28/03/2021

Catalonia needs to take a leap forward in renewable energies

2 min
The Rubió wind farm extends over Rubió, Castellfollit del Boix and Òdena.

Catalonia has historically been a pioneer in many areas, for example with industrialization, but it must be recognized that in renewable energies it has lagged behind other territories of the State, and even more so with respect to the countries of central and northern Europe. The figures are particularly striking. On average, in Spain the installed electrical power corresponding to renewable energies is 54%, but only 30% in Catalonia. Electricity generation from renewables is 44% in Spain and 20% in Catalonia, less than half. In the case of solar energy, the installations in Catalonia represent 1% of the Spanish total, and in the case of wind energy, 4.9%. Before the approval of the decree on renewables in 2019 there was a decade of paralysis in Catalonia that the rest of the territories did take advantage of and that means that now they have a certain advantage over us. It is true that now projects have multiplied, and around the territory there is a proliferation of conservationist entities that reject the facilities because they consider that they spoil the landscape and, in addition, do not offer clear economic improvements for the local population.

The government pact between ERC and the CUP includes a moratorium on projects that could further aggravate Catalonia's delay in guaranteeing a clean energy supply, especially considering that the nuclear power plants of Ascó and Vandellòs, which now provide 54% of the electricity, would have to be shut down in the next decade. In between there is another debate that hovers over the question: Does Catalonia need to be self-sufficient in energy, or could simply import the electricity that could be produced in neighboring areas such as Aragon, where they plan to build large solar installations in the area of the Monegros desert?

In any case, rather than stopping all projects, it would be necessary to intensify the dialogue with the territory, with the affected municipalities, and refine each project as much as possible to ensure that it has a positive impact on the territory. Anything that is perceived as an imposition will end up being counterproductive because it can produce a mirror effect in other parts of the territory and spread opposition to the installation of solar panels and wind turbines. All this, however, has to be done quickly to ensure that Catalonia can meet the decarbonisation targets set by the European Union. Ultimately, the fight against the climate emergency will also mean that we will get used to seeing windmills and solar panels. Obviously, the less landscape impact they have, the better, and if they can go to areas already used by people, such as the roofs of large ships, roads or water channels, so much the better.

What is advancing at a great pace are the small solar installations for family self-supply, which since the abolition of the sun tax in 2019 are tripling every quarter. This good pace shows that citizens are more than aware and see the advantages of energy self-production. Now all that remains is for the administrations to support it in order to make the great leap forward that Catalonia needs.

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