Citizen-powered renewable energy is the way forward for Italy

05 Aug 21

Citizen-powered renewable energy is the way forward for Italy

Europe can only become carbon-neutral if renewable energy communities are part of the plan. As discussed at the recent COME-RES thematic workshop and policy lab in Italy, by decentralising energy production and empowering citizens to engage and take on responsibility, renewable energy communities have the potential to close the energy poverty gap and contribute to a more democratic and inclusive decarbonisation process.

The Italian stakeholder desk event took place on 6 May 2021. The hosts – COME-RES partner ENEA and Ecoazioni - welcomed more than 170 stakeholders to the online event, which involved presentations, groups exercises and discussions.

During the workshop the focus was on Piedmont, Italy's model region for renewable energy communities, where relevant laws and regulations are in place, and where the goal is to cover 10% of the whole territory with energy communities. Additionally, the first energy community in Apulia – the COME-RES target region - was presented. In this energy community of Roseto Valfortore, citizens, businesses and local authorities have joined together to maximise the use of natural resources of the region and, through targeted investments, to ensure the local community benefits from the initiative. Together the workshop participants analysed the Piedmont and Apulia experiences, identifying both strengths and weaknesses. They underlined the importance of the role of regional authorities in supporting renewable energy communities, in particular in by targeting rural and marginalised urban settings. Other topics discussed included integrating different renewable sources such as wind, solar, biomass or geothermal energy, and overcoming the uncertainty caused by transitions of rules in the path of the EU's Renewable  Energy  Directive  (RED  II) transposition.

The huge attendance, despite the challenges of hosting this event online during the COVID 19 pandemic, showed the dedication of the various stakeholders to driving the energy transition in Italy. As the Italian experience has shown, the role of renewable energy communities, within which citizens become responsible actors, and the decentralisation of energy production is key on the path towards a carbon-neutral future.

For more on the Italian Thematic Workshop and Policy Lab click here.

To learn more about the Italian stakeholder desk click here.

Image: REC Magliano Alpi

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