Barcelona’s Public Renewable Energy Company
Barcelona Municipality has developed a wide-ranging strategy that aims at reclaiming energy sovereignty, fighting energy poverty and contributing to the energy transition through the creation of a municipal energy company. More specifically, the municipality of Barcelona, with the collaboration of the social movement ‘Barcelona in Comú’, initiated Barcelona Energia (BE) in 2018, a public renewable energy company. Barcelona Energia aims at contributing to the transition to sustainable energy by promoting self-sufficiency and favouring a locally produced 100% renewable energy supply. Private and public investments are used for installing solar panels on public and private roofs and other spaces (e.g. libraries, markets and civic centres). Since 2018, Barcelona Energia supplies renewable energy to buildings and facilities owned by Barcelona City Council and since 2019, also citizens are encouraged to invest in solar energy generation in their houses. Citizens are offered a range of tariffs for the production of their own energy and the most vulnerable residents are supported by the Municipality through subsidies.
“This initiative takes us beyond the traditional notion of public and makes democratization a foundational base. With people’s participation, transparency and accountability, Barcelona Energía is showing us that energy can be clean, affordable, and democratic for all.” - Marcela Olivera, Researcher
- Promote energy sovereignty by promoting public and citizen renewable energy production;
- Fight energy poverty by providing a service that guarantees a basic supply of energy;
- Contribute to the energy transition and the fight against climate change by engaging citizens in decision-making processes and energy production.
How it works
- Since July 2019, Barcelona Energia started to supply electricity to a total of 3,908 service points including buildings of Barcelona City Council and 19 organisations of the municipal group of companies.
- From 2019, Barcelona Energia offers the same service to residents in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area.
- The purchase and supply of electricity, both in public buildings in the metropolitan area and to the public currently has 20,000 users.
- Barcelona Municipality subsidises installation of solar panels up to 50 per cent and offers discounts on VAT so that people can recoup the cost within three or four years.
- Barcelona Energia is currently the largest 100% public renewable electricity distributor in Spain. Other cities like Cádiz, Pamplona and Palma de Mallorca are also developing similar models in their cities.
- The city of Barcelona promotes raising awareness of the environmental, economic and social benefits of energy sovereignty. On the Barcelona Energia website citizens can find information regarding renewable energy production and how to become a client of Barcelona Energia.
This initiative represents an innovative energy practice promoting the local generation of renewable energy, both for municipal facilities and for residents of Barcelona. The programme represents a clear commitment of the Municipality to develop an energy model based on a distributed and clean energy generation. It also sets a path that encourages the process of democratisation of energy and multi-stakeholder participation and active involvement (e.g. local authority, residents and companies). Other cities in Spain have been inspired by the Barcelona’s model and they are adapting it to their contexts. Other local authorities, also outside of Spain, could learn from this initiative and replicate the model in their cities.