La Palma Renovable promotes the first Citizen Energy Community in the Canary Islands

Published on 15.03.2021
Citizen Energy Community La Palma

La Palma Renovable is moving forward with the last steps necessary to promote the creation of the first Citizen Energy Community in the Canary Islands. The scope of the Citizen Energy Community will be the whole island of La Palma and the first project, which will be presented to local citizens in the coming weeks, will be located in San Andrés y Sauces.

The first and pioneering project of the Energy Community will take place in the municipality of Los Sauces, where a shared self-consumption photovoltaic power plant will be installed on one of the ponds of the local Irrigation Community. This photovoltaic power plant is aimed at generating both economic and environmental benefits for its inhabitants.

“We have been working very hard and still there is a lot of work left to do but we are very excited and hopeful for the future. We believe this is a first step towards a real and powerful transformation of the energy system that tackles both climate change and social justice", states Nuria Albet-Torres, Project Coordinator at La Palma Renovable.

A Citizen Energy Community (Comunidad Energética Local; CEL) is an organisational form promoted by European legislation that provides tools and equal opportunities in the electricity market to citizens, SMEs and local administrations to generate, consume and manage energy in a fair, efficient and collaborative way, based on the active participation of the users themselves. Putting consumers at the center of energy production the Energy Community allows citizens to have an active role in the electricity market, so far mainly monopolised by large multinational companies.

At the end of 2020, La Palma Renovable applied to the Vice-Presidency of the Canary Islands Government for the necessary funding for the techno-economic feasibility study for this project. The report has yielded very good results, both in terms of technical feasibility and economic return on investment, and now a new phase is beginning in which it is hoped to count on the active participation of the local council, SMEs and citizens to become users of this shared renewable energy facility. The Los Sauces Irrigation Community has been involved from the very beginning, facilitating, and playing a key role in making the Energy Community a reality. The Town Council of San Andrés y Sauces has already expressed its interest in being part of the Energy Community and consuming from the installation as well as being able to provide solutions for the inhabitants of the municipality in energy poverty.

The first project of the Energy Community of the Canary Islands will consist of a 100 kW photovoltaic power generation installation on a pond that will provide renewable energy on a shared self-consumption basis to participating individuals and entities established within 500 metres of the installation. This installation will save 140 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year and, as it is located above a pond, it will prevent water evaporation and the appearance of algae, improving the quality of the water.

This installation will allow consumers to generate their own energy, as if the installation were on their roof, and will provide savings in electricity bills proportional to the investment made in the project. The IRR (internal rate of return) on the investment depends on the investment made and the energy usage but, in some cases, can be even above 10%. Shares could be as small as €300.

To invite participation in the project, an official presentation will be held in the coming weeks in Los Sauces so that neighbours, as well as entities and organisations in the vicinity of the installation, can join the project. La Palma Renovable wants to encourage these projects to be made up of many small participations, instead of a few large consumers, favouring the optimisation of the installation from both a technical and social point of view.

La Palma Renovable is a project born from the Platforma por un Nuevo Modelo Energético (Px1NME), and financed by the Cabildo Insular de La Palma, which aims to reach a 100% renewable island, always following a democratic, decentralised and citizen-based model. Thanks to this process, La Palma was chosen as one of the six pilot islands of the Clean Energy for EU islands Secretariat.

Please find the Spanish press release here.