zondag 22 maart 2009

Scandal sullies Spain's clean energy

Spain has to deal with a new phenomenon. They call it “eco-corruption”. 19 people have been accused of corruption and have been arrested. The arrest of the mayor of the town ‘La Muela’ is notable.

Ten years ago, La Muela was just an ordinary town in Spain, but today it has become one of Spain’s richest towns. This happened because of what is called the new gold for rural communities, also known as renewable energy. The small town counts 500 giant windmills. The windmills generate € 1 million a year in rent and local taxes to the town hall. Private landowners share a further €0.5 million a year. These money amounts are paid by energy companies.

There isn’t only a boom in wind energy but also in solar farms. People started asking questions about all of this and experts believe that energy is attracting dirty money. Luis Gomez, a journalist of El Paiz, commented: “Who got the licences? That is where the shadow of doubt appears. There have been no public tenders and no transparent decision-making.”

According to me this is a very delicate case. It is good that there are that many projects for renewable energy in Spain, but it isn’t right that people (who are high placed) are trying to take some personal advantages of it. I believe that the building of 500 windmills in La Muela brought a lot of benefits for the town, but of course it is possible that there was some corruption. It is possible that energy companies bribed the mayor, to may build that much windmills or to get the order to build the project. There can be corruption in every business, so I think there is a big chance that corruption is present in this strongly growing business. In my opinion, it will never be easy to banish corruption and many resources will be needed to try it.

Robby Lampens

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/22/la-muela-renewables-spain-corruption

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