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News article13 April 2023Directorate-General for Energy

The Smart Rural 27 project launches its first knowledge cluster on renewable energy

Wind turbines in rural area in Stanz, Austria.

Wind turbines, Stanz, Austria.

Smart Villages is an EU concept to support rural communities in developing innovative and smart strategies and solutions in response to pressing challenges (such as depopulation, lack of basic services and economic opportunities, energy crisis, lack of connectivity, etc.).

The Smart Rural 21 project (2020-2022), supported by the European Commission, DG AGRI and coordinated by E40, aimed to support selected rural communities in developing smart village strategies and implementing smart solutions.

The Smart Rural 27 project(2021-2023) builds on the work carried out by Smart Rural 21 and aims to improve the support of Smart Villages in the context of regional, national and EU policies, and in terms of supporting local rural communities across Europe to become Smart Villages. Knowledge Clusters of Rural Communities are key platforms to enable peer-to-peer learning among local rural communities on specific themes of common interest.

The first Smart Rural 27 Knowledge Cluster on ‘Local Energy Transition and Renewable Energy Communities’ was launched in an experimental way in February 2023 through a call for rural communities. Rural communities were invited to engage at three levels: lighthouse communities (those who already have smart solutions in the renewable energy theme that others could learn from), learning communities (those who have started action but would like to learn about new ideas and gain new experience) and follower communities (those who would like to closely follow the cluster process and its outcomes).

Work with 33 applicant rural communities began with an online introductory session on the 17 March 2023, where needs and expectations of cluster members were assessed and inspiring approaches of Stanz (Austria) and Häradsbäck (Sweden) were presented and discussed.

Future knowledge cluster activities include visits between communities, practical workshops, online discussions (smart café sessions), face-to-face meetings for peer-learning, and targeted technical support (e.g. information on funding opportunities) whenever possible.

Interested rural communities and other stakeholders can follow the outcomes of the work of the cluster through the knowledge cluster page, or can express their interest to become follower communities in the cluster, receiving regular information and updates, as well as having the opportunity to participate at selected online sessions and exchanges. If you are interested, please contact smart-ruralate40 [dot] eu (smart-rural[at]e40[dot]eu).


Publication date
13 April 2023
Directorate-General for Energy

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