The renewables age is here… but not in Spain

The idea behind Barack Obama’s recently unveiled America’s Clean Power Plan is for it to be continued by his successor in the White House, making it the most important initiative ever to combat climate change.

Hilary Clinton, who may well take over from Obama in 2017, has put the plan at the center of her campaign to win the Democratic Party’s nomination next year. The plan focuses on much greater use of solar energy, and aims to increase installed capacity that would see some half-a-billion panels in American homes over the next four years, allowing the country within a decade to be able to generate sufficient renewable energy to supply every home. Ambitious, yes, but also, according to the experts, perfectly feasible.

But while the United States puts renewables at the center of its energy strategy, here in Spain, where the electricity sector has been turned into an elephants’ graveyard for retired politicians, the government is doing its damnedest to block any move toward greater use of renewables by imposing taxes on households and businesses that generate solar energy. A country which has more sunshine than any of its EU neighbors remains anchored in fossil-fuel electricity generation, making it an international laughing stock as it pushes ahead with legislation that goes against the interests of the country. By the time we wake up and realize what we have done, we will have earned the dubious reputation of being at the back of the pack of nations using renewables, despite having been blessed by Mother Nature with the biggest head start.

The United States and the more developed parts of Europe will soon be covered with solar panels, while here in sunny Spain we continue to burn millions of tons of fossil fuels that increase our dependency on imports and skews our balance of payments. You couldn’t make it up.

(En español, aquí)

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