2nd national conference "Energy and rural territories, towards 100% RES Communities" on 26-27-28 september 2012 in the Biovallée
After the great success of the 1st national conference "Energy and rural territories" organised by the Communauté de communes du Mené in June 2011, the association of municipalities composing the Biovallée, led by the Communauté de communes du Val de Drôme, take up the torch in 2012. The message is still the same: "all together towards 100% RES Communities!"
Objectives of Biovallée: become a national reference in the field of sustainable development
The great project of Biovallée aims at making a national reference of the territory in the field of sustainable development. This valley is rich from its natural resources, soil, water, wind and sun. They generate a biomass with an almost unique biodiversity at European level in a valley of such size. The bet is to protect these resources while making the best use of them to satisfy the basic needs of the population: drinkable water, food, housing, energy, health, quality of life and culture.
Here are some of the objectives that would make a reference of this territory:
- Cover the energy consumption of inhabitants by local renewable energy production by 2020
- Reach 50% of farmers and total cultivated area in organic farming by 2015
- Propose 80% of organic or local food in collective restaurants by 2015
- Divide by two the amount of waste brought to the waste treatment centre by 2020
- No more destruction of cultivated areas by urbanization from 2015
- Develop from 2011 high level trainings in the field of sustainable development
A rich programme combining refreshing perspectives and participative workshops
The programme of the conference "Energy and rural territories" was planned over four half days from 26 to 28 September 2012. The conference started on Wednesday 26 with a plenary session where 4 strategical approaches towards energy autonomy were presented. Two special guests have told about the benefits brought by their approach, already well achieved: Anja Pfeiffer, Mayor of Weilerbach (Germany) et Karl Totter, founder and head of the farming cooperative SEEG Mureck (Austria). They were followed by stories from elected representatives of the Pays Thouarsais, engaged for years in energy projects and more recently a comprehensive climate and energy action plan, and of the Biovallée, host of the event.
At the end of the afternoon, the participants were invited to discover concrete realisations, managed by local authorities, local stakeholders and citizens, that build all together the Biovallée. 8 tours were proposed:
- Tour 1 : SMEs and sustainable development
- Tour 2 : Small hydro
- Tour 3 : Vineyards and energy
- Tour 4 : Collective housing and housing self-development
- Tour 5 : Wood energy supply
- Tour 6 : Municipal management of energy
- Tour 7 : Small and large wind
- Tour 8 : Eco-business park
The full day on Thursday 27 was dedicated to long participative workshops (3 hours), repeted in the morning and the afternoon, in order for participants to explore 2 issues among the 6 proposed:
- Workshop 1 : Low energy renovation of private housing stock, a market for craftmen and SMEs of the territory
- Workshop 2 : Renovation of public buildings in rural territories, pooling competences and financing capacities
- Workshop 3 : Investment in renewable energies, generalize projects led by citizens and local actors
- Workshop 4 : Mobility in rural areas, get organised to face the increase of fuel costs and reduce CO2 emissions
- Workshop 5 : 100% RES Communities and companies, reciprocal benefits
- Workshop 6 : Renewable energies, evaluate the potential and engage projects quickly
After an introduction made by project holders and actors from the field, speaking of their concrete experiences, a large room was left to participative sequences and collective production among participants, from which shared statements and proposals arose.
At mid-day, three partnership agreements were signed between the Allliance for local energy (national club of the Covenant of Mayors), Energie Partagée association (promoting civic energy projects) and the European Rurener association, on the one hand, and the national network of 100% RES Communities (called "réseau Territoires à énergie positive"), on the other hand.
On Friday 28, in order to conclude and put into debate the proposals made during thursday's workshops, a political round table came back on the role left to territories in the implementation of the national energy policy, but also mostly on the role they could play in the future, in the context of a new territorial organization of energy that most local actors pin one's hope on and whose possibility appears more likely than ever.
Take advantage of the event to create momentum on the territory
The inauguration of the "écosite du Val de Drôme" (business park dedicated to eco-activities), future driver of the sustainable economic development wished by the Biovallée, concluded the conference and was a perfect transition between the national event and the local activities that continued over the week-end.
Indeed, on Friday 28 afternoon and Saturday 29, Open doors made for people at large on the écosite du Val de Drôme offered the opportunity to inhabitants to meet a hundred of actors of the Biovallée and try electric vehicules (bikes and cars).