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Call For Spain To Switch Fully To Renewables

Solar power plant in Seville, Spain. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Madrid (AFP) June 16, 2007
Some 4,000 environmental campaigners gathered in Barcelona on Saturday to press the government to commit Spain to switch fully to renewable energy sources by 2050, Greenpeace said. Greenpeace in February began a campaign to urge Spain to boost use of renewables, although the country is already a European leader in the field.

Eva Salana, spokeswoman for the environmental pressure group, told the Europa Press news agency that "it is technically and economically possible" to achieve the aim.

Greenpeace used Saturday's meeting to boost public awareness of the issue through an exhibition dubbed "time tunnel," showing scenarios of how countries could work together to combat climate change.

In January, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero ruled out increasing Spain's reliance on nuclear energy for the time being, saying that nuclear expansion "does not figure in the government's plans."

The Socialist government promised in its 2004 election manifesto to abandon progressively the Spanish nuclear programme, which currently accounts for 23 percent of national electricity production.

But he added that the Socialist energy manifesto for the 2008 general election had not yet been drawn up.

He also noted that "we must rely much more on renewable and alternative energy sources and have a common European policy on energy matters."

Spain currently has eight functioning nuclear plants, relatively few compared with other countries such as France, Britain or Germany.

In March, the government revealed that the Canary Island of El Hierro would by 2009 receive 100 percent of its electricity supply from renewable energy sources via a combination of hydroelectricity and wind power.

A 54.3 million euro (65 million dollar) scheme being developed on the island is designed to cut the island's annual carbon dioxide emissions by 18,700 tonnes.

Spain is second only to Germany in Europe in terms of installed wind power capacity while EU states recently targeted a 20 percent share of overall energy production for the bloc by 2010, compared with a projected three percent for Japan, for example.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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