Maramures (RO), 4 September 2009
The first energy audit in the framework of the MORE4NRG project was conducted this week in Maramures (RO), based on the Assembly of European Regions’ (AER) unique peer review methodology. The on site visit aimed to provide the host region with practical guidelines on how to create an effective regulatory framework for the development of clean energies.
“This will be the beginning of what I believe is a journey toward energy security, fostered economic development, and protection of our unique landscape and environment”, said Adina Dumitru, director of the Maramures Local Energy Agency. “There is a long way to go, but I am convinced that it will be worth our effort. A new strategy will help us improve the efficiency of our energy policy and expend future energy choices through wise investment in new technologies”.
Over four days, prominent political and technical experts from the regions of Abruzzo (I), Flevoland (NL) and Norrbotten (S) shared their insight on these strategic issues through a series of meetings with local energy stakeholders and numerous field inspections. They visited two small hydropower plants, a pallet factory, wood processing facilities and Maramures Mountain Nature Park.
“The overall purpose of our mission is to use our knowledge and past experience, and adapt it to a local context so that Maramures can make appropriate decisions when it comes to setting up legal energy instruments”, explained Kenneth Backgaard from Norrbotten County Council. “We would like to give our Romanian partner a series of indications on how to design a living document that reflects evolving conditions of the energy market, and through which Maramures will be able to meet current and future energy requirements”.
The peer review broadly focused on hydropower and biomass-based energy. With large and heavy forested areas covering around 260,000 ha, and dozens of small rivers snaking through the Carpaths, Maramures holds huge but uncapped potential to produce a great deal of sustainable energy. Many important questions, however, still remain unanswered. How can the negative environmental impact of hydropower be minimised (i.e. disruption in fish migration, survival of riverbank habitats, hindrance of natural flow of sediments, and risk of flooding)? Which policies can reduce costly bureaucratic procedures to obtain permission to construct a dam? To what extent is wood for energy included in regional forest legislation? How can the legal obligation to clean the forest be reconciled with the great role that biomass plays in biodiversity conservation? All these issues will be addressed in the final report, to be submitted by the peer review team in the coming weeks.
The peer review in Maramures was completed with a case study by EURISY, a European association promoting the use of satellite technologies. The demonstration in Baia Mare sought to showcase how to map the region’s forestry potential through satellite tools.
The first outcomes of the peer review will be presented during a MORE4NRG conference on energy efficiency taking place on 23 and 24 September 2009 in Sundsvall, Västernorrland (S).
In May 2007, the Romanian region of Maramures signed a joint AER-FEDARENE declaration reaffirming its commitment to integrating energy efficiency and increasing the share of renewable sources in its global energy mix. The creation of a local energy management agency was a cornerstone for the achievement of these ambitious objectives; however several challenges still remain. Today, Maramures is seeking to establish a comprehensive energy strategy that could provide the basis for guiding and directing its future action.
AER peer reviews
Made up of international experts from MORE4NRG member regions, the peer review team conducts a four-day visit to assess the performance of a host region’s energy policies. Through a series of field inspections and meetings with energy stakeholders from both public and private sectors, the team investigates the legal, technological, financial and environmental factors that may affect the sustainable development of the host region’s energy strategy.
The Assembly of European Regions (AER) is the largest independent network of regions in wider Europe. Bringing together more than 270 regions from 33 countries and 16 interregional organisations, AER is the political voice of its members and a forum for interregional co-operation.
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