Launched in May 2022 by Asociatia Energia Inteligenta (Intelligent Energy Association), the project ‘Traditional Romania with Clean Energy’ has two major goals – keeping Romanian traditions while supporting modern technologies that allow the generation of clean energy. Therefore, through this project, 10 sheepfolds located in Capatanii Mountains now have electricity. It’s about the ancestral sheepfolds of Capatana, Ursu Varf, Ursu Canton, Ursuletu, Balota, Milescu, Casaria, Darjiu, Cocora 1 and Cocora 2.
Carpathian shepherding has allowed over time to create human communities that have at their heart this occupation and forming strong social bonds between practitioners, becoming a factor that has generated local, regional, and national identity. The grasslands in Romania’s mountains, with quality fodder grass, are the result of a constant grazing process over the centuries. But what has been obtained with effort over the years can disappear in several decades by under-grazing, a phenomenon that favours the ‘rewilding’ of grasslands through the appearance of unwanted grassy vegetation and woody vegetation that will lead to afforestation.
According to an estimate by the Intelligent Energy Association, over 40% of the shelters on the mountain tops have been abandoned and thus shepherding, probably the most defining tradition of the Romanian people, has been put at risk. The lack of access roads and the difficult conditions of living in these areas made those who live and carry out their activity in these places to give up this ancient occupation, defining for the Romanian people.
The project ‘Traditional Romania with Clean Energy’ will bring a significant contribution to keeping the national identity by using clean energy. Restoring the access roads, over 60 kilometres of roads on the ridge area, to the sheepfolds in Capatanii Mountains, the only mountain massif where the shepherding mountain villages are still populated, and the installation of photovoltaic panels in the sheepfolds will make those who still practice shepherding in these areas to be able to continue their activity and capitalize on their products. At the same time, restoring the roads in the area will facilitate visitors’ access and will gradually revive tourist activities.
“We give up traditions very easily and at the same time we reject new technologies, meaning that we reject what is new in general. It is very important to understand before it’s too late that we need to keep traditions, as we need to understand that new technologies are to our advantage, because we come up with clean energy through which we bring together the new with the old,” said Dumitru Chisalita, President of the Intelligent Energy Association.
“Change takes place through people and with people. If they don’t understand what is happening to them, they will vehemently oppose any change, because the fear of unknown is in human nature. The change we desire for Romania must start with people, with information and awareness programs on the importance of preserving traditions and adapting to changes that the future has in store for us. Therefore, the new forms of energy can be understood and accepted, forms that can ensure Romania’s energy security, while contributing to climate protection,” added Dumitru Chisalita.
Associated with the pilot project carried out in Capatanii Mountains, the project ‘Traditional Romania with Clean Energy’ aims to also carry out a strong information campaign in various areas of Romania, on the importance of accepting new forms of energy, a cleaner and equally safe energy as that people are used to.
The pilot project for the installation of clean energy sources in sheepfolds, part of the ‘Traditional Romania with Clean Energy’ project, was possible with the support of the Intelligent Energy Association’s friends, Salvamont Valcea, 4X4 Vrancea Community and the Oil and Gas Employers’ Federation (FPPG).