The little champion of renewable energy
In a moment when the big news were that the European Union leaders agreed that a fifth of its energy by 2020 will come from renewable sources, a piece from BBC News on Friday talked about a place where right now, almost 70% of its energy comes from the wind and sun. (Watch a clip with the story by clicking here)
It is the region of Navarra, in Northeastern Spain, better known in the US for the “running of the bulls” in Pamplona, made famous by Hemingway.
Being poor in energy resources, it bet heavily on renewable energy in the eighties.
This strategy has worked well, as this industry has become one of the largest in the region and, in the process, it has created a lot of jobs (4,000 in the last decade).
Image courtesy of Acciona Energia
Some 1,100 windmills are dotted all around the many different landscapes of Navarra, which are astoundingly beautiful, by the way. (See pictures above and bottom left)
This drive from the regional government also helped them secure the headquarters of the Spanish Center for Renewable Energy (CENER, by its initials in Spanish). This technology center is immersed in ambitious plans, for example, building the most complete trial windmill laboratory in the world for the huge wind turbines of tomorrow. (This project has sparked the interest of the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory , that wants a similar one here).
But the focus in Navarra is not only in wind but progressively more on sun energy. One of the largest solar parks in the world (9,5 MW) is at a site near Pamplona.
Quoting Oana Lungescu (BBC News): “In a growing trend in Spain, the solar park is a co-operative, with 750 individual owners. The cost of a panel starts at 50,000 euros, but with a tax break from the regional government and a guaranteed annual income there is a long waiting list of willing buyers”.
Originally uploaded by valischkas