Aosta Valley's journey towards energy empowerment

28 February 2024

Aosta Valley's journey towards energy empowerment

The year is 2024. Renewable energy communities are springing up all over Europe. Well not entirely! The smallest Italian region, on the border with France and Switzerland, still has no renewable energy community… Recognising the growing significance of energy transition, the stakeholders of Unité Grand-Paradis, in the Aosta Valley, are learning from the experiences of early adopters in Europe, to better adapt them to the specificities of their territory.

The Unité des Communes Valdôtaines Grand-Paradis, encompassing 13 municipalities in the picturesque Aosta Valley, is spearheading initiatives to combat energy poverty and foster sustainability. With approximately 15,500 residents, this regional body plays a pivotal role in addressing pressing societal challenges. Energy poverty has emerged as a critical concern in the Aosta Valley, affecting a significant portion of the population. A recent study revealed that around 8,500 families, comprising over 17,000 individuals, are at risk of energy poverty due to rising energy costs. While not all municipalities face equal challenges, the problem is particularly pronounced in areas with significant public housing for vulnerable populations.

In response, the Unité has joined the Sun4All project, seizing the opportunity to glean insights from European experiences and replicate successful strategies locally. The overarching goal is to empower families to adopt energy-efficient practices, thereby reducing energy consumption and alleviating economic burdens. “The participation in the Sun4All project is very important for us because it allows us to empower families to adopt energy-efficient practices and to help them in their bill payment. We aim to involve as many families as possible in order to give them the opportunity to be part of the green transition”, says Marlène Domaine, Mayor of Saint-Nicolas (one of the thirteen municipalities of the Unité) and Sun4All project referent.

Collaborating with the CVA group – a prominent energy producer in the region – the Unité des Communes valdôtaines Grand- Paradis is also actively engaged in the creation of renewable energy communities. By participating in these initiatives, the Unité aims to provide tangible solutions to energy poverty while promoting sustainable development.

The Sun4All project's objectives align closely with the Unité's mission, focusing on reducing energy illiteracy, consumption, and bills, while enhancing awareness of renewable energy communities. Educational workshops will serve as the cornerstone, empowering citizens to embrace energy-friendly behaviours. Drawing inspiration from Sun4All pilots like Rome and Coeur de Savoie, the Unité is ready to learn best practices and adapt them to the local context. Collaboration with regional agencies, including COA energia, will facilitate knowledge sharing and pave the way for impactful interventions.

As the Unité des Communes Valdôtaines Grand-Paradis embarks on this transformative journey, its commitment to empowering communities and fostering sustainability appears clearly. Through concerted efforts and strategic partnerships, the Unité aims to create a more resilient and inclusive future for all residents of the Aosta Valley.

Image (Unité des Communes Valdôtaines Grand-Paradis)

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement N°101032239.