Positive energy & territories
The Positive Energy Territory concept has its basis in the growing trend amongst local authorities to promote energy self-sufficiency within their areas. This long-term strategy is necessarily based on adopting a global approach to the issues involved, which means addressing local challenges in the wider context of national and European policy.
The positive energy territory concept has its roots in the commitment of local authorities to develop a global energy strategy targeting energy transition alongside local development. Against a background of economic, energy and ecological crisis, local authorities are now keen to put in place the infrastructures required to subsidise their energy needs, at the same time as protecting the environment and supporting the local economy.
Setting out the precise roadmap
To create a Positive Energy Territory, local authorities must combine a range of different initiatives in terms of energy efficiency, lower energy use, the decentralised generation of renewable energy and the optimisation of local resources. These initiatives may be built around a range of different projects, from wind farms and photovoltaic energy developments to resource recovery from waste, methanation, biofuels and schemes to combat energy poverty.
The shared aim of all these initiatives is to promote the benefits of the local region, create non-relocatable jobs and – most importantly – improve quality of life and make the area more attractive. That is why it is absolutely essential that local residents and businesses are closely associated and involved with the implementation of Positive Energy Territory projects. To get these projects up and running, local authorities must first prepare a strategy and a precise roadmap in two phases:
- Before all else, it is essential to establish an up-to-date assessment of the area concerned in terms of its available resources, local socio-economic context, energy networks, land availability, infrastructure and transportation. The purpose of this assessment is to gain a precise understanding of what the region has to offer.
- The local authority can then use this data to set objective goals in agreement with all the stakeholders concerned. It is crucial that these goals take full account of potential environmental impacts.
Positive energy sources: an action plan with four priorities
Once the roadmap is clearly established, a three-stage action plan (for the short, medium and long terms) can be implemented on the basis of four key priorities:
- The development of local renewable energy sources compatible with the resources available in the local area (wind, solar, biogas, biomass, etc.) and its geographic location.
- Energy efficiency, with the focus on buildings by implementing solutions to reduce energy consumption and improve energy management, or install heat recovery systems.
- Mobility, with the use of alternative fuels, road traffic flow optimisation, etc.
- Reduced energy consumption by raising residents’ and users’ awareness of local development initiatives.
The local authority must then ensure that this plan is deployed fully at every stage of implementation, from realisation to operation and maintenance. Once this has been achieved, it will be essential to put in place effective initiative monitoring systems to check that the Positive Energy Territory complies with the specification established at the outset.
Gérard Mestrallet, Chairman and CEO of ENGIE
“The European energy landscape is undergoing a profound change as a result of the 4Ds that are Deregulation, Decentralisation of production, Digitalisation and Decline. It is important to recognise the fact that the slow rate of economic growth forecast for future years will lead to stagnation in energy consumption. Effective energy-saving initiatives will also contribute to that trend.
The energy transition will drive greater energy efficiency, a larger contribution from renewables and a more territorial approach. Since they combine all these aspects, territorial energy initiatives are totally compatible with this change. But to succeed, they must take the local context fully into account and be completely compatible with European and national policy.”