As thousands of holidaymakers fly into Menorca this summer, a glance out the window will illustrate the past and future of the island’s energy system. In the picturesque harbour of the capital, Mahón, where cruise ships dock alongside a marina full of luxury yachts, sits a pollution-belching, oil-fired power station inaugurated by Gen Franco more than half a century ago. On the other side of this Mediterranean isle lies row upon row of solar panels, tucked between traditional dry-stone walls. The Balearics, like many islands, are overwhelmingly reliant on costly, dirty fossil fuel imports for power, heat and transport. There is Mediterranean sun – and Menorca is known as the windy island – but renewables have barely made a dent. Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera generate only 4% of their power from green energy and have some of the lowest renewables figures in the whole of Spain. The local government, however, has recently launched a plan to transform the islands’ energy usage and a new climate law, with the aim of converting to 100% renewables by 2050, which it says will help tourism, protect the environment and save money.
Guardian 4th May 2018 read more »