energy saving


Ibiza pioneers LED street lighting as renewables foundation says ignoring potential energy savings would be "suicide"

As part of its "Sustainable Ibiza” campaign, the city of Ibiza in the Balearic Islands has announced the completion of its Street Lighting Master Plan, an ambitious project to replace its old street lighting with the latest LED technology in an effort to save energy. This type of initiative is just the sort of action recently called for by the Spanish Renewable Energies Foundation, which is demanding “structural measures to stimulate savings and energy efficiency” in Spain.
Ibiza pioneers LED street lighting as renewables foundation says ignoring potential energy savings would be "suicide"

The installation and maintenance of new, LED street lighting and control systems is being carried out by the company Citelum Ibérica, and the new technology is expected to give rise to “significant savings in both consumption and maintenance”, especially as Citelum uses the latest generation of remote management systems to facilitate maintenance work and enable point-to-point energy savings to be made.

For example, devices have been installed in Ibiza to permit the company’s technicians to identify which street lights are faulty at any time, as well as any other type of incident involving the city’s street lighting. All the information is captured by a management system known as Luxicom, which is exclusively owned by the company.

It has been estimated that thanks to this technology, the street lighting network in Ibiza will require 706,705 kwh/year less electricity, equivalent to a saving of €90,000 per annum on the city’s electricity bill.

Structural measures needed

The Spanish Renewable Energies Foundation (Fundación Renovables) could well use Ibiza as an example of how structural measures can make inroads into increasing energy savings at a local level.

The Foundation, which was established last year to raise awareness of renewable energy and energy efficiency, released a statement recently urging the Spanish government to develop an Energy Plan which incorporates an Energy Saving and Efficiency Plan setting out binding objectives, promoting the use of market price signals to encourage energy saving, establishing specific action in transport and housing, and demanding the urgent transposition of European energy saving directives onto Spanish legislation.

Recently, the Spanish government announced it would reduce speed limits on Spanish roads to reduce oil consumption; however the Spanish Renewables Foundation says more needs to be done. “The measures adopted by the Government are insufficient, and their short-term nature does not contribute to changing the manner in which energy is used in Spain, which is clearly wasteful, driven by an energy culture energy that has stimulated greater consumption to the detriment of energy saving”, says the organisation.

The Foundation is calling for structural measures “to solve one of the core problems of our energy model: our high dependence on hydrocarbons, and the negative effect thereof on the environment”.

Breaking dependence on foreign fuels

According to the recent statement, two-thirds of Spain’s trade deficit comes from fossil fuel imports, making Spain’s economy the most energy intensive among EU and OECD countries. The country’s high external dependence on energy, also above the EU average, is, the Foundation argues, the real reason behind the poor competitiveness for the Spanish economy.

It calculates that the fuel-saving measures implemented by the Government will only give rise to a 1% reduction in the country’s energy dependence under a best case scenario, an effect which the Foundation describes as “very insignificant”.

Spain has a much bigger problem than the rest of the European Union due to the high dependence on imports from the Maghreb and Middle East, with 37% of its oil coming through the Suez Canal, which has been exacerbated by political and social instability in the region that will undoubtedly result in supply problems and, at the least, very high oil and gas prices for a long time to come.

Ignoring energy savings would be “suicide”

“The Spanish economy will not be able to support a price above $100 a barrel for a long time, with energy imports that account for over 60% of our entire trade deficit,” says the Foundation, warning that not dealing with the root causes of this dependence on foreign fuel would be “suicide”.

The Foundation's conclusion is that structural and not cyclical measures aimed at changing the energy model are required, which should be channelled through an Energy Plan that puts energy saving and efficiency at the heart of national security. The increased uptake of domestic renewable energy production should, it says, be incorporated into this plan, as should fiscal criteria that send out market signals which promote energy saving and penalise energy consumption.

“It is a priority to tackle energy usage in the sectors of greatest demand, such as buildings and transport,” says the Foundation. “Energy saving needs to be encouraged in the housing and building sector, along with energy improvement programmes for buildings… The entire transport sector should be restructured to reduce the use of private vehicles and increase the share of rail transport.”

The Renewable Energies Foundation concludes by saying that the urgent nature of these measures warrants the immediate incorporation of European directives on renewable and building energy efficiency into national law. However, with the European Commission revealing this week that the European Union will fall well short of a target to sharpen its energy efficiency by 2020 based on current trends, Spain may well have to go still further.

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Citelum Ibérica

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