VILAWATT – Innovative local public-private-citizen partnership for energy governance

Viladecans, Spain Environment and Resource efficiency, Local social sustainability, Relations to stakeholders
EU funded project



The municipality is aiming to fulfil the EPBD and EED directives fostering the building deep energy renovation from a more local, participative and more inclusive way.

Which innovative method?

By a creation of a PPP at local level that will serve as a central Hub managing the new local tools for the transition: energy supply, energy currency, energy savings, services, deep energy renovation investments, and renewable energy production. Its mission is to promote and ensure a secure, clean and efficient use of energy. It’s the first time that local citizens will be included as members.


Issues tackled

The main challenge is to achieve a low carbon, socially just, healthier and happier community, where citizens play an active role in that change in order to secure a stable Energy Transition Process in Viladecans city.

From all the challenges that a community must face in an energy transition process, VILAWATT will, as a priority, focus on unlocking the needed deep energy renovation of residential buildings. The proposal aims at addressing this situation firstly in low income communities where higher efforts need to be done (In Spain about 17% homes are suffering from fuel poverty).

Housing sector in Viladecans is not being energy retrofitted as expected and private sector is hardly investing because of high risk perception. The municipality of Viladecans is aiming to fulfill with the EPBD (2010) and EED (2012) directives fostering the building deep energy renovation from a more local, participative and inclusive way.

This project will initiate the transition by focusing on Montserratina District (45 Ha.) with its 20.216 residents (30% of the whole city), 8.026 dwellings (6.203 of which are built before 1976, i.e. before any energy related legislation was in place). The annual district income is 15% lower compared to the city average, and its annual final energy consumption is 34 GWh; 75 kWh/year m2.

On a social, economic and environmental level this project will:

  • Awake the community on the energy efficiency and management, and will empower the citizens by making them transit from a passive to a proactive role.
  • Strengthen the local economy by bringing economic empowerment to the community vulnerable groups and by creating new jobs linked to the energy transition.
  • Reduce environmental impacts (GHG, air pollution and other) thanks to energy efficiency measures and the switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy. VILAWATT pretends to reduce these impacts gradually and in a stable way, instead of having an occasionally benefit.

Actors involved

  • City of Viladecans
  • Agència d'ecologia urbana de Barcelona - Public agency
  • UBIQUAT TECHNOLOGIES S.L. - Private company
  • ICAEN - Institut Català de l'Energia - Research center
  • Associació LIMA - Low Impact Mediterranean Architecture - Private Company
  • CERCLE GESPROMAT S.L. - Private Company
  • EGM - Private Company
  • VIGEM - Viladecans Grup d’Empreses Municipals, S.L. - Municipallly-owned company
  • VIDEM - Viladecans Grup d’Empreses Municipals, S.L. - Municipally-owned company
  • CICLICA SCCL - Cooperative


The main results will be:

  • A mindset change in the local population, through enhanced knowledge and capacities related to energy transition and renovation of buildings.
  • A new PPCP organization for energy governance that will empower and engage citizens, local administration and public sector for the energy transition. It will be fully implemented and will include access to local energy supply, energy savings contracting, deep renovations assessment and new financing possibilities.
  • A new energy currency that will be operating in Montserratina District, adopted by PPCP associates and local shops in the implementation area. The energy related local sector will be developed, by empowering local professionals and creating new jobs.
  • The deep renovation of 60 dwellings, supported by a participative scheme, and given high visibility so new commitments for deep renovation are made.

Why it works

The Energy Transition is initiated by the creation of an Innovative Public-Private-Citizen Governance Partnership at Local level (PPCP). This new PPCP is the central hub that manages the new local tools for the transition: energy supply, energy currency, energy savings services, deep energy renovation investments and renewable energy production.

This entity has, for the first time, the Municipality together with the local businesses and the citizens of Viladecans as its members. Its mission is to promote and ensure a secure, clean and efficient use of energy.

The new entity creates a Local Energy Operator that will be the local energy supplier and the renewable energy producer, and an Energy Savings Company, offering energy savings services and energy renovation investment to all the members. The Capitalization of the Energy Savings allows the new entity to focus on the investment of deep energy renovations, sharing among the local community the economic risks of that energy saving operations that are not economically attractive.

The creation of this PPCP structure is a completely new approach. It will help to inject a broader set of skills and talent, a more diligent and responsive work culture into the municipality machinery, create a solid foundation for innovative thinking and creativity, empower the community, share common risks and face unbalanced situations. The community energy savings capitalization will provide funds for new deep energy renovation investments.

A new energy currency linked to energy savings will be created, and it will work as an incentive to energy efficiency and as a mechanism to increase economic capacity of vulnerable economic groups. At the same time this alternative currency will strengthen the local economy by assuring a local cycle of the money.

The creation of this local PPCP implies a change on the energy management community role. Therefore this project involves the community from early stages, and has specially defined a wide range of activities to transfer knowledge, build capacities, integrate the design team, create jobs, change the energy vision, create community network, engage and empower the community.

Another key point will be The Energy engaged Communities. There are not mature citizen funding initiatives to date that are focused on the deep energy retrofit of buildings; the lack of community engagement is an obstacle. This project aims at engaging and involving whole community from early conception stages of PPCP creation and implementation to define a long-term city energy community vision.



More information

Total ERDF budget granted: EUR 4,269,862.80
Timeline: 2017-2019