The President of the Government of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès, and the Minister of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda, Teresa Jordà, today presented the roadmap for accelerating the energy transition in Catalonia. In a joint conference, entitled "Commitment 2030, horizon 2050", they have highlighted the need to act urgently in the face of the climate emergency, the most important environmental challenge that humanity as a whole must face, and Catalonia is not on the sidelines.
"The climate emergency is evident and addressing it is urgent and cannot be postponed. We cannot remain impassive; we must act and we must act now", remarked the head of the Executive. With the will that Catalonia is not left out of this global challenge, Aragonés defended that "the commitment to energy transition is, from day one, a priority of this government" and that, in the coming months, "we will accelerate the process of energy transition and we will make possible, once and for all, a new energy model for our country".
"The risk that this transition will not be made by us is that it will be made by outsiders, and following an oligopolistic model, which has prevailed until now. And we will not allow it. We have come to transform the country and we have already started", he reiterated.
In this sense, Minister Jordà recalled that "we come from 10 years of standstill of renewable energies in Catalonia, we are behind and we have to make a leap forward".
With this global vision, the President and the Minister have defended a transformative response from Catalonia that "allows us to decarbonize our lives, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55% in 2030 and reaching carbon neutrality in 2050". For this reason, they have proposed a new energy model based on three essential principles:
- Distributed and decentralized: a model that transforms the economy and society to implement the new economic activity where the energy is generated.
- Democratic and participatory: a model that democratizes the energy model, placing local energy communities, with citizen participation, at the center of electricity production.
- With territorial cohesion: a sustainable model, respectful and agreed with the territory, developed with the cooperation of all agents.
"The energy transition should not be a simple change of fossil and radioactive energy resources for renewable resources", insisted the head of the Executive, but what is necessary is "to develop a model that, beyond being renewable, is participatory and democratic, with a strong component of social empowerment".
"We cannot move from the fossil system to the renewable system with the previous parameters: to carve up a certain area, such as the Pyrenees valleys or the Ebro valley, to produce energy that is consumed in another area. We do not want for Terra Alta or the Ponent regions what was done in the Pyrenees in the 20th century. It is time to make decisions and be brave", he said.
Roadmap for the energy transition in Catalonia
The Government's roadmap for the energy transition in Catalonia will start with the modification of the Renewable Energy Decree Law and will include, among others, the following outstanding measures:
- The creation of the Network of Regional Energy Transition Offices (OCTE), a network of technicians that the Government will place in each region to support municipalities in renewable energy projects and to ensure and coordinate an active participation of the territory in the territorial sectoral plan for renewable energies. The deployment of the network will be completed in the next 6 months.
- The approval of the Territorial Sectorial Plan for renewable energies in Catalonia, which will begin immediately and will serve to plan the energy infrastructures that the country needs. It must be approved by the government during the second half of 2023.
- The Energy Transition Law in coherence with the objectives established in the Climate Change Law and based on the new energy model of Catalonia, sovereign, democratized, sustainable, 100% renewable and of proximity.
- Creation of a public energy company with the capacity to influence from the administration in the energy sector, influencing all phases of the electricity sector in order to define and plan the energy transition model. A public energy company that can produce energy, especially in those areas of proximity where large energy developers have no interest, participate in the ownership of new renewable generation plants, help and participate in the development of renewable and citizen energy communities and enter into the public management of hydroelectric power plants whose concessions expire.
- The promotion of the use of biomass or biogas through the Bioenergy Strategy of Catalonia. This is not the energy source that adds most to the energy pool, but it does meet the objective of rooting in the territory and associated work in the rural world and, therefore, can be an energy, social and economic asset. The industrial infrastructures present in Catalonia will also be used for other energy sources such as green hydrogen.
The new decree law, the starting point of the new energy model
As a starting point for this acceleration of the energy transition in Catalonia, next week the Government will modify the Renewable Decree (Law 16/2019), which regulates the development of wind and photovoltaic installations.
The new decree introduces prioritization criteria to encourage self-consumption and prioritize the processing of projects that connect to medium voltage or are less than 5MW, to be consistent with the distributed and democratic energy transition model.
Likewise, the proposed amendment aims to lay the foundations for territorial cohesion of the energy model. The modification leaves behind the current model where the projects were presented without any knowledge of the landowners and town councils, and introduces the obligation to present the agreement of 50% of the occupied surface. The decree also introduces the obligation to accredit the offer of participation of at least 20% of the project to the population and administration.
Finally, while the previous decree law was applicable only to undeveloped land, the new decree increases the availability of sunshine in the addition of developed and undeveloped land.