energy transition: Energy transition is a great employment vector in many fields: refurbishment, renewables, monitoring, maintenance… The tool to complete this indicator makes scenarios of job creation over a 2050 projection. It includes direct and indirect jobs and deducts the destroyed jobs. This tool is only available in France at the moment and is based on national studies that are used to build projections.
Energy bill: the objective is to evaluate financial flows for consumed, imported and produced energy on the territory, the highest the energy bill is, the more vulnerable the territory remains

1 social indicator
Perception survey of local energy transition policies: the goal is to measure citizens’ perception and level of awareness of local energy policies. It is fundamental to involve citizens in the energy transition and this indicator will evaluate the level of involvement of citizens and thus give information on how to best engage the dialogue for an inclusive sustainable local development and reinforce social cohesion.

1 environmental indicator
Avoided GHG emissions: any action being part of an energy transition approach contributes to lowering the level of emissions in our atmosphere by being cleaner and greener. Avoided emissions are the difference of GHG emissions between a renewable and a fossil source of energy for the same final use.

Contribute with us to the European Sustainable Energy Week!

RURENER is presenting a contribution during the European Sustainable Energy Week in Brussels, along with the Avià municipality in Catalunya and the Region Piedmonte in Italy. The panel discussion is entitled:

Breaking down the barriers between local action and European policies

You are all warmly invited. We want this event to be your event too, so tell us about your insights and the subjects you would like to discuss by commenting this post. All constructive contributions are welcome, don’t miss this opportunity to bring up your questions and achievments directly to Brussels.

Detailed programme available soon!

If you are not able to make it to Brussels no worries, the session will be recorded and displayed on the website.

Communication with the European Countryside Movement on the future of the CAP

How to link the European policies to local actions? Not so easy of a task but through the European Countryside Movement (ECM), RURENER is taking part in the European platform working at the European level to promote policies and tools for the integrated development of rural areas. In response to the first official draft of the CAP reforming process under the title “The Future of Food and Farming” by the European Commission, the ECM published a communication entitled “What implications for rural development?” (for French: MER-Com2018-1-FR). RURENER is very much in line with the increased effort to combine agricultural practices with climate action, mentionned in the European Commission document and confirmed by Mihail Dumitru (DG Agri) last Monday 19th of March during an event on “Funding the integrated development of rural territories”.

European (Francophone) Days for the Energy Transition

On January 30th, 31st and February 1st, took place the European Days for the Energy Transition in Geneva, Switzerland. Historically organized in Dunkerque and Bordeaux (alternatively), the meeting took place in Geneva in 2018, opening the circle. A very dense programme for the 3 days event opened with plenary sessions on national policies in France and Switzerland under the theme “cooperate to undertake the energy transition”. What are the stakeholders of the energy transition? Where to invest for the transition? A comparative approach between France and Switzerland outlined two national roadmaps with a common objective of reaching the Paris Agreement goals. While Switzerland is a federal state (divided in “cantons”) with a lot of power at the state level, many grid operators for electricity and a strong dialogue with the citizens in the “canton of Geneva”, France is focused on a national approach with one main grid operator (Edf) and difficulties to include the diversity of local stakeholders and contexts. During the event, workshops were organized to discuss specific subjects such as remunicipalisation of energy, social acceptance of local mobility policies, citizens’ action through energy cooperatives, indirect emissions of local public policies, etc. A rich array of European projects where also presented to illustrate current innovations and initiatives in urban and rural areas. Finally, the Citergie awards were attributed to pilot territories. The European Days were concluded by a discussion between policy makers from Europe (Germany, Italy, Spain) and beyond (Morocco). The discussion highlighted that there is no ideal way to achieve the transition but rather million different ways and they all have strengths and weaknesses. The political decisions at the national and European levels must give the framework for climate action but action comes from the ground, the territories, you and me. So let’s roll our sleeves up and take action because the world is not waiting on us to warm up!

Complete report in French/rapport complet en Français : Note de participation – Assises européennes de la transition – Geneve 2018

Large investment programme in France to benefit rural areas?

The French government is launching its 3rd PIA “Programme for Investing in the Future” with a call for expression of Interest last September to prepare for the call for proposal that will be open during the third term of 2018. The Call for Expression of Interest received more than 110 candidates and 24 were selected to receive 400 000€ to conduct feasibility studies (up to 50% funding) and strengthen their applications for the Call for projects in a few months. Among the 24 laureates for the EoI, the project HAPPI (stands for Hub to Support Innovative Partnership Project) Montana coordinated by Macéo was selected. It gathers about 80 partners from urban and rural territories in the French central mountain range (Massif central).

The goal? Boost and spread innovation in mountainous areas to fasten the development of the region and France as a whole. As partner, RURENER will be involved in facilitating territorial dialogue on energy project, and increase the dissemination of the experimentations in greater Europe. An ambitious project benefiting from a fantastic energy!

More info

From 2017 to 2018

Before you read this, go take a look at the report of ENER’Cyprus, RURENER 2017 General Assembly (especially if you missed it)!

What are the main conclusions for 2017?

RURENER current project “2017 Year of Innovation for Rural Energy” is under progress, the four actions are developed in France for now and will expand to Europe in the coming months.

New cooperation projects are being developed though the Interreg SUDOE and H2020 European programmes.

RURENER strengthened its connection with the European Countryside Movement (ECM) in Brussels to reinforce its lobbying action for rural energy. RURENER is fully supporting the writing of a European Rural Agenda, as promoted by the RED (Rurality Environment Development) and the ECM. Complementary to the current Urban Agenda, the Rural Agenda will be in favor of an integrated sustainable development of rural territories in their diversity. As such, it will help rural territories to get recognition at the EU level for their role in European challenges we are facing today: recognition of the great potential of rural territories for production of renewable energy, promotion of local resources and value chains, re-localization of the economy for a tailored answer to climate changes. The Rural Agenda will strengthen cooperation within the rural context, cope with the imbalance between urban and rural areas and explore the synergies of these poles: decentralized energy production at local levels, outreach of urban innovation centers to support rural innovation, development of cleaner transports and digitized solutions and  much more. For all these reasons, RURENER is strongly in favor of a European Rural Agenda, a necessary tool for a transversal approach of rural (but not only) development.

What’s up for 2018?

In 2018 we will continue to support rural territories developing their energy strategy towards the energy transition, we will continue to develop tools to facilitate the transition, we will continue to be a bridge between rural energy stakeholders across Europe and enhance cooperation between them and, of course, we will continue to bring rural innovations up at the European level. In 2018, the RURENER will also be growing with the recruitment of two new interns to help us turn ideas into actions.

To make a long story short, in 2018 it will be: new projects, new services, reinforced communication, strong cooperation, and a lot of human energy and enthusiasm!