Aim of Case Study
Vilawatt consists of creating a new joint structure formed by citizens, companies, and the City Council to create an integrated energy operator for more efficient energy management. This collaborative structure will take the form of a Public-Private-Citizen Partnership (PPCP).
This operator will promote the capitalization of savings to finance the comprehensive energy rehabilitation of 3 buildings of 60 dwellings (initially in the Montserratina neighborhood), and will work to strengthen the local economy by creating a local currency
Since 2008, Viladecans has been one of the signatories of the Covenant of Mayors, an official commitment, an initiative of the European Union, for member cities to move towards a sustainable energy policy. Faced with the increasing proliferation of greenhouse gases, in 2014 the EU also launched the Covenant of Mayors for Adaptation (Mayors Adapt), in which the member cities (including Viladecans) undertook to take measures in response to climate change.
With these objectives, and commitments in mind, Viladecans was eager to find a way to ensure more efficient energy management, committed to the environment, and the fight against climate change, and with the capacity to combat energy poverty. From this concern, the Vilawatt project was born, an integrated energy operator project with a joint structure comprised of citizens, companies, and the City Council.
This is how Viladecans Town Council presented the Vilawatt project to Urban Innovative Actions (UIA), the European Union initiative dedicated to financing innovative projects proposed by cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants. In November 2016, the UIA finally selected Vilawatt as one of the 18 projects to be funded, out of a total of 378 that were submitted. In the field of the energy transition, the Paris (France), and Gothenburg (Sweden) projects were also selected.
Thanks to this selection, the Vilawatt project is being financed with 4.2 million euros, which, added to the 1.1 million contributed by Viladecans Town Council, has enabled the project’s development, which has now become a reality with the creation of the Vilawatt Company.
The project runs for 36 months, from 1 November 2016 to 31 October 2019, with an investment of 4.2 million euros from the European Union, 80% of the total cost (total cost: 5.3 million).
HOW ARE WE DOING IT?
We are creating a local energy operator that will function as an energy trader, and Energy Service Company (ESCO).
The new electricity company has to be operational by July 2018. At this stage, all the preliminary studies enabling the creation have already been carried out:
Legal studies for the definition of the consortium
Studies on its economic viability, and the pricing of the operator.
Definition of the strategy for citizen participation so that all social agents in the city can participate in its creation, and management—initiation of the steps to implement the customer service office.
We promote comprehensive energy renovations of buildings to reduce energy costs.
The project will finance the first phase of renovations in homes in the Montserratina neighborhood.
During the project’s first months, we have been working based on the call for proposals for the subsidy for the energy renovation of 60 homes, and the selection process has been launched.
In January 2018, the period for receiving applications ended, and the communities have already been selected.
We created the local currency 'Vilawatt' associated with the capitalization of citizen energy savings.
The feasibility studies of the currency have been carried out, and the phase of attracting businesses is currently in process.
We are creating learning communities on energy transition issues.
The spaces will allow us to work on improving electricity consumption habits, and bring to the table issues central to Vilawatt, such as renovations, sustainable construction, or local currency, so that all the city's agents can contribute their opinion.
So far, four main learning spaces have been defined:
People's VILAWATT space
VILAWATT space for professionals
VILAWATT space for commerce
VILAWATT space for schools
WHO MAKES IT POSSIBLE?
The driving force behind the project, and main partner is Viladecans Town Council. We are working with nine public, and private partners, specialists in each phase of the project.
Ubiquat Tecnologies - Partner in charge of the odyssey of the local energy currency.
Cercle Gespromat - Partner in charge of the management of social mediation, and the legal, financial, and technical aspects related to the renovation of buildings.
EGM Estalvi & Eficiència energètica - Local energy consultancy that will be in charge of the study, and analysis of data to create an energy information system
LIMA - Entity that promotes sustainable construction, and will contribute its experience in low environmental impact building design.
VIGEM, and VIMED - As municipal companies, they will support the management, and technical implementation of the project.
CÍCLICA - Cooperative society that will support specific activities related to community involvement.
Agència d'Ecologia Urbana de Barcelona, a key partner in the definition, and implementation of the local energy operator.
Institut Català de l'Energia, which will help define the energy-saving contract model
We can learn from this case study that young people understand that if many people come together with a common goal, many things can be done, especially when discussing change, and benefits for all participants.
This case study shows us that the ecological transition is possible with the help of many.
When many people with the same ideas come together, with the need to work on the ecological transition, and thus be able to provide access to clean, and cheaper energy to citizens, who in turn will be active agents of the New Energy Model, saving energy, and producing, managing, and consuming renewable energy, this is what this good practice teaches us.
There are ten reasons to copy this good idea:
1. it is the first of many steps towards the ecological transition.
2. electric energy is renewable
3. it is yours
4. the more we are, the better conditions we will get.
5. the savings are reinvested
6. it promotes local commerce
7. it educates in the ecological transition
8. it is fair, and accessible
9. the contact will always be personal
we are showing that change is possible
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