Solar Industria: A Proposed New Energy Policy for Spain

In the light of new findings published in a recent report by the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it is time for the Spanish government to take a stronger stance on climate change by implementing hard-line policies that mitigate the effects of climate change and empower and inspire future generations of Spanish environmentalists. Currently, the reductions called for are based on a maximum 2-degree temperature rise by the year 2030, but in actuality, the figure is closer to 1.5 degrees, a rise that is being rapidly approached. Spain is an incredibly ecologically delicate country and will be irreparably affected by global warming if the global society passes the environmental tipping point, which has been recently recognized as a more serious, pressing threat than previously thought to be.

Past policies drafted and undertaken by the Spanish government have been contradictory and confusing for Spanish citizens. Most notably, the solar initiatives of the early 21st century were a golden moment at the forefront of a new century of Spanish environmental leadership, but the subsequent withdrawal of political and financial support for the initiatives and inability to support their longevity left a bad taste in the mouths of many Spaniards. Furthermore, the language surrounding climate change related policies have lacked force, and have taken more voluntary than obligatory forms, resulting in a general shirking of responsibility from the content of the Paris accords. Spain arguably has the strongest climactic potential to produce carbon-neutral energy by way of solar in all of the EU.

With that being said, Spain is in a perfect position to resume leadership of the solar sector, reducing its carbon footprint and paving the way for a sunny future on a global scale. 2017 saw a doubling of installation of solar potential in the nation, from 55 MW installed in 2016 to 135 MW in 2017. There also exist long-standing countrywide policies that mandate that all new residential constructions undertaken after 2007 install solar-powered water heating, and while this is a good start, it can be improved upon by requiring solar retrofitting of existing facilities as well.

In order to decarbonize the energy production for the industrial sector, we ask that the Spanish government put in action a new “Solar Industria” policy. This policy would mandate solar reliance for the energy of all large-scale industry by the year 2025, with monetary incentives in the form of ability to sell excess power back to the national grid and to generate carbon credits for the company. Being five years before the first reduction benchmark of 2030, it will allow for investigation and subsequent improvement of the policy in the five years leading up to the reckoning time. The potential is there, and all that is needed now is a legislative push from the government to ensure a solar-powered future for Spanish industries and to take a leadership role in green energy.

Activity Rating: *** Right Direction: this policy is feasible and could be undertaken under the auspices of the Spanish Climate Adaptation Plan that should be released publicly by the end of 2018

The result would be a general abatement of GHG emitting energy sources, as well as carbon sequestration, an increase in Spanish carbon credits, and a heightened commitment to green industry in the Spanish nation, as well as Spain’s re-emergence as a solar trendsetter for the rest of the European Union. The “Solar Industria” policy is a feasible maneuver if supported by the appropriate governing bodies and lobbied for both in and by the industrial sector. It is strong steps such as this that need to be drafted, supported, and regulated by the Spanish environmental ministries, specifically the “Ministerio para la Transición Ecológica (Ministry for Ecological Transition) under the newly elected Teresa Ribera Rodríguez, and Jose Dominguez Abascal, the Secretary of State of Energy.

Take Action: Please send the following message to the policymakers below:

Dear Teresa Ribera Rodríguez and José Domingúez Abascal,??This is a message directed to both members of the environmental cabinet, and the general Spanish government, that have stakes in the future of Spanish environmental policy. We are asking that you draft a new policy that obligates carbon neutralization in the industrial sector by mandating a large-scale transition to solar energy by the year 2025. This policy, “Solar Industria,” recognizes the most viable potential for green energy generation in the nation through forward-thinking legislation, and will help the country uphold its commitment to the 2015 Paris Agreement. Immediate action is needed in order to preserve Spain’s delicate ecological balance for future generations, and it needs to be taken now. Join the movement.??Sincerely,
Contact Information:
Teresa Ribera Rodríguez
Secretaría de Estado de Medio Ambiente
Plaza San Juan de la Cruz, s/n – Madrid 28071
Tel. 91 597.6060/5669
Gabinete (Cabinet)
Plaza San Juan de la Cruz, s/n
Tel. 91 597.6025

José Domingúez Abascal
Secretaría de Estado de Energía
Paseo de la Castellana, 160 – Madrid 28071
Tel. 91 349 4819/20
Gabinete (Cabinet)
Paseo de la Castellana, 160 – Madrid 28071
Tel. 91 349 4397

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