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Radical innovation in energy policy and management of towns and cities in the province of Barcelona - The public-private partnership (PPP) as an opportunity for an effective climate protection policy

From EPSA - European Public Sector Award

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Barcelona Provincial Council, through the Department of Environment, has been promoting and coordinating a radical change in the energy management of local communities since early 2009. The change faces two challenges: the achievement of maximum efficiency and the massive entry of those municipalities into the production of renewable energy who are taking advantage of the availability of the resources that exist in this province (biomass, solar energy, wind, geothermal and others yet to be explored). This produces a double benefit, environmental and economic: a reduction in CO2 emissions, which must be more than 20% by 2020, a reduction in consumer spending bills, and increased revenue by selling new electricity produced by local authorities.

Changing energy management of local communities is an initiative that meets environmental and economic needs. Despite the fact that all of the components are beneficial, both for society and for the municipalities themselves, until now the Barcelona Provincial Council did not have the chance to develop it because the initial investment to be made is beyond the capacity of most local communities, especially medium and small ones. In order to bypass this barrier, the Department of Environment of the province of Barcelona, is implementing new solutions through the ER-DIBA project and other initiatives that have their historical origins in the first programme of Local Agenda 21 of this institution. They have established a cooperative framework between energy saving and producing specialised investors and municipalities. Investors provide new capital and knowledge, which has to be transformed into facilities, and municipalities provide soil, buildings, and infrastructure.

To ensure a satisfactory return for each of the stakeholders, a balanced benefit distribution mechanism was established:

  • Energy efficiency and saving measures: economic savings are distributed equally between investors and municipalities;
  • Local energy production: there are several PPP models. Usually municipalities rent the space where the infrastructure is installed, and investors sell the energy produced to the market.

Barcelona Provincial Council has been a pioneer in the promotion of Local Agenda 21 processes and the Covenant of Mayors among the municipalities in the province of Barcelona. Given the current economic crisis and the financial problems that the municipalities face, a scheme was designed, which is also innovative, to establish a public private partnership (PPP) that enables the execution of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in municipal buildings and, at the same time, local councils do not go into debt. Therefore, Barcelona Provincial Council has achieved a line of credit for investments of up to €500 million. The European Investment Bank (EIB) provides 50% of this amount; two local financial institutions contribute 25% (la Caixa and CatalunyaCaixa); and the remaining 25%, comes from Energy Service Companies (ESCOs). Thus, the task of Barcelona Provincial Council is to collect and promote policies and resources to reduce the impact of global warming in the 311 municipalities of the province.

Award info
Award category: going green
Award type: submission
Award year: 2011
Project type
Sector: Environment, climate change, agriculture (incl. food safety) and fishery
Type of activity:
Keywords: Local Agenda 21, Covenant of Mayors, investments, photovoltaic, energy efficiency, public buildings, ESCOs
Short English description: This produces a double benefit, environmental and economic: a reduction in CO2 emissions, which must be more than 20% by 2020, a reduction in consumer spending bills, and increased revenue by selling new electricity produced by local authorities.
Further information
Organisation: Barcelona Provincial Council – Evironmental Services
Other applicants:
Homepage:
Level of government: local level
Size of organisation: >100
Number of people involved: >15
Country: Spain
EU membership: EU member
Language code: en
Start date:
End date:
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Radical innovation in energy policy and management of towns and cities in the province of Barcelona - The public-private partnership (PPP) as an opportunity for an effective climate protection policy (41.3884861, 2.1501513)
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