ETU Initiative: Encouraging local energy communities in island and rural areas


By Cynthia Echave and Danilo Ceh

Summer 2020

What is the ETU initiative?

The Interreg Med Renewable Energy Community Project is a transnational cooperation project that proposes and launches the ETU (Ecosystemic Transition Units) initiative as a capitalisation strategy for transferring the outcomes from Interreg MED Projects dedicated to renewable energies and also for promoting an energy transition model based on a holistic approach to the territorial, economic and social needs of rural areas. The MED Renewable Energy Community consists more than 110 institutions within 57 regions in 10 EU Member states and 3 neighboring countries, all located in the MED territory.

The ETU initiative aims to encourage local authorities and civil society to use the ETU toolbox and ETU model in their energy transition plans. The ETU toolbox gathers the main technical outcomes and tools developed from the MED Renewable Energy Community and is open to gather other tools that complement the support to energy planning, the creation of energy communities, energy policies and smart solutions for energy facilities.

The ETU model offers a roadmap for rural areas addressing 5 main concerns:

  • 1) apply an ecological approach to climate emergency;
  • 2) promote a territorial equity between the urban and the rural,
  • 3) boost social innovation through technology and warranty clean energy for vulnerable groups,
  • 4) encourage the green economy by attracting green businesses into local energy communities, and
  • 5) advocate for the cooperation & commitment between key actors and key policy frameworks.

The contribution of Interreg Med Renewable Energy Community Project will be the integration of energy transition strategies from a holistic perspective that allows guiding decision-making to enhance a better territorial, social and economic development of the territories.

The Interreg Med Renewable Energy Projects' main targets are the island and rural areas of the Mediterranean Regions, precisely because of their high vulnerability to climate change, and the emergency actions that small villages/island should take with the scarcity of resources.

The main contribution of the project to increasing local RES production and consumption in island and rural areas will be to support the application and use of ETU toolbox and ETU model in energy planning, through sectoral plans; energy communities through citizens' awareness of energy transition; energy governance through the implementation of green fiscal policies; and energy facilities through the design and implementation of microgrids, storage systems, PV Solar, etc.

Energy transition can be a catalyst of revitalization into a greener and more resilient pathway. The project wants to highlight the gaps and opportunities that exist, in order to focus efforts into bringing solutions for rural needs.

How to support the ETU initiative?
The project calls on local authorities to join the ETU initiative in order to integrate its toolbox and model into their energy transition plans. We are looking into small villages and rural areas located either inland or on islands in the Mediterranean region.

We invite you to support the ETU initiative by signing our Manifesto and to contact us in case you are interested in receiving further information about our activities.

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