First conference on "energy and rural territories" on 15-16-17 June 2011 in the Mené
Awarded with a Special Prize of the Jury in 2010 French RES league, the association of towns of Mené (Côtes d’Armor) engaged in a 100% renewable energy strategy from 2005. It is one of the few local authority engaged in an ambitious territorial approach in France, whereas such approaches are now quite common in Germany, Austria or Italy. The Mené aims at covering 25% of its total energy consumption with renewable energies by 2013, then 75% by 2020 and eventually more than 100% by 2030 (all final uses of energy being considered: electricity, heat, mobility, industry).
On 15-16-17 June 2011, the Mené organised the first conference on "energy and rural territories" in the different towns composing its territory. This national event was designed as an equivalent to the "Assises de l'Energie", an large energy conference already taking place every year from 1999 in Dunkerque or Grenoble.
For this occasion, CLER and its partners (Solagro, Macéo, Aile, etc) launched the French network of "positive energy territories", that gathers local authorities, project managers and supporting structures from the rural world.
A rich programme, different sessions
The conference programme was appetizing. The conference started on wednesday 15 in the afternoon with a long plenary session gathering territories engaged towards energy autonomy, and among them two European ones: Prato-allo-Stelvio (Italy), winner of the European RES Champions League in 2010, and Lübow-Krassow (Germany). They were accompanied by the Sicaseli, a farmers cooperative from Lot province, and off course the Mené itself. The debate was led by Bernard Laponche, an international expert on energy policies and energy saving issues. He also concluded the round table with a speech on global perspectives and stakes on energy.
At the end of the afternoon, participants discovered the first projects finalised in the Mené, and among them the first French collective biogas unit Géotexia, and the rapeseed oil production unit Menergol.
The whole Thursday 16 was dedicated to 3-hours participative workshops, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, to deal collectively with two subjects among the 6 proposed in depth :
- Workshop 1 : thermal refurbishment of old buildings and village centres
- Workshop 2 : civic and citizens investment in large energy projects
- Workshop 3 : feedstock and plant biomass : how to engage territorial projects?
- Workshop 4 : what biomass resources and how to use them?
- Workshop 5 : electrical grid in rural places : produce and consume locally (mini and smart grid)
- Workshop 6 : produce biofuel locally : stakes, barriers and perspectives
The afternoon was concluded by the official launching of "Positive energy territories" network, under the patronage of Madeleine Charru, President of CLER, and André Pieltain, journalist.
On Friday 17, to conclude the conference and highlight the results of works done in the different workshops, a political round table came back on the role allowed to territories in the implementation of the national energy policy, focussed on barriers they still encounter and hopes they arouse at field level.
The party goes on over the week-end
The official inauguration of the collective biogas unit Géotexia concluded the congress, and then left the room... to party ! As Bretons know to do it: animations with local actors, musical show, "fest noz"… The inhabitants were also engaged in the reflection, during a friendly evening, thanks to the debate animated by Elena Lasida, professor of economy at the Paris catholic institute, and Pierre Radanne, President of the association 4D.
On Saturday 18, all day long, the Mené took part to the Sustainable Energy Open Days organised by CLER. The moblisation of the citizens being a key component of the overall success of a territorial approach, the purpose of this day was to raise awareness of the people at large on energy issues and to bring a concrete view on the organisation of the French energetic system. Within the Mené, the topic was more specifically about the energy transition process as a local development strategy. Even better.