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The community based

Interreg III B programme Va l t e r F r a n c e s c a t o a n d E l i s e o A n t o n i n i - A I E L

INTERREG is a European Union initiative which aims to encourage and promote inter-regional cooperation and balanced, lasting development over the entire area of the Community. Alpine Space

The European Commission, in line with Regulation CE 1260/99 art. 20, has established guidelines for the Community initiative which aims to identify common solutions to specific problems in the various sectors of economic, social and cultural interest that may be found in all or part of Europe. Among these, the INTERREG programme, now in its third period of planning (III), has been strengthened both in terms of resources and opportunities for cooperation between States. The objective of the new phase is a further strengthening of trans-border (section A), trans-national (section B) and interregional (section C) cooperation again aimed at encouraging harmonious, balanced and lasting development of a central and strategic area of Europe: the Alpine Space. In April this year, at the second meeting of the Steering Committee gathered in Genoa, 19 of the 31 projects presented in the sphere of the INTERREG III B Alpine Space Programme were approved. Among t h e s e , t h e p r o j e c t “A L P E NERGYWOOD –Together to promote wood for energy purposes in the Alpine arc” was thought up to develop those aspects of the sector linked to the use of woodfuels for energy purposes (with reference to the geographic area known as the “Alpine Space”). More specifically, the aim is to unite and spread the use of the best practices and opportunities to use woodfuels as a sustainable source of energy. The “spirit” which animates these projects is one of cooperation and exchange of knowledge and experiences acquired in the specific sector of interest defined also by the more general European Community

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policies. Each specific project is part of a more general programme (Community Initiative) whose main objectives and essential lines are described below.

• sustainable accessibility, transport and communication routes; • protection and improvement of the priceless natural and cultural heritage as well as the protection of the Alpine population from disastrous events.


Within these more general objectives, the principles upon which the activity of the community initiative are based are: • common operational strategies for the general objectives and demonstration of their extra value; • idea of partnership and organisation of activities and actions based on the logic of proceeding “from bottom to top”; • complementarity of the project with regard to EU programmes and strategies. THE ALPINE SPACE: is an area of trans-national cooperation which is strategic for Europe and which includes the actual mountains, the

The initiative promoted by the European Commission set itself the following general, strategic objectives: • cohesion and strengthening of the Alpine Space as an economically “strong” area in the wider European network of development areas with the aim of developing a common awareness; • begin a process of sustainable land development considering both the Alpine core region and the fringes of the Alps;

THEME ENERGY POLICIES piedmont area and the plains surrounding the Alps, a small portion of the Mediterranean coastal area including the Adriatic, parts of the river basins of the Danube, Po, Adige, Rodano and Reno and a network of cities from Lyon to Geneva, across the Po plain to the cities of Strasbourg, Munich, Vienna and Ljubljana. The area of cooperation concerns land in 7 states of which 4 are members of the EU (FRANCE, GERMANY, ITALY and AUSTRIA) and 3 are non member States (SWITZERLAND, SLOVENIA AND LIECHTENSTEIN). It covers over 450,000 km2 in which about 70 million inhabitants live and operate. Of those only 20% reside in the actual Alpine area. In Italy, the areas which are part of the Alpine Space correspond to the following regions: Friuli Venezia Giulia, Veneto, Trentino-Alto Adige, Lombardy, Piedmont, Valle D’Aosta and Liguria.

DECISION-MAKING ORGANISATIONS AND SOURCES OF FINANCING For the purposes of approval, carrying out and control of the Community initiative and therefore of the individual approved projects, a series of Transnational Authorities have been created (by the programme itself), divided into two groups described below, as well as Support Organisations (Conference of the Regions, National Committee, Trans-national Workgroups). The Authorities and Organisations, which supervise the selection, implementation, putting into effect and ge ne ra l man ag e me nt o f t h e INTERREG Programme and the individual approved projects, are listed schematically with their respective functions and headquarters. The Community initiatives are financed within the framework of Structural Funds which can be integrated by regional funds as well as by private organisations. For Italian partners, a sum of financing equal to the Community budget is guaranteed by the Minister for Infrastructures and Transport. The other Community initiatives concern: ■ EQUAL: the fight against discrimination and inequality in the






(MA) - is generally responsible for the programme’s implementation, efficiency and transparency; - enters into contract with the Lead Partner for the financing of community funds

Salzburg (AUT)



- receives and manages the Community financing and makes payments to the Lead Partners

Salzburg (AUT)



Garmisch - Evaluates the projects and verifies their technical and financial Partenkirchen (GER) admissibility in conjunction with the National Contact Point (NCP); - coordinates the monitoring activities and looks after the programme’s information and publicity at an interregional level.


(NCPs) - first national contact point for partners during the project presentation stage and while they are being put into effect.

Rome (ITA)

Organisations for the selection and putting into effect of the projects. ORGAN






- Supervises and adapts the programme, examines the results after it has been carried out and the set objectives reached.

2-3 representatives for each partner state both at a regional and national level; President of the Conference of Regions; President of the MA; representatives from the JTS and the NGOs.



- approves the announcements of competition for selection and is responsible for the selection of individual projects.

2 representatives for each partner country, 1 representative of the MA and the JTS. A member of the EC can participate as an observer.



- favours trans-national cooperation, expresses opinions on the programme’s progress; coordination with the other programmes; decisionmaking support to the MC.

Representatives of the regions (Direction, planning and management of the Alpine Space area.

labour market (FSE) ■ LEADER +: rural development (FEAOG). ■ URBAN II: social and economic recovery of urban areas in crisis (FERS)

THE INTERREG III B «ALPENERGYWOOD» PROJECT This project was drawn up in 2002 by a group of partners who gave

specific contributions of ideas; it arises therefore from the close collaboration of bodies, operational institutions and associations with a European vision of the problems faced. AIEL, the Italian Wood Energy Association, contributed its knowledge and experience in close conjunction with its Lead Partner, i.e. the European Wood Energy Technical Institute (ITEBE) based in the French region of Jura, which has been

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THEME ENERGY POLICIES active in the sector for a long time. In the programme document, the Commission identified a series of priorities and measures which group together different subject matters and plans of action by objectives to be reached. The ALPENERGYWOOD project belongs to Priority III “Wise management of nature, landscapes and cultural heritage, promotion of the environment and the prevention of

Interreg III (FEDER)

Structural Funds EU members countries

Equal (FSE)

Leader + (FEOGA)

Urban II (FEDER)

natural disasters” and to Measure 1, “Nature and resources, in particular water. To avoid uncontrolled exploitation of water resources and to promote its wise management in various fields” which also provides for activities and collaboration in the field of renewable energies.

PROJECT ACTIONS During the entire period of the project, each partner planned their activities depending on their own specific competences and operational fields in the territor y to which they belong; the project provides for the following actions. ■ Working together in the wood-energy sector The main objective here is to meet others, reciprocally broaden knowledge and extend the partnership and specific abilities in the sector through; 1. organising study trips to learn about new situations and meet as many people as possible in the same sector to strengthen the framework of the field’s prospects and innovations; 2. organise professional meetings between the sector’s operators (on the land and in surrounding areas) to propose and confront technical, economic and legislative solutions to the sector’s identified problems.



• ITEBE – European Wood Energy Technical Institute (LONS LE SAUNIER) (FRA) • AIEL – Italian Wood Energy Association (LEGNARO – PD) (ITA) • Agency for Energy in Stiria (GRAZ) (AUT) • Stiria Chamber for Agriculture and Forests (GRAZ) (AUT) • Province of Biella (BIELLA) (ITA) • Lombardy Region – Directorate General Agriculture (MILAN) (ITA)


• Veneto Agriculture – Nursery Centre for non Forest Activities (MONTECCHIO PRECALCINO – VI) (ITA) • Faculty of Applied Forest Sciences (ROTTENBURG/NECKER) (GER) • Slovenian Forest Institute (LJUBLJANA) (SLO) • Slovenian Biomass Association (MARIBOR) (SLO) • Federal Office of the Environment, Forests and Landscape (BERNA) (CH)


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May 2003 - May 2006

■ Sharing one’s knowledge and experience Each country must organise theme trips on their own eligible territory (Apine Space) – involving all project partners – to discover and study in detail the specific realities of the Wood-Energy sector. The professionals of the area concerned can choose between several work topics which correspond to local problems needing faced and resolved. Each partner is responsible for the activity and coordinates with the activities planned by the other partners. Meetings take place once or twice a year and – from one meeting to the next – the discussion and analysis of the topic confronted can continue on the internet site set up for this purpose. Other instruments for the wider sharing of knowledge are: The knowledge server - a powerful instrument to capitalise the acquired knowledge and make it available to the general public. The server is constantly up-dated with information gathered both for professionals and the general public, in all languages. Ad hoc publications - aimed at providing instruments for technical communication and popularising topics. The wood-energy road - an initiative already underway in some countries. It aims to develop information points, practical demonstrations and marketing instruments. A guide to the wood-energy road, written in 5 languages, is planned. Model sites will be selected, based on technology used and respect for the environment, and they will be equipped with information panels and specific information files. It will be possible to visit these sites unaccompanied giving everyone the chance to make their own opinion, but visitors can equally b e n e f i t f ro m t h e h e l p o f p l a n t managers to properly understand the technical and economic characteristics of the site. Sending of a newsletter every 3 months, and creation of specific WEB pages for the project; ■ Self-training and training Training activities will cover the whole range of topics aimed at professionals who in various ways can play a role in the construction and


■ Modernising methods and creating the instruments for the production and marketing of woodfuels This is the action which is most directly intended to implement and/or structure the segments of the wood-energy sector on site by applying the knowledge shared and a c q u i re d d u r i n g t h e m u t u a l exchanges between partners. The technical and economic aspects aim to show that it is possible to create (direct and induced) wealth at a regional level from forest activities organised to produce woodfuels, or rather the combined production of firewood, chips and pellets. These actions would allow the start of a new wood-energy market of various sizes with the participation of modern and specialised companies, equipped both from a technical and commercial point of view to participate in the energy market at a regional, national and European level. With the job of exploring the sector’s current state, technical and economic feasibility studies on the production platforms of wood-

fuels are planned with the following minimum necessary elements: - creation of an inventory of existing production technologies; - inform producers of existing technologies; - planning and implementation of production platforms; - provide advice on the technical and financial aspects of all the specific operations. Studies to create policies of quality for its marketing are also planned: creation of an inventory of the quality systems for woodfuels; definition of a quality policy; creation of a distribution circuit; definition of targeted information campaigns.

In various ways the various partners will actively contribute to the preparation and running of exhibitions and trade fairs (in Italy FORLENER 2003 and the one planned for 2004, the Alpine Arc’s woodenergy sector display) aimed at both operators in the sector and the general public. Based on experience so far acquired in Europe, but also in Italy, it has been seen that these types of events and occasions have considerable impact on the c re a t i o n o f n e w, a n d a l s o t h e development of existing, woodenergy activities both on a regional and national level.

■ Increasing the Wood-Energy sector’s visibility The objective is the development of a market spread across the territory, which is transparent for the sector’s individual operators, and which puts the knowledge of new, modern technologies to good use using efficient communication instruments. It is also to create an adequate information basis both for public decision makers and the general public, highlighting the differences between the various products available on the market. The organisation of demonstrations and open days are provided for where it is possible to propose and support the birth of new demonstration sites along the European wood-energy road with press coverage to reach large sections of the general public.

CONCLUSIONS The first meeting in which all partners were present was held in the Lead Partner’s office in Lons le Saunier (FRA) at the end of June. The Community driven projects offer concrete possibilities to meet and work with fellow European citizens who are also privileged operators of the sector and to create working relationships with them on matters of common interest. Meeting one another is necessary in order to work together efficiently and carry out activities – refining methods and strategies – which have practical and lasting spin-offs for the land and for the commonly adopted technical-economic practices in individual areas with the – desirable – possibility that these forms of collaboration extend well beyond the specific duration of the project. 

In the picture, the group that is actively working to the Alpenergywood project .


strengthening of the wood-energy sector on a territorial scale; public decision makers and administrators, architects, administrators and planners of private companies, plant engineers and installers, land promoters, energy companies, thermotechnical engineers, foresters, woodfuel producers, boiler manufacturers. Contributions and interventions in universities with forest and environmental faculties, faculties of engineering and centres operating in the field; research and create synergies at a university level aimed at organising ad hoc courses and teaching for high quality development of the wood-energy sector. Initiatives with technical training centres and universities aimed at creating an international training centre for wood-energy. Training of professionals: organise training times for professionals, engineers, administration experts, foresters, thermotechnical engineers, boiler men, local promoters, architects and technical-economic consultants. Raise awareness of students to the issue, to prepare future professionals for the sector’s new technologies.

WOOD ENERGY N°2 / 2003