The Son Salomo solar plant in Minorca. | Gemma Andreu


Surprise has often been expressed as to the low amount of electricity produced from renewable energy sources in the Balearics. Latest information from Red Electrica, which operates the grid, shows just how low - only 2.24% of electricity demand is met from renewables.

The Balearics is among regions of Spain with very modest contributions from renewables. In the Madrid region, the percentage is lower - 1.33%. In the Basque Country it is a mere 4.7%. Yet there are regions which generate more supply from renewables than they need. In Castile and Leon this is 146%; in Extremadura it is 104%.

Although Madrid and the Basque Country have low levels of supply, geographical isolation and insularity are apparently factors which contribute to a heavy reliance on traditional sources. Like the Balearics, renewables account for low amounts of supply in the autonomous north African cities of Ceuta and Melilla and also in the Canary Islands.

The regions with the high levels of supply use a combination of renewable sources. In Castile and Leon, wind power is the largest source followed by hydroelectricity. Extremadura produces most from solar thermoelectric and photovoltaic sources as well as from water.

Across Spain, non-renewables continue to supply almost two-thirds of electricity - 64% comes from nuclear, coal, oil, gas, etc - while renewables (36%) draw on solar, water (hydroelectric and marine sources), biomass, biogas, wind and geothermal.

Balearic governments have expressed their commitment to meeting the European Union's aim of at least 20% of renewable energy by 2020. That target is still a very long way off.