Som Energia is the first non-profit renewable energy cooperative in Spain, who are committed to promoting a change to the current energy model to ultimately achieve a 100% renewable model.
Ahead of the Global Power & Energy Exhibition (GPEX) taking place 17-20 September in Barcelona, GPEX News spoke with confirmed speaker, Co-founder and Member of Management Team at Som Energia, Gijsbert Huijink, to discover his expert views on the energy industry and how the organisation is working towards a low-carbon future.
GPEX News: Som Energia is the first 100% renewable energy cooperative in Spain, could you explain to us how you are different from a traditional energy retailer?
Gijsbert Huijink: We are a non-profit cooperative with a 100% focus on renewables. Our aim is to cover the full consumption of our members via new solar and wind production projects owned by the cooperative and its members. Ultimately, we’re not in it for the money, we are in it to change the system.
GPEX News: Som Energia has recently been encouraging photovoltaic self-consumption in La Palma. How do you think this kind of evolution will change the energy industry?
Gijsbert Huijink: The energy transition is an enormous challenge for all of us. We will need to find ways to get long-term citizen commitment and involvement. Self-consumption projects are the most direct and easiest way for people to be directly involved. It will also help in realizing that with self-consumption alone we will not get to 100% renewable energy, we also need bigger wind and solar projects and storage. We're very happy with the initiative of our local group in La Palma making self-consumption easier and cheaper, and hope that hundreds of families will participate.
GPEX News: What would you say are the key challenges to the transition to a low carbon energy system?
Gijsbert Huijink: The main challenge in Spain is the fact that we already have overcapacity in electricity production. We need to close old installations in order to create room for new, and this creates resistance. Combining this with an economic crisis and with a government without a long-term plan, you get the inertia we have seen over the last years in Spain.
GPEX News: Where do you see your business in the next 5-10 years?
Gijsbert Huijink: We will have hundreds of thousands of members organized via numerous renewable energy cooperatives around Spain. We will also produce a large majority of our electricity needs ourselves via new solar and wind projects which will operate fully in the ‘free market’, so without any government guarantees.
GPEX News: You will be speaking at the GPEX 2018 Summit this September, what do you expect the outcomes of the event to be?
Gijsbert Huijink: We would like to see a Spanish government representative present announcing fair rules for self-consumption in Spain; for example, no solar tax for any self-consumption project and administrative facilitation instead of barriers.
Co-Founder & Member of Management Team
The Global Power and Energy Exhibition, taking place in Barcelona on 17-20 September, will showcase the strategies and technologies needed to adapt to the global energy transition. Do not miss out and register now to join the global power and energy leaders.