Community Network in Catalonia Pushes for ‘Regional Energy Sovereignty’
A regional energy sovereignty network has taken hold in the Catalonia region in northeastern Spain, where Xarxa per la sobirania energètica (Xse) is helping to drive a “resistance to Spain’s dominant energy model” that has been building for years.
“Xse emerged when different organizations and individuals identified energy-related problems affecting local populations, including fracking, the managing of hydroelectric dams by private corporations and extremely high voltage power lines, and the building of a pipeline through Catalonia to transport gas from Algeria to Europe,” Resilience.org reports, in a post originally published by the P2P Foundation. “It also wanted to challenge government obstruction of renewable energies, and collusion with companies that creates some of the highest electricity prices in Europe.”
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The opposition coalesced in a region-wide day of action in June 2013, and Xse formed shortly afterwards to “create an energy future based on democracy and social control of energy production, sustainability, and decentralization.” The group has already built links to similar initiatives in other parts of Spain and Europe, and in Latin America.
Much of Xse’s work focuses on “re-municipalizing” the electricity grid, based on recent experience in Hamburg and Berlin. But it also joined with the wider climate justice movement to support a Catalonian climate change law, adopted in September but subsequently suspended by the Spanish Constitutional Court, that “includes a ban on fracking in Catalonia, the dismantling of nuclear power plants, and a proposal to create a fossil-fuel-free Mediterranean.”
“It is truly impressive the wide range of organizations that are engaged in the network and how much they have managed to accomplish in a very short period of time (less than five years!), including passing several municipal and provincial laws and regulations,” said Lorena Zarate, former president of Argentina’s Habitat International Coalition.