The Agència Energètica de la Ribera (AER) is a Spanish public local energy agency created in 2001 under the SAVE II Programme. AER is an autonomous organization of the county councils of the Ribera Alta and Ribera Baixa (47 villages and nearly 300.000 inhabitants) in the province of Valencia, in eastern Spain. The main aim of AER is to promote the implementation of initiatives and policies in the region related to Renewable Energy Sources (RES) and Rational Use of Energy (RUE) that lead to a sustainable development of the territory.
AER has gained a lot of experience in the execution and implementation of European energy projects running under the IEE Programme and the MED Programme. One of the main sectors that AER addresses is the public sector. AER works closely with local governments in order to promote climate responsible development policies aiming at reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emission (GHG). AER is very active in the promotion of clustering among small and medium municipalities in order to create a critical mass so that the implementation of actions within the field of RES and Energy Efficiency (EE) become feasible in rural areas. Some examples of projects being currently developed within this line of work are:
- Promotion of the Covenant of Mayors initiative and development of Sustainable Energy Actions Plans (SEAP).
- Creation of Public Private Partnerships (PPP) for implementing SEAPs in small municipalities.
- Creation of clusters of small municipalities in order to install PV plants on municipal buildings.
- Creation of clusters of small municipalities in order to implement energy efficiency measures in public lighting.
- Creation of clusters of small municipalities in order to optimize the conditions of the energy supply.
- Creation of clusters of small municipalities in order to collect waste vegetal oil and transform it into biodiesel.
- Valorization of agricultural waste produced in our region by developing a biogas plant.
On the other hand, on 2008 AER was a member of the ManagEnergy Thematic Group on mobility with the aim of developing practical tools to help local government to better understand what kind of sustainable mobility actions are possible and to provide examples of practical and effective successful case studies.
AER has also significant experience in developing awareness and educational projects with the aim of raising public awareness. Through educational programmes designed to teach primary and secondary school pupils about renewable energy sources and rational use of energy, we have collaborated with educational centers in the implementation of School Agenda 21 and School Energy Audits. A milestone of our educational programmes is “La Ribera Route of Energy” that consists of visiting renewable energy power plants with students in order to explain them on the spot each technology, its application and its environmental impact. Regarding citizen awareness, AER has been very active organizing campaigns within the Mobility Week as well as the Energy Neighbourhoods and Energy Neighbourhoods 2 projects that intend to encourage households to achieve energy savings through changes in behaviour by organizing a contest. In March 2010 Energy Neighbourhoods was awarded with the ManagEnergy Local Energy Action Award 2010.
Regarding the private sector, AER is struggling to strengthen the energy efficiency and renewable energy business sector in our region. In order to achieve this target, one of AER’s main activities is focused on organizing training courses addressed to entrepreneurs within the field of RES and EE. We are also working on the promotion of the Energy Services Companies business model in order to reduce industrial energy intensity with a double target: minimize the impact of industrial activity in our region and improve their competitiveness.