Lumiar's Renewable Energy Community: when sustainability and inclusion go together

19 March 2024

Lumiar's Renewable Energy Community: when sustainability and inclusion go together

Lumiar, a Civil Parish of Lisbon, Portugal, is the newest member of the Sun4All Community of Practice, but certainly not a beginner in renewable energy initiatives. Spearheaded by the Lumiar Civil Parish and the Local Partnership of Telheiras, the community is embarking on the creation of a renewable energy community (REC) that promises to revolutionise energy generation and distribution within its territory. It is one of Portugal's first citizen-led renewable energy communities.

Comprising around 47,000 inhabitants, Lumiar is a diverse community facing socio-economic challenges, including energy poverty and environmental concerns. However, through collaborative efforts between local authorities, grassroots organisations, and engaged citizens, Lumiar aims at achieving energy self-sufficiency for Lumiar's public buildings while expanding support for vulnerable households.

The REC Telheiras project exemplifies this commitment to sustainability and inclusivity. It aligns with the European Union's definition of renewable energy communities, prioritising social, economic, and environmental benefits over financial profits. The project's key objectives include combating energy poverty, promoting renewable energy generation, and fostering community participation. At its core, REC Telheiras aims to empower citizens and local associations to invest in and manage decentralised solar photovoltaic systems. The pilot project, set to start soon, will see the installation of a 7.0 kWp solar photovoltaic system in a public building, with the generated electricity shared between the Parish Council itself and 16 local households, including three households in situation of energy vulnerability.

Looking ahead, REC Telheiras plans to scale up its efforts, with a second project in the pipeline that will accommodate more members and support additional families in situation of energy vulnerability. “For Junta de Freguesia do Lumiar, the social component of this project is one of the most important issues, as it allows us to address energy poverty situations of some of the most vulnerable families in our civil parish, with the contribution of the other members of the Energy Community”, says Ricardo Mexia, the President of Lumiar Parish Council.

By leveraging the expertise of the Sun4All consortium and fostering collaboration among stakeholders, Lumiar is prepared to become a model for sustainable development. REC Telheiras not only addresses pressing environmental issues but also promotes social cohesion and economic empowerment within the community.

Image (Junta de Freguesia do Lumiar)

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement N°101032239.