11 December 2017

First Spanish Stakeholder Desk kicks-off in the Canary Isands

The fist Spanish Stakeholder Desk was kicked-off in the Canary Islands, WinWind's Model Region in Spain, on 11 December 2017. A second desk is going to be kicked-off in the Balearic Islands in early 2018. The meeting took place in the headquarters of Gas Natural, a local wind energy investor, on the island of Gran Canaria. The island hosts many headquarters of the main regional stakeholders as well as the most important wind installations and holds the largest potential.

The objectives of the meeting were to introduce the project to local stakeholders and to open a smooth dialogue with the objective to extend it and work on it for the whole project duration. The group discussed key factors of wind energy development in the Canary islands:

Firstly, in the Canary Islands there are only onshore wind farms. Recently however there has also been some development in off-shore wind farms, though the licensing and technical issues (very steep orography and quick depths) first need to be resolved. Secondly, technology is readily available at reasonable prices.  Especially because the 30+ yearlong presence of educational and technology reference entities (ITER, ITC, universities) has been a key base element for the development of energy planning in the area, including RES policy. With regards to social acceptance, there was only little social resistance to wind energy projects, which were quickly given up on when the population saw the benefits of the projects. However, due to the large influence of the tourism sector, it is essential to involve the tourist operators in the structuring for the energy debate, focusing mainly on cost reduction of energy bills.

Potential good practice measures that could help to increase social acceptance in other areas included: technology as an element for innovation and economic advancement in the islands, as well as promoting the “Green Island” marketing idea, as tourists are increasingly conscious of sustainability issues. Lastly, an innovation “pool” and cooperative schemes were explored in the Canary Islands with some success and should be analyzed to evaluate to potential for transferring the experience in the WESR region.

Overall the meeting in Gran Canaria, can be considered a key starting step for the Win Wind project in Spain and as a reference for setting the terms for the dialogue to be developed among stakeholders.