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Spain improves its data on renewable energy generation and air quality

And also those referring to protected land area, growth and health of forests and bathing water quality, among others, according to the Environmental Profile of Spain, PAE 2018 presented this morning in Madrid by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Hugo Morán.

22/11/2019

Energias-renovables.com

The Secretary of State for the Environment has stressed the importance of this report. “The final objective is the goal that gives name to this Ministry: to achieve the Ecological Transition and to improve the environmental indicators in this annual checkup”, he emphasized. In addition, the report serves as a tool to identify areas that require improvement plans and actions.

The EAP, which began collecting data last spring, is based on a cross-sectional evaluation of seventy indicators that provide a global approach to the country’s environmental situation. It includes an analysis of trends and details the information by subject: air and climate, nature, socio-economic sectors and sustainability.

The report also analyses the different data by autonomous communities and puts them in the context of the European Union.

Main results

PAE 2018 indicates the generation of electricity from renewable sources has increased, with an increase of 18.6% over 2017, rising to 100,314 GWh, according to data from Red Eléctrica de España. This value implies that the proportion of electricity from renewable sources over total electricity generation in Spain in 2018 was 38.4%, and therefore 6.1 percentage points higher than in 2017.

In the case of the Autonomous Communities (2018), Castilla y León has the highest proportion of renewable electricity with respect to the total, with 76.8%, followed by Comunidad Foral de Navarra (69.7%), Aragón (56.3%), Galicia (55.4%) and Castilla-La Mancha (52.3%). The lowest proportion of renewables are Ceuta (0.0%), Melilla (2.5%), Illes Balears (5.3%) and Canarias (10.5%).

In fourth place in the mix, the main production contribution in 2018 was made by renewables (38.2%), followed by nuclear (20.7%), coal (14.5%) and natural gas cogeneration (11.7%).

With regard to air quality, emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds other than methane (NMVOCs) and sulphur oxides (SOx) are below the emission ceiling set for Spain since 2010. However, ammonia (NH3) emissions exceed the maximum limit during the same compliance period (2010-2017).

The data for 2018 confirm, on the other hand, a growth trend in Spanish forests, present in a moderate way during the last 15 years. Also noteworthy was the improvement in the health of the trees: 77.3% of the specimens studied presented a healthy appearance, higher than the 72.2% recorded in 2017. As for forest fires, 2018 was a positive year with a reduction of 86% of the affected forest area with respect to the previous year. It was also the year with the fewest fires recorded since 1983, which fell by 45%.

Plastic Seas

In the marine and coastal area, bathing water quality is improving: in 2018 there has been an increase of 1.75% in the number of sampling points with “excellent” quality, continuing the positive trend observed since 2014. However, the presence of plastics in the marine rubbish sampled between 2013 and 2018 is alarming: 71.5% of the rubbish analysed corresponded to this material, while 11.2% was paper and cardboard and 6.6% corresponded to hygienic-sanitary waste. The government recalls that marine strategies have already been approved with programmes of measures that include actions to improve the problem of this type of waste.

With regard to nitrate pollution in groundwater, the data show that in nine districts the number of stations with average values above 50 mg/l has decreased with respect to 2017, while in seven districts this value has increased.

Recycling and recovery rates for packaging waste remain above target. In 2017, incineration with energy recovery represented 13% of waste destination, approaching the 15% value foreseen in the State Waste Management Framework Plan. The generation of waste per inhabitant in Spain fell by 0.22% in 2017.

About the EAP

This study is carried out annually, complying with the obligation established in the Aarhus Convention, with the aim of sharing environmental information in order to encourage the involvement and participation of society and its contribution to decision-making. With a global approach, each indicator is described with its link to the achievement of the priority objectives of the EU’s 7th Environmental Action Programme and the Sustainable Development Objectives of the United Nations Agenda 2030.

The EAP is available, in Spanish and English, on the website of the Ministry for Ecological Transition through the following link. In addition, it can be accessed through an application available for smartphone and tablet, adapted to the Android and iOS systems.

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