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Canary Islands could supply only with renewables

Even though autumn is in full, colourful swing and we’re slowly getting ready for winter in Europe, Greenpeace is turning up the heat and not letting go of summer just yet.

We still have a picture in my mind of hundreds of volunteers, tourists and local residents heading to the most popular beaches of Croatia, Greece, Italy and Spain, demanding that their governments protect their beloved holiday destinations from dirty energy and make use of what these countries are never lacking: sun and wind.

One would think that in Southern Europe, where sun and wind are so abundant, clean energy sources would be the obvious choice for energy solutions. However, the reality is quite the opposite, and most Southern European governments are responding to economic struggles with plans for new coal power plants and offshore oil-drilling. All this, in spite of irrefutable scientific, proof that we need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.

The transition to clean energy is not only possible, but it is the best way to go. It’s a way out of the economic crisis and towards a fresh clean future where renewable energy ensures new jobs, enhances a new sustainable economy, protects ecosystems and mitigates climate change.

To show that this transition is possible, we commissioned expert studies in Spain, Greece, Italy and Croatia to prove the potential and economic added-value of renewable energy and energy savings projects in those countries.

In Spain, we focused on a possible renewable energy transition in the Canary Islands, which are far from mainland Spain. The entire archipelago is currently powered by expensive, dirty diesel generators. With our Energy [R]evolution scenario for the Canaries we proved that a switch to 100% renewable energy by 2050 is possible. We showed that up to € 42 billion could be saved by investing € 20 billion in renewable energy.

The sun is not good only for our summer holidays. It creates opportunities to revive economies and it’s a resource that can be locally produced and owned. It can also create thousands of jobs. It is time the Mediterranean countries show the rest of Europe the true power of energy from the Sun.

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