22/10/2021

Renewable energy is a must

2 min
Rubió wind farm in Castellfollit del Boix

Currently 19% of the energy that Catalonia consumes is of renewable origin. The European Union (EU) obliges member states, and the government of Catalonia has committed itself to comply with it, to ensure that by 2030 this percentage is at least 50%. Therefore, in just nine years the country has to increase renewable energy by 150%. We are, then, in a desperate race against time that calls for courageous - in some aspects unpopular - and in any case quick and effective decisions. The defence of the territory, often marked by the naturalist spirit (landscaping, environmentalism, cultural heritage), clashes at this time, paradoxically, with the global environmentalist priority of the fight against climate change. It is imperative to put an end to fossil fuels and, therefore, to give a big boost to clean or green energies. Fortunately, now - the cultural change in this field has accelerated a lot in recent years - there is a great citizen consensus in favour of it. The contradiction for many lies in how to reconcile the environmental esteem for their immediate surroundings with the defence of an essential energy change that is also environmental in nature. In fact, it is the general contradiction the country faces, not to say the entire planet. But this cannot paralyse us, it cannot prevent us from moving forward. A serious, informed and honest debate is necessary.

In this sense, the modifications envisaged in the renewable energy decree that the government of the Generalitat is preparing attempt to reconcile this contradiction. On the one hand, it seeks to give a boost to renewables and therefore rules out a moratorium on projects, which has satisfied the business sector. On the other hand, it is a matter of giving a voice and scope for intervention to local opposition groups in the territory, who still do not feel that they have been sufficiently addressed. The promoters of the installation projects believe that the decree could lead to a lethal delay, while the activists and some of the mayors fear that they will not be able to stop anything. In the face of these conflicting pressures, it will therefore take more courage to speak out, to set priorities, to educate: the planet will not be saved without sacrifices.

Undoubtedly, in many cases local fears are understandable, especially when they come from areas, such as the southern regions, which historically have been the backyard, that is, they have hosted large infrastructures (such as nuclear power plants) that other areas did not want. Dialogue with the territorial agents is necessary, of course, but it should be done from the shared general starting point of accepting that there is a hurry, that we have to move forward without further delay. The general interest should not be called into question. In fact, it is this general interest that will prevail in the end, because at the end of the day the State, which has the last word, will make it prevail in order to move forward with the projects. So if the Catalan decree only serves to delay the growth of supply in renewables, and therefore consumption, we will be fooling ourselves. Progress in renewables is not an option, it is an urgency, it is an obligation that has to be made compatible with the maximum respect for the territory, but that no one should question or put at risk.

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