Catalan president announces public energy company to launch in October

Aragonès wants Catalonia to be a European leader in green energy with hydrogen

The Catalan president, Pere Aragonès, talking to the press during Climate Week NYC along with the climate change and agriculture minister, Teresa Jordà, on September 19, 2022
The Catalan president, Pere Aragonès, talking to the press during Climate Week NYC along with the climate change and agriculture minister, Teresa Jordà, on September 19, 2022 / Mar Martí

ACN | New York City

September 19, 2022 09:07 PM

September 20, 2022 10:18 AM

Catalan president Pere Aragonès has confirmed that a public energy company will be launched at the beginning of October with the aim of reducing the administration's electricity bill. 

This will be achieved by purchasing energy in aggregate form and promoting renewables. 

"It will have a significant saving impact on the energy bill of the Catalan government," he said in a media briefing on Monday at Climate Week New York City.

The new public company will promote the installation of solar panels in all public buildings as well as investment in green energy projects such as wind farms.

Indeed, at the beginning, this company's main client will be the Catalan administration itself. Yet, although residents will not be able to use it directly, the plan is to serve future local energy communities of residents who will be able to combine their demands. These communities, said Aragonès, will "have the capacity of producing solar energy."

The public energy company will have a significant saving impact on the energy bill of the Catalan government

Pere Aragonès

Catalan president

Aragonès said that the initiative is "good for the public" and represents an "important part" of his policies to fight climate change. 

By purchasing energy in aggregate form, i.e. purchasing in higher volume, and promoting renewables, the government hopes to reduce electricity bills. Aragonès explained that in the last year the Catalan public administration has increased its consumption by 9% and, on top of that, its cost has doubled.

Catalan president Pere Aragonès is planning significant changes to the consumption of energy in the territory, including launching a public energy company and installing solar panels on government buildings / ACN

In 2019, €70 million was spent on energy, a figure that this year will be much higher due to the increase in the price of electricity following the soaring prices after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Aragonès backs MidCat pipeline

Pere Aragonès also believes that the unfinished MidCat gas pipeline connecting Africa with Europe can have a “prominent role” in promoting green hydrogen, generated with the surplus of renewables. 

Also at Climate Week NYC, Aragonès said he wants to boost cooperation with Germany regarding green energy in the continent.

The MidCat pipeline, which currently connects Algeria with the northern Catalan town of Hostalric but needs the approval of France and financing of either the EU or France to be extended any further, is one of the issues that Aragonès brought up at the working dinner of the leaders of the Under 2 Coalition, an alliance of regional governments that work to combat climate change. 

French president Emmanuel Macron dismissed the project "nonsense" earlier this month, but the plan is still supported by Spain and Catalonia. In a press conference on energy measures, the French leader said there is "no evidence" of a need to complete the half-finished infrastructure. 

Among the attendees was the secretary of state of the federal government of Germany and special envoy for Climate Action, Jennifer Morgan, according to a press release from the presidency.

At the reception in the Empire State Building, Aragonès backed "the role and possible leadership of Catalonia" in the alliance of regional governments for the climate, especially in "dialogue" with the European institutions.

Despite the fact that the Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon was not able to attend due to the death of Elizabeth II, the Catalan president agreed to work with the Scottish environment minister, Màiri McAllan. "Beyond the collaboration on climate policies, the Catalan and Scottish governments maintain an excellent relationship and regular meetings," the Catalan executive’s office points out.

Participation in network of government committed to net zero emissions

On Monday, Aragonès also took part in the general assembly of the Under 2 Coalition, a global network of states, regions, provinces and other subnational governments committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.

During his opening speech, he briefed the audience about the latest decree on renewable energy passed in October 2021. "We've introduced by law the obligation of offering a 20% share of a renewable power plant project to the citizenry of the area where it is implemented," he said.

The Catalan president, Pere Aragonès, says that Catalonia has a "more participative, decentralized, and democratic power system based on renewables" during the Under 2 Coalition General Assembly in New York City / ACN

"This enables us to have a more participative, decentralized, and democratic power system based on renewables."

Aragonès said "residents are at the center" of his cabinet's policies on climate.

Climate Week

The president of the Catalan government attended the opening ceremony of New York Climate Week on Monday, an event bringing various world leaders together for a week, such as the president of the African Union and Senegal, US senators, Australian ministers and special envoys from Germany, Brazil, and South Africa, among others. 

Representatives of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, and the World Meteorological Organization will also be present. 

Accompanied by the minister for climate action, Teresa Jordà, Pere Aragonès plans to present the Catalan government's main lines of action and future projects at the event. They are expected to announce several actions in the fields of climate and energy while in New York.