Regions at Risk of Energy Poverty: The Case of Apulia. Between Potential and Limitations of the Regional Planning for the 2007-2013 Programming Cycle
At the Community level, in recent years, the issues on poverty and energy efficiency as well as the socio-economic impacts are the basis of several political debates. The development of the European territory is having to deal with different mega trends and impacts of policies, in particular the increase in energy prices and the emergence of a new energy paradigm have significant territorial impacts. In fact, some regions are more vulnerable than others because of their socio-economic, climatic
... and geographic conditions and transportation. However variations in energy prices can offer significant development opportunities for regions able to exploit their potential for renewable energy production and/or to introduce innovations in related industries. The main research themes of the ReRisk project (Regions at Risk of Energy Poverty) are the impacts of the new European energy policy and of prices on economic competitiveness and social cohesion in Europe. The project instead of focusing on energy infrastructure, which is mostly at the heart of studies in the field of energy, looks to a large extent on the consumption side of energy. The policy recommendations of ReRisk do not limit only on energy policy, but the energy is a cross-cutting issue at the regional level. The aim is to reduce the vulnerability of regions in the short term and improve their adaptive capacity in the medium-long term. Starting from ReRisk research, the paper analyses the case of Apulia. The region is characterized by a strong dependence on fossil fuels, by a social, infrastructural, economic and problematic situation, but at the same time it has good potential on a national scale for solar and wind power system which if valued and supported by appropriate policies could represent a significant turning point. Starting from a general description of the Italian context, by searching and combining data from official sources and the main regional plans for 2007-2013 cycle programming, the paper describes the Apulia's context and at last summarize the results in a SWOT Analysis to evaluate intervention policies still in progress, showing their strengths, weaknesses, limitations, but also future opportunities.