23 February 2019

Co-creating a new energy community in Portugal

The first "renewable energy community" in Portugal might be in São Luís village (situated in the South of the country). On 23 February 2019, São Luís Transition Town and the PROSEU project, in collaboration with the local Parish Council and San Luizense Musical Recreation Society, co-organised a participatory session with the purpose of designing a model for a new local community that aims to produce and consume energy from renewable sources.

The event took place at the Sociedade Recreativa Musical SanLuizense and was attended by 44 people, including residents of S. Luís, representatives of the Town Councils of São Luís and Relíquias villages, and of the Odemira Municipality, as well as a set of specialised technicians from the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, and representatives of the Minga Cooperative of Montemor-o-Novo and the Coopérnico energy cooperative.

In Portugal, there is still no legal framework that specifically governs collective self-consumption systems. However, this may soon change with the transposition of the European RES Directive and Electricity Directives into national law. They foresee a legal definition and legal framework for renewable energy communities.

Led by the local Transition Town initiative, São Luís has been at the forefront of this transition. The process began in 2012 with the installation of solar panels on the public buildings of Relíquias and São Luís Freguesias through funds from the Participatory Budget. In 2017 a survey of energy needs was made, which provided the basis for designing a model for the development of a community that produces and consumes energy from renewable sources.

There is still a long way to go but the process is gaining momentum with the collaboration of the PROSEU project and Coopérnico. The latter was the first cooperative established in Portugal to produce and sell energy from renewable sources. It has won the Gulbenkian Sustainability Award this year. Together with Coopérnico and the São Luís Transition Town, the PROSEU team of the Faculty of Sciences of Lisbon University is leading a Living Lab for the co-development of new renewable energy communities in the Alentejo region (South of Portugal). You can find a short article about their first meeting here.

For more general information about PROSEU's Living labs, you can read this article on our website.