Navarre: Europe’s Green Leader
Navarre, Yamaguchi’s sister province in Spain, is known throughout Europe as the continent’s leader in renewable energy sources, being especially renowned for its use of wind power. Home to over 1,100 windmills as well as one of Europe’s largest solar parks, Navarre produces approximately 70% of its electricity through wind power and solar energy (as a whole, only about 7% of Europe is currently powered by renewable energy sources). The region is capable of producing more electricity through wind power and solar energy than entire countries in other parts of Europe
Navarre, which produces no coal, oil or gas of its own, made its first steps toward producing energy through these eco-friendly means during the late 1980s. Navarre now hosts several of Europe’s leading green energy-based companies and employs over 100,000 people in the green energy sector. According to estimates, the number of people employed in producing solar panels and wind turbines is equal to that of the number employed in the car manufacturing industry. Although the windmills have attracted some negative attention from environmentalists, who argue that the mills are being built too many too fast and are damaging the environment, they continue to grow along with solar panels, which most schools in the region now own at least one of. Solar panels are so popular, in fact, that many citizens of Navarre have started investing in what has been coined the “solar pension fund”—purchases of huge solar panels in solar parks with hopes of making enough profits to cover savings for retirement.
Reference: BBC, March 2007