The President of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, announced today that “Catalonia is once again promoting wind energy, after 10 years in which we had not made the necessary progress”. Aragonès, who this morning opened the expansion of the La Collada wind farm in El Perelló (Baix Ebre), claimed that the country has entered “a new stage”, where wind energy “which is clean and respectful of the surroundings and the environment” has a key role to play in driving forward the “necessary and unpostponable energy transition”.
“We must catch up in wind energy production, unblocking projects, making progress, moving this energy forward”, insisted the President, who has set “emissions neutrality in 2050” as a target for addressing the challenge of climate change. “The Generalitat’s commitment to the energy transition is unquestionable”, reiterated Pere Aragonès.
The President assured that this “leap forward” in renewable energies will be made with “the co-responsibility of the whole country”, following a “distributed” model, and that “it will be inclusive and involve all stakeholders”. To make this possible, Aragonès highlighted the creation of the Social Dialogue Committee for Renewable Energies, which should help to find mechanisms of balance between regions. “We want the Catalan model for implementing renewable energy to be a distributed one, but, above all, to be one that is participatory and democratic”, he remarked.
The head of the Executive insisted that the Generalitat will provide all the means necessary to move the country towards the energy transition, including the creation of the new County Offices for Energy Transition which, he said, “will be created to involve and empower citizens and companies”; to “support their individual and collective initiatives”, to “empower local energy communities”, and to“promote energy self-sufficiency”.
The facility inaugurated today by the President Aragonès and the Minister for Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda, Teresa Jordà, consists of two wind turbines of 3.75 MW each, in addition to another 3 MW wind turbine already in operation since 2008. In addition to Aragonès and Jordà, the event was also attended by the government delegate in Les Terres de l’Ebre, Albert Salvadó; the mayoress of El Perelló, M. Cinta Llaó; and the CEO of the renewable energy company Sydis, Jorge Córdoba.
Expansion of four wind farms
The second phase of the La Collada wind farm is part of the 4 wind farms that have either been commissioned in the last few days or are about to come into operation, which total 101.29 MW of power spread over 35 wind turbines. These wind farms are the first to enter into operation in Catalonia since 2013, with the exception of the commissioning of the wind turbine of the Viure de l’Aire participatory project in 2018. Prior to 2022, Catalonia had 44 wind farms in operation, with a capacity of 1,271.6 MW and 811 wind turbines.
In addition, 2 more authorised projects are under construction in Catalonia, totalling 52.6 MW, and another 10 projects in the pipeline, totalling 362 MW. The processing of wind energy projects has resumed, after a hiatus of almost ten years, with the approval of a new regulatory framework in 2021 that aims to promote the processing of renewable energy projects and maximise their integration into the natural and social environment where they are implemented.
Renewable energies, spearhead of the energy transition
Renewable energies are one of the cornerstones of the transition towards a new, cleaner, more democratic and sustainable energy model that Catalonia has initiated, and which should enable the decarbonisation of Catalan society and the Catalan economy by 2050. For this reason, the Catalan Government is actively working to accelerate the implementation of renewable energies and at the same time ensure that this implementation is done in a balanced way in the region, with maximum respect for biodiversity and with the maximum return for the municipalities where they are installed.
With these objectives in mind, the Catalan Government approved Decree Law 24/2021, which establishes the rationalisation and simplification of administrative procedures for wind and photovoltaic installations. This new regulation also specifies the criteria applicable to land use, with the aim of making agricultural activity compatible with renewable energy production, and includes measures to ensure the integration of renewable energy facilities into the territory. As a result, all projects are required to prove that agreements have been signed with at least 50% of the landowners, and all projects are required to open a minimum of 20% of their capital or financing to local or county participation.
Similarly, the structure of the administration in charge of processing these projects is being reinforced. In 2022, a temporary programme was created for the incorporation of 24 people with this function, and the budget of the Generalitat de Catalunya for 2023 foresees an additional 75 people.
In addition, the Catalan Government has also begun to draw up the territorial sector plan for the implementation of renewable energies, which should define the criteria for the implementation of renewable energies in each area. Each county will have a say in this process, which is why the Catalan Government has promoted the creation of the network of county offices for energy transition, so that all the county councils have the necessary technical knowledge.
Along the same lines, the Catalan Government has also set up the Social Dialogue Committee for Renewable Energies. Made up of administrations, economic and social actors and environmental organisations, its aim is to define mechanisms that help strike a balance between those areas that can generate more renewable energy than they need and those that cannot generate 50% of their demand using renewable sources.
All these measures should contribute to accelerating the implementation of renewable energies in Catalonia. The 2050 Energy Outlook for Catalonia states that, in order to achieve the decarbonisation of the Catalan economy and society, there would need to be 5,234.2 MW of installed onshore wind energy by 2030 and 23,136 MW by 2050.