ALTERCEXA II: a circular economy based on renewable energy in Spain and Portugal’s central regions
An EU-funded project has helped Spain’s Extremadura region and Portugal’s Centro and Alentejo regions coordinate efforts to become a bio-energy hub. In doing so, the regions established a circular economy, added new jobs and implemented a sustainable development plan.
" The project has established a circular economy for the cross-border region, achieving a substantial improvement in the development, dissemination and market entry of renewable energies. "
The project has led so far to the launch of 20 new renewable energy-focused projects across the regions. More so, over 60 000 people have received information about the use of renewable resources as sources of energy.
Around 300 have undergone specialised training in renewable energies, which has significantly increased their employability. Another 3 700 people participated in awareness activities, and an estimated 45 000 have directly benefited from the project’s pilot actions.
When it comes to renewable energy, the cross-border area encompassing Spain’s Extremadura region and Portugal’s Alentejo and Centro regions have not been a major player.
Feeling their regions were missing out on an economic opportunity, public administrations on both sides of the border decided to take action together. Through this coordinated effort to boost the bio-energy sector, the cross-border region now enjoys a proliferation of renewable energy projects.
The “ALTERCEXA II” project successfully supported and exploited the energy and economic potential of organic waste by adapting an innovative and cooperative mind-set. To start, trans-border working groups were formed and charged with monitoring the advances of the renewable energy sector and identifying biomass opportunities that could be replicated locally.
With this information in hand, the project then turned to dissemination. To increase awareness about the possibilities and advantages of using organic waste as a source of energy, numerous knowledge exchange initiatives were launched. These included awareness days, workshops, guidelines, studies and seminars that provided both general background information on the subject and practical, hands-on work with the production, treatment and conversion of organic waste into renewable energy.
A circular economy
According to project coordinators, the project achieved a substantial improvement in the development, dissemination and market entry of renewable energies across both participating regions. This in turn has led to the establishment of a circular economy that promotes resource productivity and the reduction of waste and pollution.
Furthermore, the development and marketing of renewable energies has created an array of new jobs, including knowledge-based workers specialising in the energy, waste management and environmental sectors. These new jobs have infused the economy with new money, which has been used to build a sustainable social and economic development plan. There’s also been environmental benefits, with the implementation of renewable-energy based heating and transportation systems having led to a direct reduction in CO2 emissions.
Total investment and EU funding
Total investment for the project “Altercexa II – Adaptation and Mitigation to Climate Change by Boosting Alternative Energy in Euroace” is EUR 3 280 979, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 2 460 734 through the “Spain-Portugal” Cross-Border Cooperation Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.
FundEuropean Regional Development Fund
Operational programmesOperational Programme 'Spain - Portugal'
Project duration01/2011 - 12/2015
Total InvestmentEUR 3 280 979
EU InvestmentEUR 3 280 979
E -28071 , Madrid
E -- , Mérida