Putting citizens at the core of transnational projects for the ecological and energy transitions

Hello everyone!

My name is Antoine and I have started my volunteering experience almost two months ago. For years now, I have been engaged in the fight against climate change and I wanted to take this commitment to the European level. Therefore, the opportunity offered by IVY to work with the European team of Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Environment and Energy (AURA-EE, https://www.auvergnerhonealpes-ee.fr) was one I couldn’t miss.

AURA-EE is an environmental and energy agency: its goal is to help local territories and stakeholders (such as cities, companies, citizens…) achieving the ecological and energy transitions. It is among the organizations implementing concrete environmental, energy and climate policies in member states. Moreover, it also promotes and supports local entrepreneurship, innovation and the inclusion of citizens in every project.

As an Interreg Project Partner, I have the chance to volunteer for two Interreg projects: ALPGRIDS (Interreg Alpine Space) and SHREC (Interreg Europe). The idea behind SHREC is to increase the share of renewable energy in the final energy production and consumption, by involving companies, localities and households. With its eight partners (localities, agencies and universities in France, Italy, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and The Netherlands), the project began in August 2019 and will end in January 2023.

Through the SHREC project, partners exchange on good practices, promote their local projects implementing the objectives of SHREC and they share their results on various platforms. During a recent meeting hosted by our Romanian partner (on the 9th of June), I was able to take part in goods practices exchanges and to attend presentations showing how our partner managed to implement projects so as to develop the use of renewable energy and make it more acceptable for people. It was a very formative experience and it allowed me to witness the strength of Interreg programs which is to reinforce cooperation between territories.

Overall, my missions are to contribute to the projects’ activities in France:

  • Organizing a regional partners meeting so as to exchange on the progress of our project.

  • Participating to European meetings to learn more about good practices and new tools that could be developed in other projects. It is important that practices and skills are reused in further project.

  • Providing support in tasks related to the development and promotion of the project.

In spite of the difficulties linked to volunteer remotely, this recent meeting and the goals I have achieved at AURA-EE on those projects gave me a great insight of the work that is done every day on renewable energy by working with citizens. We overcame those difficulties by sharing experiences with people we may have not met otherwise. This environment for volunteering is very encouraging and as the agency is currently working of the new European frameworks for 2021-2027, I intend to use tools and practices developed within SHREC for the project calls.

Antoine Ichas, Interreg Project Partner at the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Énergie Environnement Agency (AURA EE)

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