Yet another country is launching an ambitious plan to transition 100% to renewable energy – Spain! The country says it will switch its electricity system entirely to renewable sources by 2050 and completely decarbonize its economy soon after. This is set to occur under Spain’s draft climate change and energy transition law.
“The draft Spanish climate law is an excellent example of the implementation of the Paris agreement: it sets a long-term goal, provides incentives on scaling up zero emission technologies and cares about a good transition for the workforce,” said Christiana Figueres, former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. “As an early mover Spain will gain economically and create new jobs in the renewables sector.”
Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation (and former French climate envoy who helped draft the Paris accord), described the Spanish government’s action as an inspiration of “groundbreaking” proportions. She said:
“By planning on going carbon neutral Spain shows that the battle against climate change is deadly serious, that they are ready to step up, and plan to reap the rewards of decarbonization.”
How will they achieve this goal?
- Every year for the next ten years the country’s social democratic government is committing to installing at least 3,000MW of wind and solar power capacity.
- By going beyond the current EU target of 32 percent and instead install 35 percent overall renewable energy by 2030.
- With the aim to improve energy efficiency by 35 percent by 2030, once again going beyond the EU target of 32.5 percent.
- Government and public sector authorities will only be able to lease buildings that have almost zero energy consumption.
- By banning any new licenses for fossil fuel drills, hydrocarbon exploitation and fracking wells.
- By reserving a fifth of the state budget for measures that can mitigate climate change – and this money will increase from 2025 onward.
- Through a ban on new cars with petrol or diesel engines beginning in 2040.
- With plans to source 70 per cent of electricity from renewables by 2030, and 100 per cent by 2050.
Under the plan, “just transition” contracts will be drawn up. This will ensure that, even though they are shutting down coal mines, there will still be sufficient retirement packages and retraining to ensure no one is left behind in the transition.
Many experts are excited about the path Spain is heading down in the world’s journey towards a sustainable future. James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe says:
“It is exciting to see Spain setting the pace in its commitment to a 100 per cent renewable powered future. Spain’s energy ambition is a wake-up call to all the other states across the world, as it demonstrates what we know – it is possible to power large economies by renewables in the very near future.”