Energy choices directly concern citizens of rural areas in their everyday lives (focus on building efficiency, isolation, renovation). However, they do not take part in the energy debate (kept out of reach for technical – lack of expertise - or political reasons), and do not engage in tackling the energy problem. This has led to inappropriate solutions, unsatisfactory services, and continued feelings of classism. The non-engagement of citizens in energy decisions is a barrier to a durable change. The definition of a locally built territorial dialogue model adapted to rural specificities through a European initiative is the solution we seek to develop with this project.
To mobilize citizens on energy issues at the local level, the project develops a model of territorial participation with local stakeholders and trains local agents to make citizens’ engagement in energy issues durable.
The main objectives are to: 1/Raise awareness of citizens on their responsibility, expertise and power to shape energy policies by engaging a dialogue with local representatives and energy experts 2/Elaborate a new method of citizen participation on energy and climate issues which can be adapted to the different European local contexts and democratic culture 3/Foster citizens’ participation and interactions with local institutions 4/Replicate the model in Europe.
The actions undertaken in this project will be: 1/Mobilize elected representatives and local stakeholders (consultation sessions) 2/Facilitate the creation of a steering committee with local stakeholders to formalize a model of territorial dialogue 3/Host citizen’s debate(s) connecting daily practices of the community with climate challenges in each territory, identify common interests 3/Formulate concrete proposals of citizens for local and regional administrations 4/Train administrative agents to conduct consultation sessions.
- Increased awareness and interest of citizens in energy issues in the participating communities and an increased and continued (after project lifetime) dialogue between local stakeholders
- Creation of local groups/cooperatives and/or the increased number of members in existing groups promoting the energy transition
- Identified list of recommendations from citizens to their officials and the discussion for implementation of these recommendations at local and regional levels.
- The rise of energy targets expressing a greater ambition to achieve the energy transition
- A better acceptance of territorial projects related to energy and easier implementation, since activities will answer the needs and interests of a broad range of local stakeholders
- More broadly, strong territorial cohesion and an improved trust in political system
- Citizens advocacy for the initiative in other territories (meaning growth in leadership, empowerment, capacity building in rural areas)