One of Spain’s biggest tourist destinations is planning to overhaul its energy resources, with the aim of using 100% renewable energy by 2050, but protests from the central government in Madrid could stall the plan before it gets going.
The Balearic Islands, which include Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera, are planning a radical overhaul of their energy production, aiming to increase renewable energy from the current 2% to 100% by 2050. The measures were proposed in a draft bill on climate change and energy transition on February 15.
The islands currently depend on coal from the Es Murterar power plant for almost half of all their energy. The draft bill includes a plan to close the power station by 2025, which is proving an important sticking point with Spain’s central government in Madrid.
Spain’s energy ministry has rejected the proposal to close the plant by 2025, arguing that the transition would be far too costly, with estimates currently at around €200 million ($250 million). The Balearic regional government, however, has estimated costs at a maximum of €10 million ($12 million).
The islands’ regional energy minister was due to meet with EU climate commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete on February 20 to discuss the plans and garner support.
The measures have been praised by Greenpeace, which also criticised the Spanish central government of Mariano Rajoy for not doing enough to tackle climate change, and for attempting to stall the closure of the Es Murterar power station.
The measures “emphasise the urgency of acting against climate change and the need to establish a timetable to give up all fossil fuels and substitute them for renewable energy,” Greenpeace said in a statement.
While the plans have been welcomed by environmental campaigners, some locals are concerned about the possible visual impact of renewable energies such as wind turbines off the coasts of the picturesque islands.
Other initiatives in the draft bill include making sure all the cars on the islands are electric by 2025 and all rental cars electric by 2035. In addition, all new large buildings must have solar panels and there will be new rules for businesses to measure their carbon footprints.
Spain broke tourism records in 2017, welcoming over 82 million people, a nine percent increase on 2016. The Balearic Islands are the second most popular Spanish region after Catalonia, with 13.7 visitors in 2017.
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