The Councilor for Ecological Transition and Sustainability, Olga García, and the President of the Spanish Photovoltaic Union (UNEF), Rafael Benjumea, have signed this morning a protocol for the promotion of renewable energies in Extremadura. UNEF is the main employer of the photovoltaic sector in Spain.
Olga García stated that “the Regional Government of Extremadura and UNEF consider the energy sector to be a strategic sector and a driver of employment in the region because it brings with it a clear added value in terms of specialization, innovation, and technological development”. For this reason, both parties have considered it of the utmost interest to develop a joint effort to make the progress and economic development of Extremadura’s society compatible with the change of energy model.
In this sense, she has valued the launching by UNEF of the Certificate of Excellence in Sustainability and the Conservation of Biodiversity to recognize those photovoltaic plants developed under the best quality criteria of social and environmental integration. The councilor considered it “a useful instrument to ensure that the deployment of renewable energies in Extremadura is compatible and respectful with a harmonious development of the territory, the protection of the environment and biodiversity in collaboration with the local authorities and socioeconomic agents affected.”
Olga García recalled that “in Extremadura, we have the Extremadura Integrated Energy and Climate Plan with a 2030 horizon, with which we seek to maximize energy generation with renewable technologies, including photovoltaic and, in particular, the development of distributed generation and self-consumption”.
To achieve this goal, the region currently leads the photovoltaic deployment in Spain with more than 4,000 MW installed, with 2,763 self-consumption facilities commissioned with a capacity of 40 MW. In addition, there are 151 photovoltaic project files being processed for a peak power of 5,900 MW and 2,900 applications have been received for aid from the Recovery Plan for self-consumption.
The Minister has insisted on “the need for photovoltaic development companies to be proactive in the rural development of the environment where they are located and to favor the benefits associated with the territory”.
Added to this is the fact that “in the state regulation, the awarding of evacuation points for new renewable developments will be subject to the so-called capacity tenders, in which criteria will be applied to promote the generation of employment, the participation of local actors in the projects and the reinvestment of the benefits in the area where the facilities will be located”.
Olga García ended her speech by expressing her hope that this Protocol will promote greater renewable development with maximum solidarity with our territory, generating great opportunities for the energy transition to be fair and inclusive for all Extremadurans.
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An example for other regions
The president of the Spanish Photovoltaic Union, Rafael Benjumea, explained that the protocol is another step in the close collaboration that UNEF has been developing with Extremadura in recent years. In this sense, he explained that the Regional Government of Extremadura is ahead of the rest of the autonomous communities, understanding the value of the development of renewable energies, serving as an example for other regions.
Benjumea explained that with the agreement signed this morning “what we at UNEF want is for things to be done well. And well means even beyond what is strictly required by regulation. What we ask of our associates is a very special sensitivity to the landscape, to the natural environment, to the fauna, to the flora”.
The president of UNEF pointed out that solar energy is the cheapest source of energy available on the market. Benjumea explained that, after the industrial relocation that has taken place in the country, “we now have an opportunity to attract industry that comes from the hand of clean and cheap energy. Extremadura has all the elements to offer this energy: it has territory, a favorable regulation, it has a government that understands the opportunity and supports it, it has the labor force to meet the demand for employment, therefore it has many elements to make this a reality.”
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First published in elEconomista.es, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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