The energy transition is an ambitious challenge: achieving a decarbonized energy model requires a huge effort on energy efficiency and renewable generation everywhere. The County Energy Transition Offices Network will be a key tool to deliver that transition throughout Catalonia.
The government of Catalonia has completed an energy assessment in view of the 2050 climate neutrality goal. This work showed that to reach a decarbonized energy model, Catalonia needs to be much more efficient in its energy use; in particular, Catalonia has to decrease energy intensity by 57% and will have to increase renewable generation to 62GW – multiplying current renewable deployment by a factor of 18.
Maximum utilisation of building roofs will generate about a quarter of the required renewable energy. It will also be necessary to build renewables on the ground in small to medium-sized power plants managed by local agents, as well as large renewable generation power plants. This will mean the use of 2.5% of the territory of Catalonia.
The development of renewable energy throughout the territory leads to a social debate on where plants should be constructed and on how the territory hosting them can avail of these investments to generate wealth and jobs.
In this sense, the Catalan government is developing the Sectoral Territorial Plan for the implementation of renewable energies (PLATER), coordinated by the Catalan Energy Institute. The Plan (currently in the development phase) will set the global criteria for the implementation of renewable energies in Catalonia, making energy generation compatible with environmental, agricultural, cultural, planning, and landscape considerations.
Within the framework of this Plan, the government of Catalonia has supported local authorities through a grant call to create the Network of County Energy Transition Offices. This network is composed of 41 regional offices throughout Catalonia, headquartered in the county councils.
The offices have technical managers with two core purposes: one, to support the development of PLATER and to specify the local criteria for the implementation of renewable energies in each county; two, to promote (with the help of the Catalan Energy Institute) energy transition projects in the areas of efficiency and renewable generation. This includes the development of energy communities in each territory.
The Network has already started its operation; the Catalan Energy Institute provides training and technical support to those responsible for the Offices.
The energy transition can only be achieved if it is a global action, which includes the urban as well as rural areas of Catalonia. The Network of Regional Energy Transition Offices will significantly contribute to achieving this goal.