Mountains are full of energy
Mountain areas are rich of renewable energy resources. Mountains can make a key contribution through the use of their natural resources: water, wood, sun, wind, etc. For some resources, the potential for development is still huge. For others, like water which has been exploited for more than a century, the challenge is rather related to the rational use of the resource. In all cases, the question of how to compensate mountain territories for the use of its resources must be addressed.
Furthermore, mountain areas have always had an interest in energy efficiency and the primary objectives must therefore remain reducing energy, electricity and heat consumption and using energy resources more efficiently, for public, private and business purposes.
A context calling for action
- Climate change: Mountain areas will be the first ones affected by climate change. Increase of temperature, change of vegetation, withdrawal of glaciers, these are some of the risks and challenges that mountains, more than other regions, will have to face. In order to limit the scale of climate change and thus its consequences, measures have to be taken from now on.
- 2020 EU objectives: in December 2008, the European Commission adopted an energy and climate change policy aiming at reaching in Europe the “20-20-20” objectives by 2020:
- reducing by 20% the greenhouse gas emissions, compared to 1990 level
- raising to 20% the use of renewable energies and
- reducing the energy consumption by 20% thanks to improvements in energy efficiency.
- 2030 EU objectives: the EU adopted the Energy Union in February 2015, which includes the 2030 climate and energy framework. In 2016, the European Commission released a package of draft legislative proposals to help achieve new targets for 2030:
- 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to 1990
- at least 27% of renewable energy in the EU
- an energy efficiency increase of at least 27%
- the completion of the internal energy market by reaching an electricity interconnection target of 15% between EU countries
Mountain areas have a great potential to contribute to the realisation of those objectives.
Euromontana started to put a stronger focus on the topic of energy in 2009 when the position paper on energy was developed. This position paper was appreciated by a broad audience all over Europe and gave birth to different kind of actions like the involvement in the FREE initiative.
Policy – representation
- Euromontana’s position on energy in mountain areas: a collaborative work has been realised in 2009 by Euromontana’s members, under the lead of Irealp, to establish a position on energy in mountain areas. The position paper contains 9 recommendations to better support the development of energy efficiency measures and of the use of the potential of the mountain renewable energy sources.
- Follow –up of activities at EU level: Euromontana closely follows and informs its members about the European policy regarding energy. Read Euromontana’s articles in the Documents & Links section (members only).
- Joint actions with the FREE initiative: FREE stands for Future of Rural Energy in Europe and aims at raising awareness on the specificities and the needs of European rural areas regarding energy. As mountains are predominantly rural, common interest between Euromontana’s position and the FREE initiative have led Euromontana to participating in the launching event of FREE in June 2010. Euromontana also follows closely the activities of the FREE network since then.
- 4 October 2016 | The X° European Mountain Convention of Bragança (Portugal) included a specific session on Sustainable Energy & Water
- 21 September 2011 | Rural energy day, Brussels (Belgium), organised by the FREE initiative.
- 19 June 2011 | Energy solutions in rural and mountain areas, Brussels (Belgium) in the framework of the EU Sustainable Energy Week 2011, organised by Euromontana, RURENER, the FREE initiative, ERSAF, and other partners.
- Presentation of Euromontana’s position paper on energy with concrete examples on how mountain areas can contribute to the 20-20-20 objectives of the European Commission
- 14 April 2010 | Presentation of Euromontana’s position paper on energy to the European Parliament, Brussels (Belgium).
- 19-20 November 2009 | A mountain full of energy. Signature of the Euromontana position on Energy in mountain areas, Sondrio – Chiuro (Italy).
- 01 July 2009 | Seminar on energy in mountain areas, Brussels (Belgium).
Which multi-governance systems should be developed in order for the needs and the assets of small mountain communities to be better taken into account at regional level and so that those communities contribute more to the 2030 EU objectives?