Energy transition: New project aims to strengthen rural areas

How can rural areas support the energy transition – and benefit from it at the same time? The EU project CIRCUS, which has been officially launched with the aim of establishing “energy communities” in five European model regions, is developing answers.
Gruppenfoto des CIRCUS-Teams
Kick-off of energy transition project: The CIRCUS team met in Leuven, Belgium, from 10 to 12 June...
...and visited a local orchard used for agrivoltaics. (Source: CIRCUS)

Many rural regions in Europe are facing potential energy shortages due to increasing electrification. At the same time, they are struggling to exploit their great potential for generating renewable energy.

To support them, researchers in the EU project CIRCUS are developing a freely accessible digital toolbox. This will be tested in a total of 30 energy communities in five countries. Overall, 30,000 photovoltaic modules are to be installed and 150 advisors trained in the use of the toolbox.

GIS facilitates the development of photovoltaics and agrivoltaics

“Solving the specific energy supply challenges of rural communities is of crucial importance to the energy transition throughout the EU”, says Christine Rösch.

Together with her research group at ITAS, she will develop a Public Participation Geographic Information System (PPGIS) for the toolbox. This will help local actors better assess which areas are suitable for the expansion of photovoltaics or agrivoltaics (integrated land use for food and energy production).

Kick-off in Belgium

Following an intensive preparatory phase, the 11 project partners from France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, and Germany met at the beginning of June to kick off the project. The meeting, hosted by the Innovation Support Centre for Agricultural and Rural Development in Leuven (Belgium), served as a forum for professional exchange and practical inspiration. It concluded with a visit to an agrivoltaic system on a local fruit farm. (10.07.2024)

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