This weekend the Spanish government approved a new national energy plan designed to promote the use of renewable energy sources in Spain and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. The Vice-President announced the 23-billion euro plan on Friday and said the the government’s objective was for 12.1 percent of Spain’s overall energy needs and 30.3 percent of total electricity consumption to be met by renewable energy sources by 2010.
Fernandez de la Vega said the government’s focus on renewable “clean” energy sources would reduce Spain’s dependence on oil imports and would be one step further to fulfilling the Kyoto Protocol on reduction of greenhouse gases and towards the phasing out of the use of nuclear energy in Spain. The plan puts the emphasis on renewable energy sources such as wind (raising the 13,000 MW target for the capacity of wind-powered electricity plants set by the previous government,to 20,155 MW), solar energy, biofuels and hydroelectricity.
The government has called on the energy industry to finance 77 percent of the overall cost of the renewable energy plan, and other private sector industries (banking, construction and technology) to contribute 20 percent. The rest of the investment will come from public money. Tax incentives will be offered for the use of ecologically sound fuel and for the installation of plants generation electricity with renewable energy sources.
Representatives from Greenpeace and Ecologistas en Acción acknowledged this weekend the “important advances” of the new renewable energy plan with respect to the plan implemented by the previous Spanish government, but they said it was still insufficient. The Energy spokeswoman for Greenpeace in Spain said that her organisation was lobbying for an increase in the electricity targets set for wind power farms and solar energy.
Greenpeace would also like the Spanish government to join other governments in the promotion of offshore electricity-generating wind farms, which for some reason are still not included in the new plan.