Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Energy Utility Alternatives in France and Spain

France and Spain have not made much news from renewable energy co-operatives.  France has one renewable energy co-operative, apparently, and finally it has come to my attention and now, the audience here.  I made a pretty good effort, with no French and before I knew much about Google translator, and didn't find anything in 2009 or so.  However, thanks to the Eurosolar Prizes, here it is!
      Spain had some few, and I had found a reference to one or two, but renewable energy there has been advanced by corporations and municipalities.  However, in 2010, something new appeared in Spain which the Eurosolar Prize has recognized.  They say the first energy co-op, but it must be the first RENEWABLE energy co-op.

Enercoop France was founded in 2005. It is the only supplier of entirely renewable energy-based power in France today. Rooted in the tradition of the cooperative model it unites both producers and consumers of green electricity with currently 10,000 members, 16,000 customers and over 80 producers as economic agents.

High social, ethical and ecological values are at the core of the co-operative’s work. Among its principal demands are decentralizing generation, reducing consumption and returning decision-making powers to the regions. So every citizen can play an active role in the transformation of the energy system. ....


Som Energia ('We are energy') is the first energy cooperative in Spain, in Catalonia founded by 150 citizens in 2010. In only two years this number grew by an astonishing 2500 % to the nearly 4,000 members Som Energia has today.

Most private citizens cannot afford to realize wind, hydro or solar projects. Som Energia offers the possibility to act together in supporting the concept of renewable energy supply drawn from regional sources. The non-profit organization started out with purchasing local green energy from existing sources, so members can buy affordable electricity. Meanwhile, Som Energia has built its own solar power installations and pursues new renewable production projects. The first citizen-owned 500 kW biogas plant in Spain is under construction. The goal is to produce enough electricity to meet 100% of the members' consumption....

Crevillent, a town of 25,100 people, has the biggest electricity distribution co-operative amongst the 16 Valencia regions.4 The co-operative was founded in 1925 to provide the energy for the mechanization of the traditional textile industry. In 1993, after many years of juridical dispute with the incumbent utility, its territory and capacity was defined. Seven years later, its grid consisted of 65 km of medium-voltage and 175 km of low-voltage lines and 85 transformer centres while the electricity sold reached more than 51 TWh. The co-operative understood that diversification was vital for its future. Thus, distribution businesses were expanded and subsidized technologies were used for power generation. Soon, mini-hydro capacity reached 3.6 MW and in 1998, a 10 MW cogeneration plant was installed in collaboration with the local textile-dyeing co-operative industry Lanatin. The Lanatin plant consumes between 100% and 80% of the heat and 10% of the electricity produced, and the rest is sold to the neighbouring utility.

and another in Valencia:
...El día 2 de Agosto de 1.923, D. José Alpera cede y traspasa los derechos y obligaciones que se derivan del contrato con la S.A. “El Volta”, y todas las redes y transformadores, a D. Marcelino Gimeno Mocholí, en nombre y representación de doscientos veinticinco propietarios, por un importe total de dieciocho mil pesetas.....

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