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Clean energy for EU islands
27 August 2021

Kick-off of the island-wide energy cooperative Energía Bonita on La Palma

La Palma launches island-wide energy community Energía Bonita

At the Secretariat, we talk a lot about the importance of local communities in the energy transition on islands – about the opportunities, but also the challenges that come with driving the energy transition from the bottom up.

Designing the island of the future coordinating different groups of actors requires creativity, persistency, and a lot of patience. This is why it is all the more exciting once a local group of actors reaches the point to formalise their collaboration and launch their first citizen-led projects.

This is what’s happening at this moment on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands. Three years have gone by since the island was selected as a pilot island for the Clean energy for EU islands initiative, and many more years of citizen engagement and commitment by local authorities to advance the energy transition before this.

This Monday, the citizens, local authorities and businesses on the island will celebrate the kick-off of the island-wide energy cooperative, Energía Bonita, on La Palma.

The launch will take place in combination with a screening of and debate about the documentary We the Power, produced by outdoor-clothing brand Patagonia, to inform more citizens on the island about how the energy cooperative will work.

The birth of Energía Bonita is a revolutionary effort on the island, with local authorities and the island government putting themselves on the same footing as the citizens they serve.

How will it work in practice, you ask?

All members of Energía Bonita will have one vote, irrespective of the number of shares they hold in the cooperative. This applies to individual citizens as well as to local authorities and companies. In a first instance, the energy community will focus on collective self-consumption projects. In Spain, the national law currently allows collective self-consumption for households and companies situated within 500m of any said installation. The first project of Energía Bonita will be situated in the North-East of the island, where the energy community will install 100kW of capacity on a water tank in the municipality of San Andrés y Sauces.

The energy community is currently further collaborating with NESOI – the European Islands Facility to help explore further possible clean energy projects in other parts of the island. Over the coming months, the members of the community will work together to develop the economic concept and internal governance in more detail and establish working groups around a variety of subjects relating to the community.