What’s unique about the initiative?
Valladolid’s Energética Cooperative grew as a response to the 2008 financial crisis when, in protest against energy poverty and the failure of central government to plan for a clean energy transition, local citizens demanded sustainable energy solutions. Today, Energética Cooperative has signed agreements with ten regional municipalities and supplies energy to each of them.
Most outstanding results
Today, Energética has 2,200 electricity retail contracts (30% of which are in the city of Valladolid, representing 89% of households) and services 11% of the city’s industrial and service users. All of our energy comes from renewable sources: a small portion is produced at our Valteína mini-hydro power plant, and the rest is acquired from the national electricity market, but only from renewable producers (guaranteed through renewable origin certificates from those producers).
In 2017 (our first year of productive activity), our turnover was €12,000, while the projected turnover for 2020 is €205,000k (although this figure will inevitably be affected by the COVID-19 crisis). This gives an indication of the cooperative’s steady growth. Despite state-level (conservative) opposition and traditional energy companies discrediting our efforts, we have successfully promoted citizen participation and empowerment and have managed to incorporate the principles and values of a new energy model into the agenda of many local organisations in Valladolid, including the University of Valladolid, labour unions, political parties, NGOs, and other municipalities.
We are at the heart of an ecological transformation, and we stress the need to reduce overall energy consumption and improve energy efficiency as much as possible. Our campaign to promote solar energy to households has been backed by the Valladolid municipality. A system we have created to provide electricity from batteries and solar PV that can be transported by bike is regularly lent to social organisations to replace diesel generators at many public events – reducing pollution, greenhouse gases and noise.
Covid-19 outbreak impact
The COVID-19 outbreak affected our work significantly given that visits to customers are a regular activity of our staff, who need to check on the viability of installing self-consumption solar PV, or of retrofitting a building. Our work plan had therefore to be redesigned to give more weight to tasks that are achievable when working from home, such as improving online communication, for example recording original videos in a light-hearted tone to increase social awareness about energy issues, and recording video tutorials so those installing self-consumption PV can maintain their systems autonomously.
Quote from the evaluation committee
“A very inspiring story, a cooperative coming from political movement, that showing another sustainable and just energy future is possible, has succeeded in scaling up to some degree, has been supported by other co-ops in scaling up, has broader political visions and engagement with national energy campaigns while providing people with a service.”
– Sam Cossar-Gilbert
To know more, read this in-depth article in El Salto. Also, you can scroll down to download the application form filled by this initiative to take part in the Transformative Cities award.