Cleanwatts has received the “Cities and Territories of the Future” Award, issued by APDC - Portuguese Association for the Development of Communications, in the "Circular Economy and Decarbonization" category. As APDC reports, this award aims to recognize pioneering projects, as well as transformative ideas and strategies to make cities more livable and economically sustainable. The “100 Aldeias” project is developed by Cleanwatts in collaboration with “About the Energy”, a company that obtained the IIES certification from Portugal Inovação Social, for the social impact profile of an energy poverty fighting project.
“100 Aldeias” is developing energy communities, integrating various members, such as local entities, companies, parish councils, social institutions, municipalities, and citizens, including economically vulnerable families, who can be part of an energy ecosystem. The members can access clean and cheaper energy. This project makes it possible to increase thermal comfort, reduce energy costs by about 30%, lower the ecological footprint and improve quality of life for people living in Portuguese villages.
As the jury stated, this is a “project of innovation and social entrepreneurship, focusing on Portugal’s low-density territories, with the purpose of fighting energy poverty in rural communities, through access to clean and renewable electricity, cheaper and locally produced, without the need for participant’s investment”. The organization highlights the fact that this initiative stimulates the citizens participation in the decarbonization process and so the energy transition can be fair, democratic, and decentralized.
“This award honors us very much”, states Maria João Benquerença, Cleanwatts Energy Communities Director, adding: “’100 Aldeias’ is a project in which we always believed, from the very beginning. We strongly trust this project to respond the main challenges of the energy transition - the need for decarbonization and the high energy costs - but also to kick-start the urgent energy revolution Portugal needs. Although we called it '100 aldeias’, today this name is just symbolic. The project has far exceeded our most ambitious expectations and we’ll reach the round number of 100 energy communities, in different development and approval stages, still in the first half of 2022. We estimate to reach 200 energy communities, installed by us in Portugal, by the end of the year, a number that we are very proud of”.