L’ Alcudia

L’Alcúdia is a municipality in the province of Valencia, Spain. L’Alcúdia is a town with 11,246 (2011) situated 30 km south of Valencia city. L’Alcúdia territorial morphology shows a narrow and elongated shape with a total extension of 23.7 km2 and integrated by two urban areas (population centers): l’Alcúdia and Montortal.

It’s territory is almost completely flat with was formed as a alluvial fan of Xúquer river with a higher elevation of 128 m, although the main urban area shows an elevation of 30 m above sea level. This factor and its proximity to the Mediterranean sea, condition l’Alcúdia climatology defined by mild winter and warm summer.

Regarding l’Alcúdia local economy and employment distribution, the Industry is the major sector representing more than 36% of the total, Tertiary rises to barely 36%, Primary sectors is the third with 18% and construction sector gives employment to 10% of the people.

The energy situation in l’Alcúdia municipality shows that domestic sector represents the higher percentage of the local energy consumption (around 40%). On the other hand, municipal public buildings and facilities lack of a good energy management, although it represents around 5% of the total energy consumption. However public equipments should represent an example of good energy management and efficiency for the whole community.

Having a look to the local energy production (based on photovoltaic plants and gas cogeneration), comparing energy production and consumption, it is produced far less than is consumed. While in 2003 the production represented a 17,43% of the total in 2009 it was only 13%. The energy production in l’Alcúdia has decreased in 22,59% in the SEAP studied period. The energy produced in 2003 means a 21% of the energy consumed and in 2009 only a 15%.

According to this local context, the main challenges to face would be how to reduce energy consumption at domestic sector (including transport energy consumption), how to improve energy efficiency in public buildings/facilities and how to foster all sectors energy self-production by renewable sources.

L’Alcúdia local government is strongly committed in the reduction of GHG emissions in order to contribute to mitigate the effects of climate change. Therefore, they are working in the implementation of policies that lead to the reduction of the pollution that is provoking global warming by adopting energy efficiency programmes in sectors such transport and municipal and residential buildings. The promotion of renewable energies is another target of l’Alcúdia Town Council to struggle against climate change.

Following this path, l’Alcúdia Town Council adopted EU targets and committed on 2nd February 2011, by signing up to the Covenant of Mayors, to reduce local GHG emissions in 30% by 2020. Its Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) was formally approved by the city council on 25th April 2012. It is foreseen to set up an Energy Committee that will be in charge of the monitoring and review of the SEAP. The Committee will be integrated by technicians of the Energy Agency of la Ribera (AER), as technical support, representatives of the local government and representatives of local civil associations in order to guarantee the transparency and the involvement of stakeholders and citizens. This committee will adopt the role of the Local Support Group.

Apart from the adhesion to the Covenant of Mayors and the designing and implementation of a SEAP, up to date, L’Alcúdia Town Council has implemented policies that lead to the reduction of greenhouse gases that is provoking global warming by adopting different measures:

  1. Photovoltaic on municipal roofs: Using a roof-rental scheme more than 300 kW have been installed so far on public buildings.
  2. Solar thermal on indoor public swimming pool. Around 200 m2 of solar thermal panels have been installed in it. It’s the biggest solar thermal plant but smaller plants have been installed in municipal buildings (primary school and public nursery).
  3. Formation of a PPP to manage Municipal street lighting energy efficiency improvement: Through an agreement with the Energy Agency of la Ribera (AER) l’Alcúdia local government is developing a municipal energy efficiency programme, focused in improving the energy efficiency in street lighting, primary schools and sport facilities using a public-private partnership (where the private partner is involved through a Energy Performance Contract, EPC). The process for setting up the PPP has been completed by the signature of the contract with the ESCO on 28th August 2012. The Public-Private partnership will be in charge of the optimization of the municipal public lighting of the municipalities of l’Alcúdia. PPP consists on an agreement between the public body (l’Alcúdia town council) and a technical assistance (AER), also a public body. This agreement was signed by both partners by July 2010. The involvement of the private party requires a tender process according to the Spanish law. The call for bids was launched on 14th July 2012. The contract between the town council and the private party follows the ESCO model, under the P4 form where the private party supplies the equipment and guarantees the percentage of energy saving to be achieved. The implementation started at the beginning of December 2012 and it’s foreseen to be completed at the end of February 2013. This energy efficiency plan is based on reducing the power of lamps (High Pressure Sodium Vapor Lamps) and installing optical equipments. The intervention includes 1,434 streetlights model “pescador” substituted, integrating the optical equipment and reducing the power of the lamps and their equipments. 1,239 streetlights model “poligon”, reducing the power of the lamps and equipments. Saving 609,241 kWh per year. Economical saving of 85,000 €/year. The avoidance of 304 CO2 Tn/year. The avoidance of 5 SO2tn/year. Total investment of approximately. 260,000 €.
  4. Development of the Local Agenda 21 and set up of local community Forum.
  5. Reduction of taxes when installing renewable plants: any facility installed in l’Alcudia municipality is charged with a tax that sums up 3% of the global budget of the facility. However, the cost of the PV panels is excluded of the budget that is considered for calculating the tax that corresponds to a PV facility.
  6. Elaboration of a Plan towards a Sustainable Mobility City. It includes a study of the current situation and a set of actions to be implemented in order to shift the current mobility model towards a sustainable one. Examples of actions already undertaken within this plan are: limitation of speed in the urban area to 30 km/h, transformation of the city centre into a pedestrian area, installation of traffic calming elements, construction of cycle lanes, construction of cycle storage areas, sign post of cycling routes, sidewalks widening, including sustainable mobility criteria in the urban planning, organization of campaigns for cycling promotion (funds for bike purchase, bike borrowing system, organization of cycling excursions), participation in the European mobility week, promotion of the car-free day.
  7. Design and implementation of walking buses to primary schools. Safe routes to school were designed for four schools in l’Alcudia by pupils and their parents with the aim of implementing a walking bus. The most popular routes were subjected to a walking audit with members of the school community, city council representatives, local police and the AER staff. Changes were made to the routes to maximize safety and were marked with temporary stickers to be replaced with permanent ceramic tiles. More than 90% of pupils participated in designing the routes which are now considered a permanent feature for each school. Pilot Walking Buses were organized during European Mobility Week. Around 250 students and 50 more people (teachers, technicians, local police and authorities) took part in the experience. A permanent walking bus service is being analyzed to be implemented by l’Alcúdia.
  8. Energy days organization. Every year l’Alcúdia municipality joins the EU Sustainable Energy Week Energy Days by organizing events and activities that promote energy efficiency and renewable energy sources
  9. Actions addressed to domestic sector. L’Alcúdia has taken part of a project, organized by AER, to reduce domestic energy consumption by applying simple energy tips at home. WE have obtained an average of 20% of energy savings per year. It comes from a IEE project (Energy Neighbourhoods I and II).
  10. Awareness campaigns for promoting sustainable mobility The main objective of Active Access is to increase the use of cycling but especially walking for short every-day trips in local areas, in order to benefit people’s health, and the health of the local economy. It aims to transfer longer car trips to shorter walking and cycling trips by changing people’s mental maps of their local neighborhoods so that they realize what is available on their doorstep, rather than in the edge of town retail park.

Projects addressed to young people. Through some educational programmes designed to teach secondary school pupils (14 – 18 years) about practical energy management skills and their application to the schools. The projects aimed to increase the sustainability of energy use, renewable energy sources and rational use of energy and reduce the associated carbon emissions in schools and workplaces resulting in more sustainable communities. It principally consist on pupils conducting energy audits at their schools.