Empowering Valencia: fighting energy poverty amid rising summer heat
29 January 2024
In Valencia, the key challenge related to energy poverty is not the heating, but the inability to keep cool in the summer. Due to the warmer climate, the city´s inhabitants suffer more and more from discomfort due to extreme temperatures in summer. A study revealed that a significant portion of Valencia´s population struggles with high energy bills. Despite efforts, a recent update indicates that the situation has not improved since 2016.
The city's strategies to address this issue revolve around governance, prevention, correction, and urgency. These initiatives aim to consolidate efforts, offer training, rehabilitation, and urgent aid while emphasizing the importance of renewable energy participation for vulnerable groups. Clear disparities in fuel poverty between districts underscore the need for targeted interventions.
Key stakeholders, including the València Clima i Energia Foundation and Las Naves, the municipal centre of social and urban innovation, are actively involved in the Sun4All Community of Practice. Together, they strive to promote climate change awareness and city resilience against global warming.
Their primary focus within Sun4All revolves around developing a public service model for collective self-consumption. This includes installing PV systems on public buildings such as in cemeteries, subsidising energy production, and socialising energy with neighbours while prioritising inclusion of vulnerable households at affordable rates. 25% of the energy produced will go to vulnerable households. “València has committed to achieve climate neutrality by 2030 and for that, promoting locally owned renewable energy generation is key. Including an energy vulnerability perspective in our collective self-consumption models represents a huge opportunity for the city to promote a fairer and more inclusive energy transition”, said Carlos Sánchez Cerveró, Managing Director at the Valencia Climate and Energy Municipal Foundation. “Sun4All Community of Practice is a perfect environment to exchange with sister cities and expert partners from all around Europe and continue learning from each other in this challenging path.”
While progress is underway, defining eligibility criteria and engaging vulnerable households remain significant tasks. Technical assistance and legal support from experts have been crucial in navigating challenges and fostering municipal support for these initiatives.
Looking ahead, 2024 will be a challenging year with the project implementation and advocacy to new elected representatives. The city aims to continue expanding services, advocating for its local action plan against energy poverty, and executing initiatives aimed at supporting vulnerable households. Timing, resources, and ongoing support from Sun4All and mentors will be pivotal in these efforts.
Image (València Clima i Energia)