Decree aims to stop oligopolies from managing new renewable energy plants

Environmentalists believe government's amendments are not ambitious enough

A wind farm in southern Catalonia (by Mar Rovira)
A wind farm in southern Catalonia (by Mar Rovira) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

October 21, 2021 08:58 PM

The Catalan government announced that it will pass a decree next week that aims to prevent oligopolies from managing new renewable energy plants in Catalonia.

"We do not want to repeat the extractivist oligopolistic practices of the last century," climate action minister Teresa Jordà said on Wednesday at the 'Compromís 2030, horitzó 2050' (2030 Commitment, 2050 horizon) conference in Barcelona.

Recognizing the need to promote green energy sources in Catalonia – in 2020, only 19.8% came from renewables, while 43.6% did in Spain as a whole – the minister emphasized the importance of local involvement in new power plants.

"We must leave behind proposals that do not take into consideration the knowledge of owners of terrains and local councils," she said.

The decree set to be approved next Tuesday will also prioritize self-supply and medium-voltage projects.

Not ambitious enough

Environmentalists in southern Catalonia, however, do not believe these measures are insufficient.

"It looks like they haven't changed anything. It's all a bit ridiculous," said Núria Viva, the spokesperson for the Network for a Fair Energy Transition in Terra Alta and Priorat counties.

According to the group, the announced amendments actually make it easier for companies to build the power plants proposals that had been put forth under the previous decree. The new decree, they complain, does not specify how local authorities and adversely affected parties will be accommodated.

Filling the Sink

Catalonia needs to transition from 20% to 50% renewable energy by 2030 to meet its climate change goals but plans for an offshore floating wind farm in the Gulf of Roses have been met with opposition from environmentalists and businesses reliant on tourism.

Press play below to listen to the Filling the Sink episode released on April 24.

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