COP26: How is Spain handling the Environmental Crisis?
Find out how Spain is handling environmental issues and the new measures taken following the COP26.
Spain is known to have a dynamic environmental activity. This activity can be traced back to 1986 when Spain integrated the European Union (EU) which obliged the country to adopt the European legislation and to set up numerous action plans for its application, largely supported by European funds.
- Measures and Goals set in Spain
- Wind Power and Solar Energy
The 26th United Nations Climate Conference held in Glasgow in November 2021, aimed at making a concrete commitment on keeping state and private financial flows low on greenhouse gas emissions development and to strengthen the capacity to adapt to climate change. The issue on the agenda revolved around the following clusters: adaptation and resilience, nature, energy transition and cleaner road transport.
The COP26 was important as it was held 6 years after the Paris Agreement in 2015 and leaders had to announce their goals. Let's remember that the main goal is to contain the average global warming to well bellow 2°C compared to the pre-industrial era, with the aim of limiting the temperature increase to 1.5°C.
The COP26 was held in a time of pandemic and faced numerous significant challenges. Despite progress since the adoption of the Paris Agreement, much remains to be done. Emissions continue to rise in the opposite direction and negotiating agendas were full after the halt caused by the pandemic. Economic recovery and access to vaccines are asymmetric, slowing down climate action especially in the least developed countries accentuated by the high price of energy.
Some negotiatiors remain optimistic about the potential achievements of COP26, but overall, this conference showed difficult negotiations, tensions and uncertain outcomes are to be expected.
Measures and Goals set in Spain
The Spanish President, Pedro Sánchez announced during his presentation, the decision to allocate 68% of its share of the EU's post-pandemic recovery fund in ecological transition and digitalisation in the upcoming years. The aim of this investment is to modernise the Spanish economy.
After the conference, Spain committed to increase its contribution to the Green Climate Fund by 50%, representing €1.35 billion per year from 2025. The fund is made up of contributions to developing countries by the most industrialised countries to help themadopt measures that favor the fight against climate change, and the international community's commitment is to allocate $100 bilion annually to this objective.
On top, Spain will also add a 20% of its new Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to vulnerable countries: a minimum of €350 million to the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Poverty Reduction Facility and the rest to the new Resilience and Sustainability Fund, after its creation.
The aim is for all the ressources to help the less advanced economies to invest in technologies that will lead to a greener and more sustainable future. According to the Spanish President, Spain has reduced coal-fired electricity generation by 90% in the last four years, aligning public and private investment with the goal of climate neutrality.
Wind Power and Solar Energy
On another note, Spain's effort in renewable energies and alternatives to greenhouse gas emissions is to be pointed out.
Wind farms with a capacity of 2.300 megawatts and solar installations with a capacity of 4.700 megawatts were connected to the grid in Spain in 2019, which is more than any other European country.
Wind energy is already the main source of energy in Spain. Year after year Spain has been installing more power through wind turbines, it was a matter of time before this renewable energy overtook nuclear energy.
Back in 2013, the Garoña plant in Spain closed due to the winds blowing particularly hard. Since then, nuclear energy remained relativaly constant, but wind power grew gradually. Pursuant to the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan, Spain plans to double wind power and to have 74% of all electricity generation to be renewable. Spain is surely one of the world leaders in onshore wind energy.
However, the country has not yet dared to jump on the offshore wind bandwagons. The reason is because Spanish territorial waters are very deep and this technology needs a fixed foundation, something that is impossible beyond 50 meters deep. Nonetheless, floating wind turbines do not have these requirements. The roadmap for the development of offshore wind and marine energy in Spain has been approved. This strategy places special emphasis on floating technology. The government hopes that by 2030 the country will have between 1 and 3 gigawatts of this renewable energy, which would mean that a significant amount of all the power installed in the European Union (EU) at the end of this decade will be generated by Spain.
Additionally, solar energy is becoming competitive because of the demand. The solar energy production curve coincides with the consumption demand curve for a large part of the day, which allows for the adjustment of production and consumption, significantly reducing the cost of electricity at peak times of the day. The reason why it is becoming more and more competitive is due to the continued decline in the price of photovoltaic modules as the industry evolves and manufacturers move to large-scale production and the cost of operation and maintenance is low.
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