Canary Islands wants to be completely low-carbon by 2040

by Lorraine Williamson
Canary Islands low-carbon by 2040
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PROVINCIA DE LAS PALMAS – In 2040, ten years earlier than the rest of Spain and Europe, the Canary Islands wants to be completely low-carbon. Renewable sources must supply 90% of the energy in 18 years compared to the current 20%. 

To this end, the regional parliament approved the energy transition after a long and tough negotiation procedure. Prior to this, numerous amendments were tabled by the opposition. PSOE, Podemos, Nueva Canarias and Agrupación Socialista Gomera and the Coalition of the Canary Islands approved this document, the so-called ‘pact of flowers’. It aims to decarbonise the islands’ economy by the year 2040. That is 10 years earlier than Europe and the rest of Spain want to achieve the same goal. The final text will be published in the Official Gazette of the Canary Islands in the coming days. 

Emissions to be reduced by 90% 

The goal of the island government is emissions will be reduced by 90% by the deadline date compared to 1990. To this end, a “climate perspective” should be included in regional budgets that allocate 2% of the islands’ GDP to action measures in this area. 

If successful, this would mean that the archipelago would go from emitting 13.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent to 7.4 million in 2030 and 862,000 tonnes in 2040. 

Final energy consumption mainly through green technologies 

In addition, 37% of final energy consumption must be achieved through green technologies by 2030 and 92% by 2040. Currently, the penetration of renewable energy sources for electricity generation is barely 19.9%, compared to 47.7% in the national electricity system in 2021. 

Renewable resources and exit from fossil fuels 

In 2030, all public institutions on the islands must also be supplied 100% from renewable sources. All equipment powered by fossil fuels will be completely replaced. Likewise, vehicles with a combustion engine will then be replaced by vehicles without polluting emissions within a maximum period of 10 years from the entry into force. Finally, companies and institutions will have to apply criteria of energy efficiency and neutralisation of light pollution. This should be done as soon as their lighting needs to be renewed. In 2040, the entire light network on the islands must comply 100 % with this. 

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Ecological footprint register 

The sub-government is considering the establishment of the so-called ecological footprint register in the legal text. According to the regional minister of ecological transition, this makes it possible to quantify greenhouse gas emissions. 

For sustainable mobility, the emission reduction target is 84.2% in 2040. Among other sectors, car rental companies must only have fleets without direct emissions within a period of up to 15 years after the entry into force of this law. 

El Hierro is already self-sufficient thanks to renewable energy 

Since 2014, El Hierro has been the first island in the world to be completely self-sufficient in terms of energy. It obtains all its energy from alternative energy sources in a completely environmentally friendly way. The island generates all electricity through wind energy. 

The island wants to be an inspiration for other islands in the world that are engaged in similar initiatives. Under the motto ‘100% renewable energy’, work has been underway for years on the project that aims for complete self-sufficiency. 9000 people live on the 278 square kilometre island. 

In a European context, this is a unique initiative and the island, which has been declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, is an example of sustainable development. 

Also read: 100% emission free cars and vans in Spain by 2040

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