The Extremadura Regional Government (Junta de Extremadura) has approved the regulatory bases for aid for the improvement of energy efficiency in the Irrigation Communities of Extremadura, Spain.
According to Junta de Extremadura, irrigation is an engine for economic development in rural areas, promoting a productive, sustainable agriculture that generates employment and added value. In areas where pressurized irrigation is used, the increase in the cost of electricity has led to a serious problem. Electricity costs may add up to around 40% of the total costs of crop. This coupled with the liberation of electricity sector and removal of irrigation tariffs makes the situation even more difficult.
According to the data of Junta de Extremadura, in recent years, water consumption has decreased by 20%, while energy consumption has increased by 650%.The evolution of electricity rates should force us to analyze the state and mechanical and hydraulic operation of the water distribution network and to determine the potential for improvement that will directly result in significant energy savings.
The European Strategy 2020 identifies energy efficiency as one of the key issues for achieving sustainable growth, having set the goal of improving it by 20% in the future. In irrigation, the general energy efficiency depends fundamentally on the efficiency of pumping groups. Therefore, with the new regulation, the region of Extremadura intends to establish a system of granting aid to improve energy efficiency in the Irrigation Communities of Extremadura. This grant will contribute to saving and making better use of energy in collective irrigation facilities. It is also in line with the international objectives for climate change mitigation as the grant will lead to reduction of CO2 emissions in agriculture.
The grant system is directed at the Irrigation Communities of Extremadura, Spain, and sectors involved in pressurized irrigation (i.e. which depend on electricity supply). These include sectors that carry out works and installations, energy audits as well as investments for the generation of renewable energy.
The aid is granted to following actions:
- Replacement or improvement of pumping equipment, automation, irrigation management mechanisms and regulation ponds in collective irrigation infrastructures.
- Renewable energy generation: renewable energy installations (photovoltaic, hydraulic, biomass and wind) that are used for the generation of electrical energy necessary for the operation of the collection, pumping and water distribution equipment in the irrigable area.
- Energy audit: studies that seek to improve energy efficiency in irrigation facilities, check the operation of pumping equipment, identify possible deficiencies and propose measures to reduce energy consumption.
Source: Energía de Extremadura