The Rural Energy Community Advisory Hub (RECAH) had its second event, to launch its technical assistance programme, in Kielce, Poland. The event took place on the 12th of September 2022 and was well attended in person and online by key stakeholders in the rural energy transition.
The event initiated the launch of two calls, one for rural energy communities to apply for technical assistance and the other a call for experts to support the programme. Both calls will remain open until 31 December 2022.
Achille Hannoset, European Commission´s Directorate-General for Energy, gave the opening address, followed by the Project Manager, Eugenia Bonifazi, providing an overview of the RECAH.
Elodie Salle, Lead on Technical Assistance for RECAH, presented the key motives and activities of the technical assistance provision. Namely, to help accelerate the development and implementation of sustainable energy projects and to inspire widespread, socially inclusive energy transition efforts in European rural areas.
Ms Salle introduced the eligibility criteria for applications, both for receipt of technical assistance and provision of expertise. She highlighted that the key outputs of the programme will include forty opportunities for technical assistance to energy communities that could be provided as extensive, concise or extension support.
Further information on the technical assistance programme and calls for proposals can be found on the applications page of the RECAH website, a recording of the RECAH launch event and a downloadable copy of all the presentations can also be found on the website under events.
The current rural energy community landscape
Henry Groenen, a Consultant on the RECAH team, then took to the stage to give an overview of the rural energy communities landscape. This focussed on the national policies of two countries as an example of the effect of different policy contexts, financing opportunities, and support structures implemented at a national level.
The presentation on the first country, Ireland, delved into elements of their ‘Energy community pathway’; a process designed for new members of the Sustainable Energy Community (SEC) network to follow. The SEC network was established in 2016 by the Irish energy authority (SEAI). This is separated into learning, planning and eventually implementation phases for communities.
The second presentation focussed on the funding made available to rural energy communities in Italy’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNNR), and the eligibility criteria to access it. The plan aims to contribute to 2000MW of electricity generation capacity through 1.6 billion euros of allocated funding.
Insights from community and intermediary organisation representatives
The event also welcomed two representatives from a community and an intermediary organisation, to share inspiring stories about existing initiatives.
The first representative, Benjamin Danneman, was from DGRV, a German intermediary organisation. His presentation provided insight into the potential outlook of the German energy landscape after recently transposing the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) II. He provided details of the 914 cooperatives active in Germany, consisting of 220,000 members, and the 3.3 billion euros invested to date that contributed to 8 TWh of electricity generated in 2021.
Antoni Pascale from Terra Felix, a social community in Italy, was also invited to present at the event. Mr Pascale highlighted their mission to address the development of the territory through environmental, economic and social sustainability. Their activities include the regeneration of common and cultural heritage, agri-food innovation, civil economy green revolution consulting and education. The community promotes the participation of public and private actors and local communities and has recently won the Green Oscar award in Italy.
Terra Felix, has been selected for the pilot phase of the technical assistance provided by the RECAH project. They are seeking support with developing an operational business plan to expand their activities to include sustainable energy projects thus becoming a rural energy community. They plan to use 12 hectares of farmland confiscated from the Mafia for the project.
The RECAH team also hosted an interactive session to gather feedback from delegates, which included existing and prospective energy community representatives, policymakers and social and economic stakeholders involved in rural development. The questions were designed to gain insight into the key incentives for stakeholders to engage with the RECAH initiative and what support was most needed by energy communities. Anonymous results will be published on the RECAH website soon.
- Publication date
- 25 October 2022
- Directorate-General for Energy