Alterenergy (Energy sustainability for Adriatic small communities) is the new energy sustainability challenge which aims to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy production across the Adriatic area. It is the first strategic project funded within the cross-border Cooperation Programme IPA-Adriatic 2007-2013, which relies on 12.5 Million Euro total budget; it has been launched in September 2011 with 4 years duration. The initiative relies on a partnership of 18 organizations, regions, ministries and energy agencies belonging to all the countries of the Adriatic area: Italy (7 Adriatic Regions), Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia and it is led by the Mediterranean Department of Puglia Region with the scientific support of the Technology and Innovation Regional Agency (ARTI Puglia).
The Strategic Project adopts a vision of international level to promote sustainability in small Adriatic communities through an integrated approach for the efficient use of energy and its production from renewable sources. The precise aim of the project is to develop replicable models of sustainable management of energy resources in small Adriatic municipalities through attended participated approach involving public administrations, policy makers, citizens and local stakeholders, improving their ability to plan and manage integrated actions of energy saving and the production of energy from renewable sources.
Thanks to the network set up by the strong partnership, integrated infrastructural interventions, based on the most advanced technologies will be implemented in small communities to set them on the way of energy efficiency and self-sustainability. Hence, a concrete and tangible impact of the project on territorial energy regulation planning, on investments, business and innovation will arise.
When we speak of “community” we refer to a wider concept than “city”, including, besides the residential area, the industrial zone neighbouring the city and the rural territory that surrounds it. Each of these three “systems” is in fact both an energy consumer and a potential renewable energy source. The main focus of ALTERENERGY is the optimal integration of these systems, allowing a higher degree of global energy sustainability at community level. The idea to focus on small communities comes from many reasons, among which the more relevant are:
- Small communities - in the form of small cities well integrated into their natural surroundings - represent one of the most spread modalities of human settlements in the Adriatic area, hosting an important percentage of the total population;
- Sustainable models of integrated energy production and use are easier to implement in small communities, given their tighter connection with the surrounding natural resources (e.g. woods and water flows) and the higher relevance of agricultural activities, with their availability of biomasses;
- The relatively low population number of typical small Adriatic communities (less than 10.000 inhabitants) creates better conditions for involving the local population in a participated planning process aimed at an energy use/production paradigm shift: from unaware dependence on fossil fuels and waste of resources to a conscious approach to energy sustainability through RES and RUE.
Alterenergy also includes focused interventions and BtoB meetings between companies and investors, all supporting the internationalization process of the Adriatic production systems and the actual trade in the RES and RUE sector. The ambition is to set up "Adriatic energy clusters", thus supporting a good return in terms of economy and employment.
The work programme of the ALTERENERGY project is made up of six Work Packages (WPs) listed below:
- WP 1 - Project Management is dedicated to the technical and financial management of the planned activities, as well as to monitoring the project activities and evaluating the achieved results;
- WP 2 - Communication and information comprises two kinds of activities: general project communication activities and diffusion of project’s intermediate and final results; specific awareness raising and information diffusion activities carried out under the responsibility of the different partners in their target territories;
- WP 3 - Integrated energy management models sets the common knowledge and methodological base that will allow all the partners to carry out the planned specific activities concerning sustainable energy planning and case studies implementation and to take benefit from their results, guaranteeing at the same time the requested degree of homogeneity of approach and comparability of results across all the participating regions and countries;
- WP 4 - Sustainable Energy Action Plans represents the ‘heart’ of the project and focuses on the development, in a limited number of target communities selected in each Region, of a complex programming and planning operation of which the final results are “Integrated Energy Sustainability Plans”;
- WP 5 - Business and investments support aims to develop mechanisms of integration between the Territorial Cooperation and the business approach, orientating and exploiting the economic cooperation potential in the IPA area;
- WP 6 - Pilot Project and Demonstrative Actions implementation is devoted to the realization of pilot interventions that will practically demonstrate the effectiveness of the developed approaches to energy sustainability in small communities.