Rural areas in the Mediterranean have become EU’s most vulnerable region to climate change, energy poverty, depopulation trends and the constantly rising urban-rural inequality gap. The European Green Deal calls for urgent protection of these regions, a combination of active public participation with national, regional, local authorities, civil society and industry working closely on development of realistic energy transition and development policies.
The session, “Powering energy transition in rural communities through social and territorial innovation”, will try to bring attention to energy and climate related issues of the rural areas in the Mediterranean and show positive and replicable examples of social and territorial innovations from six completed Interreg Interreg MED RES Community projects and other ongoing European initiatives. The session will explore how social innovation can support local energy transitions through transparent and dynamic governance which empowers citizens in the decision-making process but also enables them to become investors into local infrastructure as part of renewable energy communities. Energy cooperation between rural and urban areas is necessary to create resource-efficient, climate-resilient local economies and this session will show how cities and regions have created effective integral territorial planning measures based on fiscal policies and diversified renewable energy production. By demonstrating best strategies for empowerment of citizens and creation of resilient local communities this event will contribute to EU sustainable energy policy agenda and activities needed to deliver 2030 and 2050 targets.
The session’s centerpiece will be the panel session with six speakers, coming from different backgrounds and institutions. These experienced experts, with a help from the audience will present and discuss what works and what does not in the process of a creating a decentralized, community-based approach to providing renewable energy sources in rural regions.
Aside from hearing about innovative ways to support energy transition of rural areas, participants will be encouraged to actively participate in the session through interactive polls and questions directed at panel speakers.