Saturday, January 28, 2023

How to move from coal to renewables without leaving anyone behind

Roberto, Luis, Aida, Sergio, María, Sira, José Alfredo… are some of the protagonists of this story. Of Andorra, a municipality in the province of Teruel with a mining tradition and a population of just over 7,300 inhabitants. In 2020, it saw its thermal power plant, the largest in Spain which had provided jobs and life to the region for forty years, stop working. When it was closed, Endesa – the company that owns the facility – made a commitment to the people of Andorra and Teruel. I will not leave them behind.

With the award of the first Fair Transition tender in Spain to Endesa’s renewables subsidiary, Enel Green Power España, for the Mudéjar knot, what seemed like a utopia began to take shape. Gone are the work, analysis and meetings over the past three years.

Endesa will invest 1,540 million euros in this initiative, which proposes hybridization of renewable solar and wind plants -14 – in the development of energy storage and green hydrogen projects

The initiative, in which Endesa will invest more than 1,500 million euros, stands out for its innovative nature to truly decarbonize industries in the region by proposing the development of 14 renewable solar and wind plants hybridization, energy storage and green hydrogen projects .

Initiatives have sprung up around this energy pillar that provide a social and environmental benefit that will bring life and work to the cities that were affected by the plant’s closure. “Once all renewable facilities are built and the full socio-economic plan is put into operation, 500 permanent jobs will be created in the Andorran environment in five years, which means far more direct and indirect jobs thermal power plants”, explains Rafael González, General Director of Endesa, Generation.

Sponsors an Olive Tree Initiative over 7,000 godmothers and godparents from 28 countries

Maria Malaxchevaria, General Director of Sustainability, says that Endesa’s plan for Andorra is the result of an exercise in social craft, designed through a participatory process involving more than thirty institutions and local agents from around the world . , “This is not a theory,” Malkachevariya underlines, “it is a reality. These are innovative and unique projects with which we seek to heal the rural population through the creation of employment and the diversification of economic activities, the region’s own To leverage the resources for its development, we have a training plan that will benefit 5,500 people in the next three years”, he explains.

Another of those involved, Inmaculada Fiteni, who is responsible for Endesa’s sustainability and circular economy of generation, says the project has been developed slowly. “We have met farmers, breeders, beekeepers, businessmen, training managers etc. to find out their needs and see how we can adapt the activity to the project and vice versa, and this that the end result is a viable hybridization for all”.

sustainable entrepreneur

Roberto González is the owner of Apicultura La Cerrada and one of the people involved in the Andorra transformation plan. Their hives will be located in the so-called green areas of solar parks. “Let’s see how everything goes,” he says. “It’s working in Carmona, and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t work here.” González is referring to the Carmona photovoltaic plant in Seville, where Endesa has built a solar beekeeping project, a pioneering project that, in addition to supporting beekeeping, contributes to the sustainable development of the local community. “We will set up beehives in solar parks and we will promote beekeeping with visits to hives and a future Andorra beekeeping museum”, he explains with satisfaction.

More cautious is Luis Gracia, a shepherd in the region, who will take his more than nine hundred sheep to graze between the solar panels. However, until he sees how the cattle behave amid the metal structures, Gracia won’t dare to say whether the initiative works or not, and how it benefits him and his brother, Who is the owner of a family business that has been passed down from generation to generation. Generation after generation and he no longer “goes away, just to get”. However, Endesa’s initiative has already proved effective in other solar plants in Spain.

Branded Endesa Andorra Graphic

Industrial activity will gain prominence in Andorra. One example is Soltec, a company that will build a factory for solar trackers – “structures that follow the sun, like sunflowers”, explains its director, Sergio López Ona – in the vicinity of a thermal power plant. The one in Andorra will be its second manufacturing facility in Spain – the first is in Murcia, where Soltec originates – and will create 40 permanent jobs once it’s operational. “We have chosen Andorra and we will provide the necessary training to put its people to work. We are going to make it work”, he said, confident of the initiative’s success.

The planning of the Andorra region is also based on local commerce and tourism. One of the most relevant agreements has been the expansion of Arino Spa, which will allow for the creation of at least 27 permanent jobs in the area. Sustainable tourism initiatives will also be undertaken—such as the Green Mile of the Energy Transition and the Val del Zafan Greenway—and the creation of an avifauna research and dissemination center.

Sponsor an Olive Tree, Reclaim a City

Sponsor an Olive Tree is an initiative that was born in 2014 when a group of entrepreneurs decided to recover 100,000 abandoned centenary olive trees in Olliete (Teruel). “It all started when Alberto was picking his olives and realized that no one else was doing it around him; people left their land and their homes and moved to the city,” explains Jose Alfredo Martin, co-founder of the project. Gone.” To try to get the olive trees—and the city—back, he decided to create a web page with photos of abandoned trees so people could choose one and sponsor it.

The project was very well received and went ahead. In 2016 he built an oil mill to produce oil from the fruit of his olive trees, which has inspired him to bet on fair trade, creating jobs and promoting sustainable tourism in the region.

Today, Apadrina un Olivo has over 7,000 godmothers and godparents from 28 countries. “Recovering the olive groves has allowed us to give life and hope to the town; for example, more families have come to Olite and we have managed to close the school,” says Sira Plana, the promoter of the project. Now, with the participation of Endesa, which will sponsor 50,000 olive groves within Andorra’s socioeconomic program, they hope to strengthen the model, export it to other regions, and create a positive impact.

“Who are you waiting for to sponsor your olive tree? It is an original and charitable gift”, Sira whispers to me when I listen to the explanation of the mill master Carlos.

Nation World News Desk
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