AVAESEN

Spain: Valencia
Bianca Dragomir

Overview

Profile:
68% completed

About us

MAIN OBJECTIVES

  • Promote networking between partners

  • Foster profitable business exchanges and R&D cooperation

  • Find the best opportunities for business partners in an increasingly globalized market

  • Promote the rational use of energy

  • Increase energy security and fight against climate change 

  • Promote the green entrepreneurship and grow the cleantech sector 
Formalised strategy
Strategy focus on internationalisation

Cluster composition

  • 129
    Cluster Members
  • 110
    SME's
  • 3
    Large Companies
  • 1
    Research Organisations, Universities, Technology Centers
  • 15
    Other Ecosystem Actors

Achievements

Cluster Manager of the Year 2016-2018. 

http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/newsroom/cf/itemdetail.cfm?i…

http://www.economia3.com/2016/12/05/92043-bianca-dragomir-de-avaesen-pr…

http://www.valenciaplaza.com/la-directora-de-avaesen-gana-el-premio-al-…

http://valenciaplaza.com/la-directora-de-avaesen-nominada-a-mejor-clust…

http://diario.eleconomista.es/i/767748-eleconomista-comunitat-valencian…

Energy in Water Project awarded best ESCP-4i project in 2016

http://www.dutchwatersector.com/news-events/news/22590-energy-in-water-…

The gift of imperfection or How AVAESEN reinvented the cluster concept

The financial crisis has left its mark in Spain. Due to budget constraints of the Valencian Region, regional public funding of cluster organizations terminated in 2012. As a result, many of clusters have drastically reduced its staff or clusters dissolved completely. In addition, the Spanish Government slashed subsidies for renewable energy projects, even to energy parks (wind and solar) which were already installed with “guaranteed” government support for 10-20 years. Consequently, international investors and pension funds promised to ban the renewable energy in Spain altogether.  In addition, many Spanish renewable energy SMEs went bankrupt, in the Valencian region the number of SMEs dropped from 235 to less than 100. Obviously, all of this also had a negative impact on the functioning and sustainability of the Valencian Region Renewable Energy Cluster (AVAESEN).  This had two consequences: cluster transformation and market adaptation.

Faced with these challenges, AVAESEN saw a need to radically reinvent itself. In 2013 it transformed from a conventional public-private cluster organisation to a self-funded service-provider, raising the membership fee and widening offered services. The Cluster Manager agreed on a Tailored Action Plan with each participating SME. The additional services were offered on a no ‘cure-no pay basis’. Meeting these objectives guaranteed not only the dedication but also the effectiveness in supporting the competitiveness of cluster members. Participating SMEs would pay an increased fee upfront, in the knowledge that a refund was guaranteed in case objectives were not met. To my knowledge, AVAESEN is the only European cluster that took this strong commitment with its SME members and managed to pull it off successfully. 

Given that the Spanish renewable energy sector was gridlocked, SMEs were forced to diversify their offer in the Spanish market (e.g. energy efficiency, smart cities, circular economy) and internationally expand their core activities in renewable energy friendly markets. Through the Tailored Action Plans, AVAESEN supported its members in this shift, acting on their most urgent ‘pain’ (new clients, financing, visibility, internationalisation and partnerships). As a result, today 80% of AVAESEN’s members are active internationally, whereas before only 20% was active in foreign markets. In addition, 12% of AVAESEN members participate yearly in EU-funded programs with our support and more than 70% acknowledges AVAESEN as a business generator. So far, no member has asked the refund of the fee. With this action, we managed not only to keep both a sector and a cluster afloat in dire moments, but increase the members and add significant value to our SME members.

Obviously, the elephant in the room is the domestic renewable energy market. Offering innovative products abroad is a huge challenge, even more so without access to a home market and showcases. This home market is still not liberalised despite the EU Energy Package. Spanish conventional electricity monopolists defend their turf with tooth and nail against access by new renewable energy installations and, as a result, national government imposed a “tax on the sun”, which punishes self-consumption by households. This explains why new installations of solar-PV are not common in Spain, despite having the highest electricity price in Europe, huge drops in PV-installation prices, most hours of sunshine per year and no longer requiring subsidies for a profitable investment in renewable energy. Not only is this policy blocking the energy transition and low carbon future, it also locks people into energy poverty (38,5% of the Valencian citizens are in energy poverty in 2016).

Self-consumption would be the way out of this stagnant situation. It would provide market access for SMEs and create a more sustainable and fair society. AVAESEN has taken up this challenge and is now at the forefront of this legislative battle in Spain, which is key to the competitiveness of our SMEs.

In the past months, AVAESEN, a regional cluster, has been in the limelight of the national media, leading the self-consumption agenda in Spain, such as can be read in El Mundo, El Diario, Energías Renovables, El Levante, Economía., etc.

A first success of this lobby by AVAESEN is a partial compensation of the “tax on the sun” by subsidy to SMEs and household owners from the Region of Valencia (El Levante, Sept. 2016).

In addition, by working together with the Regional Government, AVAESEN has liberated 15 huge “frozen” wind parks in the Region of Valencia, allocated more than 5 years ago trough tenders to a small group of large multinationals but never actually built, blocking investments of more than 1 billion EUR. This wind capacity will be now allocated to many small wind parks, which act as self-consumption hubs for small communities and predominantly built by SMEs. (El Mundo, July 2016).

With the competitiveness of renewable energy SMEs back on track in the clean energy sector, and with a refreshed cluster concept we can now branch out and connect to other sectorial and cross-sectorial opportunities.

Other success stories are:

  • Expanding the EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator in 12 EU countries (strategy, curriculum development, partnerships and network creation)
  • Growing more than 70 start-ups directly (in Spain) and 275 indirectly (mainly in the in the South and East of Europe). The startups grown are in the market, having raised more than 10 M EUR and created 160 jobs so far.
  • Supporting the internationalisation of more than 100 small and medium-sized corporates
  • Implementing successfully >5 M EUR public funding across EU countries.

Management team

BIANCA Dragomir
Cluster Manager

Sectorial and industrial focus

Sectoral Industries
Technology fields
S3 EU priority areas
Cross-sectoral industries
Environmental Industries

Services

Support services provided

Other (please specify)

Further information

  • Network with the most innovative companies of the energy, water and waste treatment sector in more than 30 events every year
  • Access to our business point and learn about EU calls, projects, missions and much more
  • Explore new business opportunities through our Personalised Action Plan
  • Gain free access to the Smart Cities Think Tank
  • Find private and public financing for 'green economy' projects
  • Access to our cleantech investors network
  • Access to our International Missions
  • Increase visibility of your SME through our online marketing tools, press releases and events.

Support programmes

EU Programmes

European Programmes
H2020 CIP/COSME EIT KICs

Name & description

FEDER from 2007 to 2011: Valencian Region Competitiveness Plans 

Project name

Climate-KIC www.climate-kic.org 

ClimateLaunchpad www.climatelaunchpad.eu 

ESCP Energy in Water http://www.energyinwater.eu/partners/

ECOTOUR http://www.ecotourproject.com

TWINN - INNOSUP

Teach-for-future 

ENCI (Energising Cities)

Cooperation activities

International cooperation

Targeted countries

Brazil
Chile
India
Japan
Morocco

Transnational cooperation

Targeted countries

Germany
Italy

Transnational support activites

Participation at missions/events/study visits/fairs

International support activites

Participation at missions/events/study visits/fairs

Upcoming events

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Latest news and documents

News Published: 10.04.2018
AVAESEN launches the World's Largest Green Business Idea Competition in Spain