The Balearic vice-president and minister for energy transition, Juan Pedro Yllanes, says that 17,500 jobs will be created over the next two years by the building of 55 photovoltaic parks.
Up to the end of 2022, 260 million euros of mostly private sector investment will be made. This will result in the generation of 320 megawatts of solar energy. The 55 projects will receive state aid, a condition of this being that the work is undertaken before the end of 2022. This aid is under a scheme for solar energy in the Balearics called Solbal, which is co-financed with European regional development funds. A total of 40 million euros of aid is to be made available – 15% of the total investment. In the event that the projects are not undertaken by end-2022, the grants will be lost.
Yllanes is convinced that these projects will all go ahead, noting that the regional government’s decree for emergency measures envisages a speeding-up and amendment of planning procedures. Photovoltaic parks which are smaller than four hectares will be exempt from needing an environmental assessment report. They will still, however, have to be line with criteria for landscapes in order to ensure that their impact is a low as possible.
For parks between four and twenty hectares, simplified planning procedures will be required for an environmental assessment report. Over twenty hectares, and normal procedures will apply, meaning reports from town halls and island councils. Approval could be given by councils for parks to be created on “common rustic land”.
The vice-president says that there is a great deal of available private money for investing in renewable energies, these being one of the ways that the government is planning economic recovery. “To deny that tourism will continue to be the main economic engine for the Balearics would be to deny the evidence. But the decree points to there being sectors which must start to be important in the Balearic economy and which allow us to diversify.”