Vitoria Gasteiz

Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain


Vitoria-Gasteiz is interested in exploring multiple impacts/multiple benefits of energy efficiency and co-developing the MICATool because it wants to better understand and monitor the socio-economic and environmental impact of the city’s actions and policies on energy efficiency.

Vitoria-Gasteiz is the capital and the second largest city in terms of population in the Basque Country, Spain, and has some 254,000 inhabitants. The city has ambitious climate goals and strives to achieve them by becoming greener and more energy-efficient, as well as promoting renewable energy, sustainable mobility and smart solutions. The City Council develops specific sustain-ability policies and programs, and actively collaborates with Government departments, provinces, territories and international partners in the fight against climate change. For decades, the municipality successfully implemented various environmental projects, including the popular Green Belt, which aimed to provide a comprehensive solution to the peripheral spaces in order to promote the conservation of the natural values and biodiversity, to take advantage of the potential of local natural spaces as an educational and interpretative resource, to create a large green area for recreational use around the city and to involve citizens and conservation of the natural heritage of Vitoria-Gasteiz, promoting the identity of this space.

Vitoria-Gasteiz was the European Green Capital in 2012 and the recipient of the Global Green City Award in 2019.

Vitoria-Gasteiz signed the Aalborg Charter in 1994. Four years later, it was the first Spanish municipality to approve the Local Agenda 21, which marked a milestone in the development of sustainability policies and measures in the city. This structural plan for the municipality introduced sustainability criteria and indicators for all areas of municipal management. It also integrated environmental, economic and social policies that aimed to improve the quality of life in several areas, like health, environment, urban planning, services, mobility, etc. Vitoria-Gasteiz is also a signatory of the Aalborg Commitments (2004), the Basque Declaration (2018) and the Mannheim Message (2020).

In 2008, Vitoria-Gasteiz joined the Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, a network of local governments voluntarily committed to achieving and exceeding the EU climate and energy targets, and became a member of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability in 2010.

In 2010, the municipality submitted its first Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) for 2010-2020 “Plan Against Climate Change 2010-2020”. They are currently developing their Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP) outlining the updated objectives and strategies to reach climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest.

Vitoria-Gasteiz’s Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) for 2010-2020 “Plan Against Climate Change 2010-2020” committed to reduce city emissions by 25,7% and GHG emissions of municipal services and equipment at least by 56,1% by 2020 compared to 2006. The strategy outlined the main action areas in the municipality until 2020, which included renovating and retrofitting old buildings, improving energy efficiency, installing renewable energy systems, promoting the use of hybrid and electric vehicles, renovating public lighting, installing LED technology, using biomass, heat pumps, micro-cogeneration systems, and district heating networks, amongst others.

In 2020, Vitoria-Gasteiz ratified a commitment to the Covenant of Mayors to increase its emissions reduction at least by 40% by 2030 through energy savings and efficiency improvements, using renewable energy sources, and increasing resilience by adapting to the impacts of climate change. The municipality is currently exploring an even more ambitious goal of reducing GHG emissions by 60% by 2030, in line with the European Commission’s Green Deal ambition to dramatically reduce emissions by 2030 and achieve climate neutrality by 2050. Vitoria-Gasteiz wants to set more ambitious climate targets for the next decade. These commitments will be included in the city’s in-progress Sustainable Energy and Action Plan (SECAP), which will outline the updated objectives and strategies for the city to reach climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest.

The energy model of Vitoria-Gasteiz to achieve its objectives in 2030 is based on the following pillars:

  • Comprehensive refurbishment of the built space in the residential sector, focusing on the refurbishment of the envelope, and changes in the heating and Domestic Hot Water (DHW) systems, prioritising the installation of high-efficiency heat pumps (aerothermal or geothermal).
  • Reduction of energy consumption / improvement of energy efficiency in the service sector through the installation of high efficiency equipment and lighting.
  • Materialisation of the reorganisation of public space in superblocks to favour energy efficiency in mobility and promotion of active mobility that minimises energy consumption in urban travel. Deployment of sufficient infrastructure for charging electric vehicles in public spaces.
  • Energy efficiency in the provision of municipal services (LED lighting, installation of heat pumps, electrification of public transport and the municipal fleet, etc.).
  • Total elimination of petroleum derivatives in the residential and service sectors, and in municipal building.
  • Electrification of energy demand in the residential and tertiary building sectors, including municipal services, public transport and private mobility.
  • Implementation of solar photovoltaic energy oriented to self-consumption in private buildings (residential and services) and in public buildings and municipal infrastructure.
  • Expansion of district heating systems with renewable energies.
  • Support for the creation of local energy communities, facilitating citizen empowerment and action against energy poverty.
  • Incorporation of efficiency and renewable energy criteria in administrative procurement.

Key sectorial actions

Residential sector:

  • Integral refurbishment of 20,000 dwellings.
  • Replacement of thermal systems in 50,000 dwellings (HP).
  • Installation of 20 MW of solar photovoltaic.

Tertiary sector:

  • Installation of high efficiency equipment (heat pumps).
  • Improvement of indoor lighting efficiency.
  • 65 MW installed photovoltaic power.

Internal mobility:

  • Reduction of motorised mobility by 33%, through superblocks and the promotion of active mobility.
  • Progressive electrification of the vehicle fleet (16.5% in 2030).
  • 100% electrification of public transport.

Municipal facilities and services:

  • Refurbishment of 200,000 m2 of municipal buildings.
  • Reduction and electrification of at least 25% of the municipal fleet.
  • 100% LED public lighting.
  • 33 MW installed photovoltaic power.
  • Creation of Energy Communities.

Vitoria-Gasteiz is interested in exploring multiple impacts/multiple benefits of energy efficiency and co-developing the MICATool because it wants to better understand and monitor the socio-economic and environmental impact of the city’s actions and policies on energy efficiency by identifying causal chains. This would help the municipality to make better informed decisions and carry out more efficient and accurate programs in the future improving the quality life of citizens. In addition, it would support the municipality to build bridges and boost cooperation between different city departments, as well as help engage other actors within the private-public sector.