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home0The growing use of Renewable Energy Sources (RES), unquestionably important for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, is leading to an increasing awareness about their compatibility with landscape and heritage preservation policies. It is a fact that the energy sector will keep increasing its influence on territory and landscape, not only with the plants themselves (wind farms, solar fields, energy crop fields, etc.), but also with the infrastructures serving them (roads, distribution lines, etc.).

ENERSCAPES intends to represent an important step towards the investigation and evaluation of a very large set of impacts on distinct but recurring patterns of landscape all over the Mediterranean regions. The high unexploited potential of RES is  often related with cultural and natural heritage, biologically rich landscapes, which are usually also protected areas or with inappropriate land use.

Firstly, this project will take into account the impacts that a non-regulated diffusion of RES could have already caused on Mediterranean territories, mainly in terms of alteration and simplification of landscape, and of negative effects on cultural heritage. Seemingly the crux of the matter is a feeble connection between energy programming and territorial planning policies.

home1Moving into the field of landscape protection, the main referring source will be the European Landscape Convention, affirming that landscape is “an area, as perceived by people, whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors”: its protection means “actions to conserve and maintain the significant or characteristic features of a landscape, justified by its heritage value derived from its natural configuration and/or from human activity” (art. 1).

Starting from this common platform, project partners will identify the most suitable strategies for considering ecological, landscape and heritage aspects while setting up RES promotion policies.

The environmental assessment methodology that will be set up intends to evaluate the impacts on landscapes and to define the development procedures for “RES-Landscape Plans” adaptable to different territorial contexts and functional to the development of local resources: in fact, it will be tested on pilot experiences by each partner within his particular area.

All partners will deliver action plans containing projects for the short and medium term and the final guidelines will provide a support to policy makers, helping them in ensuring the coherence between energy programmes and landscape/heritage protection, and in choosing the proper localisation and organisation of energy plants and equipments.

The project will deal directly with the issues of pressure on the environment and of integrated management of territories, trying to find a methodology useful to balance the issues of economic and RES development and safeguard of landscape and territories.


By connecting energy and territorial planning, partners will identify suitable strategies for considering ecological, landscape and heritage aspects while setting up RES promotion policies

General objective of Enerscapes is a shared assessment of landscapes "historic", "social" and "environmental" value within the process of introduction of RES systems into MED territories and landscapes, focusing on the balance between environmental strategies on energy production and safeguard of territorial identities.

Enerscapes wants to define and test an energy planning method able to assess and minimize territorial impacts deriving from the use of RES.

Goal of Enerscapes is the definition of certain rules in the matter of RES introduction taking into account landscape and territorial protection with particular attention to the integration, considered as a strategic asset, among energy programming and territorial planning policies.

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The project, started in July 2010 and ended in July 2013, is structured in five main components. You can find all the deliverables at the following link.

CP 1 - Management component

This component will concern all the activities necessary for a sound management of the project activities and for the optimum agreement among the project partners.

The management component will comprise a kick-off meeting to define work plan, time schedules and financial and technical coordination duties, and an audit trail; all the financial and technical coordination activities for a sound management of the partnership and of the project activities.

CP 2 - Communication component

This component will comprise all the activities for the internal and external communication and dissemination: realization of a web portal with an intranet area for the exchange of data and information; promotion of pilot experiences at local level; informative material (newsletters, brochures); final publication with methodologies and guidelines; a final international conference.

CP 3 - Analysis of context & definition of method

This component will start with an investigation of the different regulatory frameworks regarding territorial, landscape and energy planning at European level and in each partner's region; then, their territorial resources will be analyzed, and an assessment method will be defined, comprising a set of indicators, measures for participation by citizens and stakeholders, assessment techniques. During this component the methodology will be set up.

CP 4 - Pilot experiences

Within this component, GIS on the territorial and landscape resources will be set up by each partner to support the construction of alternative scenarios for programming the introduction of RES energy plants in the landscape; participatory processes will be launched; scenarios will be compared and assessed; an action plan will be defined on the selected scenario. Workshops for jointly discussing the results of the activities and for organizing the communication and dissemination material will take place.

CP 5 - Comparison of experiences and refinement of method

This component will serve the purpose of comparing the pilot experiences made by the partners; refining the proposed method; defining operational proposals for the integration between RES promotion and safeguard of landscape and territorial assets. From the comparison of the pilot experiences, which has to be implemented among the partners, it will be defined the guide lines for an effective assessment method related to the environment impact of the RES systems introduction. The result of this phase is the capitalization of the project results for obtaining a valid method applicable in all the MED area.

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End of the project: main results and next steps

Enerscapes project was intended as an experimental process able to integrate the development of RES with landscape protection. Partners identified strategies for considering ecological, landscape and heritage aspects while setting up RES promotion policies. Starting from the construction of a common basis on territorial analysis and normative legal framework, partners defined an assessment method and common rules with the perspective of environmental-landscape protection for RES introduction in the MED Area.

Each partner realised a Local Action Plan as the main output of the project, supported by territorial analysis, scenario building and assessment and a communication and participation plan. Local Action Plans comprise also the definition of a set of actions and activities, that will be implemented by local administrations. Local Action Plans were approved by Local Authorities (accordingly with local legal framework and the local system of scalar competencies) and they will be implemented by partners after the conclusion of the project.

The project structure consisted of 3 macro-phases.

Firstly, partners analysed the legal framework, taking into account the national, regional and local legislation regarding energy, landscape protection and planning. Partner analysed their own local context, sharing a common methodology, using GIS support and elaborating maps according to a common legend, representing ecological and cultural landscapes and energy potentialities. They mapped the structure of local governance and actors related to landscape protection and energy development. They also realised a SWOT analysis reflecting upon the effects of a local action plan on the pilot area.

Secondly, according to territorial analysis, partners formulated four different scenarios and a common set of indicators for scenario assessment, in order to choose the best strategy of RES development and landscape protection in the area. Partners also defined a Communication and Participation plan to involve local actors and the local population in the process of scenario building, scenario assessment and in the definition of the Local Action Plan.

In the third phase, the different experiences were compared in order to improve the Local Action Plan of each partner. The results of comparisons were useful to define the common guidelines to integrate RES and landscape in the governance processes of EU local administrations.

After the end of the project, the website will be updated for two years, with the implementation of the local action plans in the pilot areas, in order to allow partners to exchange the progress and to compare their experiences.

Moreover, in the last months of Enerscapes project, partners established connections and exchange of knowledges that will support the participation to other common initiatives, accordingly also to the new EU phase 2014-2020.

The development of RES represents one of the most relevant challenges for European territories in next years. According to the EU 2020 strategy, greenhouse emissions will be reduced of 20% compared to 1990, 20% of energy should be produced using renewable sources and the energy efficiency should increase of 20%.

With the increase of energy production from RES, local contexts will have to adapt their approach to territorial and energy planning, in order to avoid landscape deterioration, to prevent local dissent and to support the creation of new jobs in the field of RES and energy efficiency.

Enerscapes project addressed EU 2020 strategy, adapting the tools of local governance to EU goals, involving experts, local stakeholders, decision-makers and citizens in the definition of a Local Action Plan able to integrate energy and landscape in planning activities.

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