Spain is a country geographically divided into different regions known as comunidades autónomas, each of them with their own parliaments and governments. The regions also have agencies promoting the efficient use of energy and renewable energies. Some of these state agencies have had a very significant role in renewable energy development. Furthermore, many different town and county councils have established their own energy agencies aiming to locally promote renewable sources of energy.
With regional unemployment figures that can reach as high as 10—20 per cent, a central issue for states has been job creation. Many have chosen to link state renewable project development approval with investment that ensures money flows into the local economy.
Furthermore, the states have undertaken aggressive targets to push activity along. For example, Galicia, which has an Atlantic coastline, has had a 2300MW wind target since 1997 — equivalent to 45 per cent of the state's power demand. This has been tied to the aim of ensuring that 70 per cent of the investment is spent inside state borders. It has resulted in over 5000 direct and indirect jobs and numerous factories.
Another central role for the states has been to engage on environmental issues. The state of Navarra included environmental issues as part of the key parameters in site identification at the outset of planning. This prevented some of the conflicts that subsequently held back development in other states.
The role of municipalities has also become significant in issues such as solar thermal promotion. One success story is an initiative by the Barcelona council called the 'solar ordinance'. This by-law requires all newly-built and refurbished buildings in the city to be equipped with solar thermal collectors capable of supplying at least 60 per cent of their hot water demand. After one year of effective
implementation of the solar by-law, the area of solar thermal collectors in Barcelona quadrupled. Several cities including Madrid, Seville, Granada and Pamplona have replicated the initiative. Now 20 per cent of the Spanish population lives in municipalities that require solar thermal for hot water in new buildings, and this approach is being considered by some states. However, it is still too early to measure the market impact of these initiatives.
Was this article helpful?