Since July 2018, Barcelona Energía (BE), a public renewable energy company that offers an alternative to large corporate energy providers, has been managing the electricity of the city council and a growing number of citizens. This is part of the municipality’s plan to achieve energy self-sufficiency by installing solar panels on the roofs of publicly owned buildings, such as libraries, markets and civic centres.
A working group comprising the municipal group of the city council and the ecological movement of Barcelona in Comú created BE to challenge the energy giants; play an active role in the energy market; fill the city with renewable, locally produced energy; improve efficiency and self-sufficiency; and place residents at the heart of decision making, guaranteeing them the right to energy.
BE is now the largest 100% public renewable electricity distributor in Spain. Cities such as Cádiz, Pamplona and Palma de Mallorca are also opting for models similar to those in Barcelona. It is an instrument to promote and encourage the local generation of renewable energy (mainly solar energy), both for municipal facilities and for residents of Barcelona (self-generation for own use).
In July 2019, BE began supplying electricity to Barcelona City Council buildings and facilities and to 19 bodies and entities in the municipal companies group, serving a total of 3,908 supply points. In 2019, it also started to provide the service to facilities in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area and to citizens, up to a maximum of 20,000 homes.
“ 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
This story originally featured in the Atlas of Utopias.