A rural energy community of citizens’ initiative in Luco de Jiloca, a Teruel town of 60 inhabitants. This is the proposal of Carlos, Víctor, Carlos and María, “four lifelong friends” who, motivated by the energy situation and the renewable energy generation and distribution model, set out to demonstrate that another model is possible and “that the union of the community and public and private institutions can develop projects of social, close, local and community interest in which the protagonists are the neighbors themselves, “they explain.
Teruel wants renewables, but not wind and photovoltaic “megaparks”
The main idea is to establish the first citizen initiative energy community in both Teruel and Aragon and, for this, they have set up a non-profit cooperative society of consumers and users, to which 22 people are already associated. A solar garden of about 500 square meters is going to be installed, near Luco de Jiloca, with about 100 solar panels from which 60KW of power will be obtained with which to supply around 15 or 20 families, municipal buildings and other entities.
With this premise they went house to house, explaining their idea and obtaining some support, but also reluctance. “On the part of the neighbors there is a lot of reluctance and ignorance because it is something new and very few people know what an energy community is. They lack confidence, but little by little, based on information and meetings, we have been alleviating certain difficulties and in the end the People have been joining, not all of them because many are going to wait to see how it works and then be able to join, “explains Carlos Ariñez, a member of Luco Energía’s tractor group.
“The idea arises from the reality that energy is living, both in Europe and in Spain, many European and recovery funds are arriving that are going to contribute money and the main objective is for citizens to be energetically empowered and launch into generate their own energy, just as they generate their own tomato in their garden “, says Ariñez.
Currently, the renewable energy generation and distribution model is based on building large wind farms, photovoltaic plants and infrastructures to transport this energy to homes and industries, which in many cases are hundreds of kilometers from the point of generation. These European funds are designed so that small facilities are generated, “the focus of all these undertakings has to be on self-sufficiency at the collective and local level, the objective is to generate 0 kilometer energy that is consumed in the place where it is generated. It is not the objective to put large parks of plates so that later that energy can be carried hundreds of kilometers, counting on the large amount of losses that there are, in addition to the transmission costs. The idea is to start implementing that idea of creating your own energy or on your roof or in the vicinity of your house “, explains Ariñez.
The Luco de Jiloca solar garden will be joint and collective and the energy obtained will be supplied to the meters of the users belonging to the cooperative. To get it started, in addition to European funds, on July 9 they started a crowdfunding that has already achieved almost 90% of the goal. Carlos assures that they have been surprised by the answer and that it is giving confidence to the neighbors themselves, “the most reticent people in town are seeing how there is support from outside, which brings people who are not going to obtain any benefit because it’s an idea they believe in. ” This is the initial project, from which they trust that other environmental and social initiatives may arise that generate activity and fight against depopulation.