Energy communities in Italy have had significant attention and support from policymakers as the country commits to transitioning towards a more sustainable energy system. These communities are seen as an important tool for achieving energy decarbonisation, reducing energy costs, and improving energy security.
Energy communities are diverse and vary in size, scope, and objectives. Some communities focus on meeting the energy needs of a single building or neighbourhood, while others aim to supply electricity and heat to an entire town or city. The initiatives undertaken by these communities include the installation of solar panels, wind turbines, and geothermal systems, energy efficiency measures, the use of smart grid technologies and smart mobility, such as electric vehicle (EV) charging and sharing. Some communities are also considering the use of hydrogen as an alternative fuel, although plans for this have not yet been implemented.
Despite the potential benefits of energy communities, they have faced several challenges. Regulatory barriers have made it difficult for communities to navigate the legal and administrative procedures necessary to create and operate their initiatives. Financing has also been a significant challenge, particularly for smaller or less affluent communities. Technical obstacles have arisen as well, particularly for communities that are implementing innovative technologies or working with complex energy systems. Finally, community engagement and social cohesion has proven to be difficult, particularly in cases where community members have different goals, priorities, or levels of involvement.
Consulting and project management support for rural energy communities in Italy
Since 2020, Ruralis has supported economic development in Italy's rural areas by creating solutions to address the unique challenges faced by these regions.
The team are committed to promoting sustainable and renewable energy projects in rural areas to support local economic development, environmental protection, and social cohesion. They offer consulting and project management services to small municipalities, helping them with feasibility studies, project design, and financing solutions.
‘Our mission is to empower rural communities with sustainable solutions that benefit the environment and the local economy’.
If you would like more information about Ruralis or to request support for a project, please visit their website.
Rural energy initiatives
Ruralis has played a key role in creating a Green Community initiative that supports 45 municipalities in the Avellino province. The organisation assisted in the project's creation and submission for funding to the "Affari Regionali della Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri" department, which was granted €2.5 million from the European Union's Next Generation EU program.
The project aims to achieve several objectives, including the production of renewable energy through a communal photovoltaic system, development of sustainable tourism, and design activities for future tenders. The project is an essential step towards involving local communities in a path towards a more sustainable world, with strategic goals aligned with the 2030 Agenda and the National Energy and Climate Plan. All activities prioritise equal opportunities and active engagement with local communities, particularly young people who will play a crucial role in the "Irpinia" Energy Community's success.
Despite the challenges, energy communities in Italy are gaining momentum and making significant progress towards a more sustainable energy future. Through collaboration, innovation, and perseverance, these communities are helping to build a more resilient, decentralised and participatory energy system in Italy.
Ruralis plans to assist the newly formed green communities in the Avellino province to ensure the successful implementation of their projects and will continue to play a crucial role in promoting sustainable development in rural areas. Ruralis looks to expand the scale and scope of renewable energy projects in Italy by supporting larger rural projects in new regions and communities with new technologies.
If you are an existing or prospective rural energy community, take a look at the Rural Energy Community Advisory Hub’s guidance documents on setting up and maintaining rural energy communities.