Key policy recommendations
1) For INTERREG MED region countries, European Commission recommendations in response to Draft National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) call for a strengthening of an ecological approach and for greater ambition on renewable energy generation targets. The Ecological Transition Unit approach can aid the achievement of these goals. National government decision-makers in the relevant Member States (FR, EL, ES, SI, IT, BiH) should take the ETU approach on-board in preparing their final NECPs before the end of 2019. Opportunities for Renewable Energy Communities and Citizen Energy Communities should be maximised.
2) Cooperation models based on the necessities of collaboration between urban and rural areas are needed. Such models, based on balanced economic, social and climate friendly environmental models of cooperation guarantee the sustainable future development of both areas
3) The ETU approach can link with and should not duplicate or replace existing approaches. Linkages should be made to the Covenant of Mayors Sustainable Energy and Climate Plan preparation and implementation process and to the Clean Energy for EU Islands initiative, as well as to individual national reporting and recognition schemes. Key to this is the adoption of a multi-level, ecologically led approach.
4) Financing and investment will be required to implement the ETU approach, but this can be sourced from both the private and public sectors. Particular attention should be paid to the need to support the energy transition and build resilience in disadvantaged island and rural communities. The specific needs of the Mediterranean region (and rural and island communities in particular) should be borne in mind in discussions about the future EU budget.
5) The ETU is not only a model for the energy but also for green economy transition, giving the opportunity to rethink and reallocate industrial and economical activities in rural areas to align more closely with energy production and the availability of and protection of other resources.
6) The ecologically led approach opens up new ways to involve citizens and local stakeholders. ETUs and the energy transition should be firmly grounded in decentralised, democratic decision making that is driven from the bottom up.
7) Territorial planning has a key role to play. Land use plans at municipal level across the Mediterranean region should take ETUs and the energy transition fully into account and examine resource and material flows and climate risks and resilience plans.
8) There are key opportunities to link existing and futures policies with the ETU approach, fashioning the ETU concept with agriculture and water policy and also with the development of sustainable tourism activities.
9) Interdepartmental and political coherence is absolutely necessary for the development of the ETU concept. There is a need to identify interactions between different policies and sectors that go beyond preconceived ideas and outdated analyses.