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Citizen energy

  • Currently, pressing a switch is a banal gesture. Most do not know what is behind energy production if all energy production has influence. The fragility of the energy model based on fossil and nuclear fuels goes through the development of citizen energy projects, accompanied by the concepts of “Renewable Energy Communities” and “Energy Citizens Communities”, defined by the European Parliament itself.
Berrhoko Eihera Arrosan 350 kW/h-ekin elektrizitate mailan 600 pertsonen urteko beharrak ekoizten ditu.
Artikulu hau egilearen baimenari esker ekarri dugu.

23 May 2024 - 10:09

In the early twentieth century, in the Northern Basque Country, vigilantes placed turbines in their own eiheras to produce electricity. At a time when the electrification of the territories was only in its origins, the energy produced by the eiheras also supplied the houses of the neighborhood, shops and accommodation. In Baigorri they say that one of them was quite addicted, and that in the housing of the neighborhood it lengthened too much in verses and in the zurrutia, his wife, tired of not seeing her husband return, turned on the general switch, leaving all the vicinity and especially the accommodation in the dark. A very effective system for the owner of the accommodation to immediately send the eyherazaina home!

Obsolete models

This story shows that former neighbors with access to electricity at home knew exactly where it came from. At present, the situation is very different: pressing a switch is a banal gesture, with the only consequence that the invoice will be cheaper or more expensive. We have become accustomed to that ease and irresponsibility. Most of us don't know what's in the liver of energy production, as we know little about how we produce our food or do our everyday things. However, all energy production influences climate, biodiversity, health... On the other hand, recent crises have demonstrated the fragility of our energy models, both for fossil fuel and nuclear energy: depletion and increased resources, independence, very high risks at multiple levels. Conversely, renewables, developed in combination with strong restraint measures, have proved to be more appropriate. There are multinationals that have not failed and that are investing massively in mega-projects thinking that they will have good profits. These projects, of course, do not rely on restraint and depart without taking into account the needs of the territory.

This gives rise to massive opposition from neighbors, who tend to block out renewables instead of the underlying capitalist logic. They forget that if they oppose these projects without any more alternatives, they are committed to fossil or nuclear energy.

Short circuit of 21st century energy

The solution will come from the development of citizen energy projects: "This energy allows the direct participation of citizens and communities in the decisions of exploitation of the project throughout the time, with the objective of generating short circuits between producers and consumers to understand the relationship between needs and production routes". A group of neighbors, supported or not by a community, assesses their needs and the resources of the territory. Then you invest in an energy generation unit that, although connected to a global network, will respond to your needs.

If this model has multiple advantages:

– Democracy and transparency: emotive people make collective decisions.

– Moderation and respect for the environment: users see directly the effects of production and relate to consumption. This encourages restraint. It will be strengthened to typify the inevitable effects and will also be more accepted.

– Social: the wealth generated is left to the local community and allows solidarity. This model of citizen energy generation is not only the dream of idealists. In 2019, the European Parliament voted on a legislative package entitled ‘Clean Energy for All Europeans’ to define the concepts of Renewable Energy Communities and Citizen Energy Communities.

Energy communities are defined as "legal entities that can produce, consume, store and sell renewable energy, in which cooperation between local actors is encouraged. They are characterised by limited benefit and democratic governance."

In these times of confrontation with the energy ecosystem of the Northern Basque Country, it is good to keep in mind the essence of our struggles: to achieve the energy sovereignty of the Basque Country and thus satisfy the basic energy needs of its inhabitants, with a controlled impact on the environment.

Elise Dilet

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