Promoted by Iberdrola España, open innovation that connects and contributes to the sustainable development of just transition zones
- The Innovation Platform of Lada and Velilla, driven by Iberdrola, the Center for Innovation in Technologies for Human Development of the Polytechnic University of Madrid (itdUPM) and the Agirre Lehendakaria Center (ALC) of the University of the Basque Country, has shared this morning the achievements and learnings that have been built during its almost three years of trajectory.
- Through a working methodology based on community listening and co-creation, it has co-designed with local actors a set of interconnected projects and initiatives, which represent an articulated image of the future possibilities of sustainable development of the territories, based on the capacities and resources of each region.
- In Lada, projects have been proposed in areas such as energy, circular economy, or green employment, and in Velilla, food linked to culture and tourism or industry linked to energy have been identified as areas of opportunity.
The Innovation Platform of Lada and Velilla, promoted by Iberdrola España, has shared this morning in a meeting attended by experts, institutions and companies, as well as citizens of both territories the achievements and lessons learned that have been built during its nearly three years of experience, positioning the experience of this initiative as a benchmark in the field of energy transition.
Óscar Fortis, Director of Global Services and Energy Transition at Iberdrola; Carlos Mataix, Director of the Center for Innovation in Technology for Human Development at the Polytechnic University of Madrid (itdUPM); Gorka Espiau, director of the Agirre Lehendakaria Center (ALC), and Mónica Oviedo, head of Sustainable Development and Agenda 2030 at Iberdrola, have been in charge of presenting this process of collective reflection that has emerged as the first alliance in Spain to collaboratively and openly address the process of transformation and socioeconomic regeneration of just transition territories.
Through a working methodology based on community listening and co-creation, the Platform crowns a process initiated in 2020 and that constitutes a milestone, reaching to co-design with local actors a set of interconnected projects and initiatives, which represents an articulated image of the future possibilities of sustainable development of the territories, based on the capabilities and resources of each county.
"The Lada and Velilla Innovation Platform has created the conditions to generate opportunities to transform the regions and the energy transition is key," said Fortis.
For his part Mataix, wanted to emphasize that "the Innovation Platform has managed to introduce the social dimension in the processes of territorial transformation, reflecting that it is a complex process in which everyone has something to contribute".
Thanks to the listening process, the Platform has put at the service of the two territories a diagnosis on the narratives present in the areas, using a series of ethnographic profiles and collective interpretation sessions that have allowed citizens to reflect on the future of the counties.
"It has been a challenge that has required reviewing values, loyalties, losses... to see what is underneath the iceberg. We are not leaving, we will continue working for the regions with blind trust in the people", Oviedo emphasized.
Espiau also stressed "the importance of the opinion and perception of the people -local agents- who have implemented this process in the search for points of connection and evaluation of the strengths of the territories".
From this co-creation process, the Platform has woven alliances and has proposed projects in Lada in areas such as energy, circular economy or green employment, and in Velilla, food linked to culture and tourism or industry linked to energy have been identified as areas of opportunity.
Interconnected projects and initiatives
In the case of Lada, it is already a reality that Langreo will host the largest photovoltaic panel plant in Spain, promoted by the Asturian business group Exiom and Iberdrola, contributing to the economic reactivation of the area with a generation of 115 direct jobs; a chair for research with the University of Oviedo; the launch of the "sustainable industrial challenge in the area, energy partner and land" to identify new business projects in the region of Langreo, Valle de Nalón related to the energy sector and sustainability by SODECO and Iberdrola España, through PERSEO, its international start-up program; a training initiative in green jobs with Valnalón's FP as well as an industrial laundry on the land of the former thermal power plant.
On the other hand, in Velilla del Río Carrión we are working on a set of initiatives adapted to local peculiarities: the connection of a training and beekeeping initiative at Iberdrola Spain's photovoltaic plantExternal link, opens in new window. in Villalba de Guardo; a specific training project pioneer in Spain for unemployed people in the westernmost slope of the Montaña Palentina while supporting the local economy of the territories where it is historically present and support for research in the reuse of textile materials together with a local company and the Biomaterials Laboratory of the UPM.
Dialogue and collaboration with local and social stakeholders
The Platform is driven by Iberdrola España, the Center for Innovation in Technologies for Human Development of the Polytechnic University of Madrid (itdUPM) and the Agirre Lehendakaria Center (ALC) of the University of the Basque Country, but also integrates other relevant actors in the territories where it operates - public entities, citizens, companies.
It was created in September 2020, one month after Iberdrola received authorization from the Ministry of Ecological Transition to close the Lada and Velilla coal-fired power plants, the last two coal-fired power plants in the world that the group had in operation.
Over the years, the Platform's teams have engaged in dialogue and collaboration with numerous local public, private and social actors in both locations. In Velilla, a collaboration agreement was signed with the Platform of Managers and Entrepreneurs of Palencia with the common objective of identifying interests and opportunities for collaboration between citizens, public entities, Palencia and regional companies to promote the sustainable development of the just transition zone of Velilla del Río Carrión and Guardo.
In Asturias, work has been carried out with the business group Cluster Ecco: innovation and circular economy, and with the association Innovasturias. Permanent contact has also been maintained with the Green Entrepreneurship and Employment Platform, connecting specific training and employment initiatives.