Spain’s Balearic Islands are forging ahead with a plan to transition to 100% renewable energy on the four islands of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera, lamenting a lack of action from the central government in Madrid.
The regional government proposed a climate change law aimed at boosting renewable energy, creating a sustainable tourist destination and supporting local employment.
“With this law we want to make what’s often our biggest challenge – our nature as islands – into an opportunity,” said Joan Groizard, energy director in the regional government. “Moving to 100% clean energy and mobility should be easier here than on the continent, so it’s our responsibility to get working on that head start.”
Today, the islands get almost half of their power needs from coal. The Balearic Government’s energy transition plan hinges on closing the coal-fired power station in Alcúdia, Mallorca, owned by Endesa, a part of Italian utility Enel, by 2025. Meanwhile, expansion of wind and solar power so far has been held up by local objections to the visual impact.
Under the law, the regional government intends to boost renewables to 10% by 2020, 35% by 2030 and 100% by 2050. It will also: be required to create regular five-year plans describing how these goals will be met; introduce binding emissions targets for businesses; and work towards attaining a 2% electric vehicle hire fleet by 2020 rising to 100% by 2035.
At 2%, or around 80 MW, solar PV currently represents the majority of renewable energy installed in the Balearics. The government aims to make it compulsory large car parks to install solar PV by 2025 new large builds – hospitals and supermarkets, for example – to incorporate PV after 2020.
Groizard Payeras adds that there is currently around 230MW of solar PV in the development pipeline, which would be enough to take solar’s share to 10% by 2020. Wind is seen as a possibility on Menorca.
The plan puts the region on a potential collision course with the central government because higher energy costs on the islands are currently subsidised through the power bills of all Spanish consumers. Energy policy “requires consensus between the different Spanish administrations,” commented a ministry spokesperson. The Balearics government says that if its climate plan is blocked, it will refuse to upgrade the Alcúdia plant in time to meet a 2020 deadline for new EU emissions limits.