The day focused on local dynamics around renewable energy projects and more specifically participative hydroenergy.
Organised by EDORA, in collaboration with APERe and Condroz Énergies Citoyennes scrl, the event gathered a wide range of stakeholders from the region Condroz and beyond, actors of citizen participation in renewable energy, project developers, politicians, municipalities, administration, actors of local/rural development, study bureaux, professionals from the hydropower sector, river managers…
As an introduction to the day, a panel was held around the large theme “Local dynamics around Climate and energy as tools for territorial re appropriation”. The panel gathered municipalities (Marchin – mayor Eric Lomba – and Donceel – Bernadette Rome and Laurence Delooz), a project developer in bioenergy (Grégory Racelle), local development structures (Bernard Sepulchre and Jean-François Pêcheur) and an association that helps to develop a strategy in local energy and climate policies (Frédéric Praillet from APERe).
The afternoon was entirely devoted to hydroenergy.
After a small opening speech by Noémie Laumont from the renewable energy federation EDORA, the project video about small hydropower in Europe and about benefits of repowering old mills was presented.
Johanna D’Hernoncourt presented the activities undertaken under the RESTOR Hydro project, with a focus on the three pilot sites that were chosen for the restoration program. She also presented the RESTOR Hydro Map and HYDI database.
Members of the cooperative Condroz Énergies Citoyennes whose developement has been encouraged and supported by the RESTOR Hydro project, presented the history, purpose and future of the cooperative (Hervé Pirard) and the successful crowdfunding campaign undertaken in June-July 2014 to complete the necessary budget for technical studies (Steve Francis). The contractual options possible between site owners and a cooperative were also presented by an expert who accompanies the cooperative Condroz Énergies Citoyennes on this matter (Sébastien Cassart from SYNECO).
The last part of the afternoon was devoted to a workshop on cooperatives. The pro and cons of citizen involvement were discussed with a panel of representatives of citizen associations or cooperatives active in the hydroenergy field: Condroz Énergies Citoyennes (Steve Francis), HesbEnergie (Christian De Cock), BassEole (Henri Libon), Emissions Zéro (Alain Damay) and Aisnagué project in the Lafosse Mill (Olivier Meessen).
The difficulties around such projects were discussed. Hydro is widely seen as a key field for renewable energy and economic development as well as heritage preservation. Such projects are also perceived as a starting point for deeper engagement of citizens in renewable energy production and positive climate actions.
There were 66 participants in total during the day. In their evaluation of the RESTOR Hydro Day, they appreciated the competence of the speakers, the richness of the debates and the opportunities of networking, as well as the general organisation and choice of venue.
The day offered great opportunities of exchanging experience and networking for a wide range of stakeholders around renewable energy and especially for hydroenergy. The participants benefitted from a large experience of restoration projects encouraged by the RESTOR Hydro project (Clavier, Marchin and Houffalize).
After the debates, a visit of one of the pilot sites of the RESTOR Hydro project was held: the wooden wheel of the old pumping station of Les Avins in Clavier was shown. Guided tours and a concert were organised on the site. The population of the whole village was invited to the late afternoon event. The visits and the concert gathered around 100 people.
Report and presentations during the RESTOR Hydro Days in Belgium (in French):