VILAWATT – Innovative local public-private-citizen partnership for energy governance

Vilawatt aims to move the energy transition forward in Viladecans through an innovative governance structure where citizens play a key role. The project has set up a public-private-citizen partnership (PPCP) that manages 4 key services: energy supply (100% renewable origin); consulting & training to increase energy awareness & energy culture; energy retrofitting of buildings; new local currency linked to energy savings.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

VILAWATT aims to drive forward the energy transition in the Catalan city of Viladecans. The project has set up a public-private-citizen partnership (PPCP), as the main governance structure to manage the 4 key services created to support the process:

- Energy supply (100% renewable origin);
- Consulting services (energy audits & contract optimization, training and empowerment in energy culture, financing options);
- Energy renovation of buildings (receiving and managing subsidies);
- Vilawatt currency, linked to the energy savings and used as a tool to revitalize local retail sector.

Governance (PPCP) -
Vilawatt’s backbone is the public-private-citizen partnership (PPCP) made up of the Viladecans City Council, the Barcelona Metropolitan Area and 2 associations: the Citizen Association for Energy Transition & the Business & retailers Association for Energy Transition. Currently, the City Council holds 80% of the rights and obligations of the Consortium & the Barcelona Metropolitan Area holds another 10%, while the remaining 10% is held by the two associations.

Energy supply - With Vilawatt, we pool the demand for energy of all the users (members of the different associations, public contracts of the municipality) and buy electricity wholesale. Through collective buying, we are a single customer buying from the supplier, which makes us a much bigger client and allows us to negotiate better prices and services. Municipal buildings are also included in this collective buying group, certifying that the origin of the energy that we buy is 100% renewable and that follows two ISO environmental standards: 14001: 2014, which ensures the activity is managed in a way that ensures proper eco-friendly behaviour, and 9001: 2008, which ensures it applies a series of guidelines put together through international consensus on Good Management Practices.

Faster retrofitting of private buildings - One of the main axes of the project is the energy retrofitting of residential buildings in the Montserratina district and improving energy contracts for local people.
Energy retrofitting in Viladecans has not progressed as planned, partly due to lack of private investment, and so VILAWATT takes a more inclusive approach. Home to some 20.000 people, 30 % of the city’s population, Montserratina is a good starting point. Most of its dwellings were built before 1976, when Spain began to adopt energy legislation, and income is 15 % lower than the city average. The project injects 1.4 M€ in the energy renovation of this 3 demo-buildings, that will be energy-monitored through all the process.

Consulting services & learning communities -
Vilawatt has launched several learning communities & specific trainings in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energies (involving schools, retail sector, companies, unemployed…) and has also boosted energy audits & contract optimization services with the aim to decrease energy consumption, encouraging citizen involvement and promoting behavioural change.

Efficiency incentives – Vilawatt local currency
Creation of the local electronic currency, the Vilawatt, provides efficiency incentives for participating families, who are paid in the currency in return for any savings they make. This encourages loyalty to local shops where purchases can be made with the Vilawatt.

The main beneficiaries of the project are the citizens of Viladecans (with special focus in kids), companies, retail sector, unemployed and professionals of the energy efficiency sector.

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