The urgent need to significantly increase the production of electrical energy from renewable sources to meet European objectives has unleashed a unprecedented race to install solar parks in Alicante. The business is expected to be multimillionaire and large firms in the sector and international investors have focused on a province with many possibilities in the photovoltaic field. Little rains, clear skies and an average of 320 days of sunshine per year These are sufficient conditions to justify an impulse that, however, had not yet taken off in the south of the Valencian Community. Now, the situation has begun to reverse and is doing so at full speed. The processing of projects to have plants of this type has shot up to the point that, if they materialize, the current power will be multiplied by thirteen.
At the moment the Alicante territory has solar parks that add a power of 137 megawatts (MW) in its entirety, of which in the last five years only 13 installations with 4.15 MW have been added globally. Well, according to the Ministry of Sustainable Economy, they currently have proposals on the table to increase that power by 1,798 MW. In total, there are 134 new solar gardens that are being installed in the province, a historical figure that was unthinkable until a few years ago.
The Generalitat Valenciana, through the departments of Agriculture, Rural Development, Climate Emergency and Ecological Transition; Sustainable Economy, Productive Sectors, Commerce and Labor; and that of Public Works, Territorial Policy and Mobility, published a decree at the end of last August with the double objective of boost ecological transition and the recovery of the Valencian economy through investments in renewables, which generate economic activity and employment. Thus, investments of strategic interest were declared the projects of photovoltaic plants and wind farms and facilities that are the responsibility of the Generalitat, assuming said declaration its preferential impulse in the procedures necessary for its implementation and commissioning before any organ of the Generalitat or local administrations of the Valencian Community, as well as administrative simplification, streamlining and improvement of the regulation that affects them. In other words, the Valencian Government simplified the rule in order to present the autonomous region as an attractive area for companies interested in promoting renewable energy parks. And everything indicates that it begins to work.
One of the most important projects currently in process is that of the company Iberdrola, thus initiating its first large photovoltaic park in the province of Alicante, the FV Alhorines park, with an investment estimated at more than 24 million euros. The facility, located in Villena, will have a capacity of 50 MW and will be capable of producing clean energy to supply more than 25,000 homes, thus avoiding the emission of 15,700 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere for each year it operates.
Both the Valencian Strategy for Climate Change and Energy 2030 as the different indicators framed in the objectives of emission reduction and neutrality in 2050, in accordance with the strategies of the European Union, as well as with the future Valencian law on climate change and ecological transition, one of the main purposes is a significant increase in installed power in renewable energy, with a horizon of up to 6,000 MW in photovoltaic plants and 4,000 MW in wind power plants, compared to the current values of 364 MW and 1,255 MW, respectively.
The new normative text, the first that sets out in writing the requirements for both developable and non-developable land, eliminates duplication in the procedures and draws a map so that any promoter of a plant can know the ideal locations within the territory of the Community, from a territorial, urban, landscape and environmental point of view.
Specifically, in the case of wind power Special plans are suppressed as an instrument for the development of the Valencian wind power plan, replacing said instrument with a specific territorial authorization for land use and exploitation. In the case of photovoltaic plants, up to 50 MW, the location preferences are established that must be compatible with the territorial and urban plans that comply with the environmental, functional and territorial conditions.
Nuclear energy remains the engine of the Community
The generation of energy from non-renewable sources, that is, those produced from fossil fuels and their derivatives, continue to dominate the activity of the Valencian Community. According to the latest report from Red Eléctrica de EspañaWith data from 2019, 15,187 GWh of non-renewables were generated in the autonomous region in 2019, of which 8,056 were derived from the Cofrentes nuclear power plant. Generation from clean sources reached only 3,676 GWh, compared to almost 98,000 GWh in Catalonia.
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