Description of the active role towards local sustainable energy in Europe

1979: Josep Puig i Boix was member of the Catalan Sun Day Committee when for the first time in Barcelona some renewable technologies were presented (solar water heaters, solar PV panels, small wind turbines) in a public square on 23rd June. At the 1979 Sun Day celebration it was made public an Alternative Energy Plan for Catalonia based on efficiency and renewables.

1979: he was founder of the Group of Scientists and Engineers for a Non-Nuclear Future, who has been organising in Barcelona (Catalonia). Since 1986, annually, the Catalan Conference for a Sustainable Energy Future Without Nuclear Power, where more than one hundred of leading scientists and engineers on energy have been giving contributions on how to reach a society based on sustainable and clean energy systems.

1981: he was co-founder (with other 7 young engineers) of Ecotècnia, a pioneering engineers cooperative that started designing and manufacturing wind turbines in the early eighties based in Barcelona. Ecotècnia became one of the 10 leading world wind manufacturers at the end of 20 century. The founders of Ecotècnia Coop. were awarded with the Poul la Cour Prize at the 2001 European Wind Energy Conference “as a symbol of the outstanding achievement of Europe’s wind energy industry and specifically for their unique initiative to set up a cooperative for manufacturing wind turbines”.

1992: Josep was the co-founder of Ecoserveis, a not-for-profit consulting association devoted to energy efficiency, renewable energy education and promotion and fighting against fuel poverty. Ecoserveis has developed dozens of EU funded energy projects.

1993: as energy professor at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, he published research work on Energy and Socioeconomic Indicators in the European Community.

1995: was elected councillor at Barcelona City Council, serving the city (1995-1999) as Sustainable City Councillor. He leaded the process of Barcelona to sign the Aalborg Charter for Sustainable Cities and to develop the Local Agenda 21. Also, he was leading the adoption of the Barcelona Solar Ordinance that became Law under the Spanish Building Technical Code.

In 1998, Barcelona City Council built a 100 kWp PV plant on the roofs of the main city hall buildings, 1997-2000: he was president of Energy Cities, the network of cities to push for sustainable energy at local level.

2000: he was co-founder and president of the Spanish section of Eurosolar. He serves as vice-president of Eurosolar – The European Association for Renewable Energy that awards every year (since 1994) the most prominent renewable energy projects from Cities, municipalities, architects, communal and private companies, associations, organizations and cooperatives, journalists and, of course, citizens who actively support the energy transition to 100% renewables. But also, the Spanish section has been awarding the Spanish Solar Prizes since the year 2000.

2009-2018: he launched the first wind community project (2.35 MW) in southern Europe, that now is a reality, financed by more than 600 people.

2010: He participated in the founding meeting of the first green energy cooperative in Spain (Girona, Catalunya), Som Energia, and was elected Member of its Governing Council (May 2013 – May 2017), having served as vice president and president.

Creativity

Being a co-founder of an engineers’ coop (Ecotècnia SCCL) in Barcelona to develop wind technology in 1981, despite the absence of an existing market for turbines at that time. Being the co-founder of the Ecoserveis association to develop projects around renewable energies and energy efficiency, he was switching between pure research and hard marketing. Making possible the first solar installation of 100 kW FV (1998) on the roofs of two of the main buildings of the Barcelona city Hall. One of the buildings (the newest) was a 12-storey building, built during the Franco dictatorship in violation of all urban regulations. In addition, in winter, this building projected shadow over the other building (the new one). So, to make the solar installation feasible the Sustainable City Councillor proposed to the City Council to demolish 3 floors of the building, to avoid shading. It was done in the year 2000. Using local policies (ordinances) in Barcelona to make mandatory solar water heaters in new buildings in 1999.

This local initiative influenced Spanish Building Code. Developing the first wind community project of Southern Europe, despite the disastrous regulations of renewable energy sources that the socialist and popular governments set in motion in 2010, by suppressing the feed-in-tariff policy, which caused the wind market in Spain to be paralyzed in 2012 totally.

Impact

Ecotècnia Coop was founded in Barcelona by 8 people with the main goal to develop wind technology. At the time it was absorbed by Alstom to create Alstom Wind, it had more than 300 employees. Currently, after the purchase of the Alstom wind division by General Electric, it occupies more than 500 people in Barcelona, developing wind technology. In the nineties, Ecotècnia installed some wind turbines in Cuba, India and Japan.

Strategic vision

At the 1979 Sun Day celebration it was made public an Alternative Energy Plan for Catalonia was published based on efficiency and renewables, in which Josep Puig was one of the main contributors. In 1981, Josep Puig, together with other seven engineers founded a worker’s cooperative to develop wind technology and they were successful, playing a pioneering role in the nascent Spanish wind market.

In May 1982, Josep Puig published (together with Joaquim Corominas) an article titled “L’autonomia energètica de Catalunya: Una opció possible” (Catalonia’s energy autonomy: a possible option), showing that renewable energy and efficiency could play an important role in the Catalonia’s future (ciència, num. 16, Vol. 2, Maig 1982)

In the Winter of 1985, Josep Puig was the main writer of an energy policy proposal for Catalonia based on renewables, efficiency and people’s involvement. Under the tittle “Cap a l’aprofitament integral de les fonts renovables d’energia” (Towards the full use of renewable energy sources) it was published in a Catalan green magazine (L’Alternatiu, num. 2, hivern 1985). Josep Puig’s leading role in the local government of Catalonia made possible the adoption of the Barcelona Solar Ordinance in 1997, that became Law under the Spanish Building Technical Code. Now in Spain it is mandatory, in the building sector, to have solar thermal heaters.

In 2007, Josep Puig was one of the authors of the German-Catalan team developing the proposal Solar Catalonia: the path towards a 100% renewable electric system in Catalonia. In 2009, under the title Solar Catalonia II, the 2007 proposal was expanded with a simulation of Catalan electric system based on the analysis of the hourly meteorological data and electricity loads profiles for 2007.

Leadership

He was one of the founders of the Ecotècnia S.C.C.L. a leading wind technology coop, that a small group of 8 young engineers created in Barcelona in 1981. He was cofounder of Ecoserveis, in 1992, a consulting association for dealing with energy education, training and promotion of energy efficiency and renewables. He played a leading role in Barcelona City Council when he served as Sustainable City Councillor (1995-1999), when the city of Barcelona adopted the Solar ordinance. Recently, he has leaded the first community wind project erected in the Southern Europe, involving more than 600 people. The project is in operation since March 2018.